Dana started her private clinic in 2010 with a focus on sensory integration therapy for children with autism and other developmental and individual differences. While her clients and families saw progress, she felt that she was missing something with her nonspeaking clients with significant self-regulation difficulties. They were limited in their ability to communicate, showed difficulties with motor skills and were injurious to themselves or others.
“Dana then focused her interventions on developing purposeful motor skills through fitness, task breakdown, and motor coaching to support the connection between the brain and body.”
Dana began to research the specific motor differences seen in her clients. She discovered that individuals with sensory-motor differences do not process incoming sensory information like a neurotypical individual would; they experience what is called the brain-body disconnect. This is when the brain understands, however, the body does not cooperate and may do something completely different, or nothing at all. The brain-body disconnect is often misinterpreted as the individual is lazy, being obstinate, or non-compliant. Instead, it is the disconnect between their brain and body. Dana then focused her interventions on developing purposeful motor skills through fitness, task breakdown, and motor coaching to support the connection between the brain and body.
In 2015, Dana was introduced to Spelling to Communicate (S2C), a form of Assistive Technology that teaches a nonspeaking or unreliably speaking individual purposeful motor skills, which includes pointing to letters to spell and communicate. It was a paradigm shift for her! Reliable communication provides a client the ability to communicate goals, develop friendships, to be autonomous, and have access to resources in their community. By developing and practicing purposeful motor skills and supporting the reliable communication for the neurodiverse individuals, Dana has opened up a new world for her clients and families.