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The Somatosensory System

presented by Tracy Stackhouse, MA, OTR/L

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Tracy Stackhouse receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Non-Financial: Tracy Stackhouse has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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This course provides the fundamentals for understanding how to harness the power of the somatosensory system to influence optimal outcomes when somatosensory-based intervention is indicated. A basic overview of somatosensory function and anatomy, as well as central nervous system interaction, is provided. Somatosensory functions will be traced from the receptor through the primary and associated processing pathways. The content will include information on how to directly assess somatosensory functions, including discriminative processing and evaluative/modulation functions.

Meet Your Instructor

Tracy Stackhouse, MA, OTR/L

Tracy Stackhouse is a clinical pediatric occupational therapist who has specialized in working with children, adults, and families affected by fragile x syndrome (FXS) and Fragile X related conditions since the late 1980s. Through this work, first at Children's Hospital in Denver, continuing at the UC Davis MIND Institute, and now at the nonprofit center…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Adaptive Somatosensory Functions: What Somatosensation Does for Us

The focus of this chapter is to provide an overview of the adaptive functions of somatosensation, addressing what somatosensation does for us as a core function underlying a multitude of capacities. When there is a disruption in basic somatosensory processing, it is important to determine if the difficulties are related to sensory modulation, sensory discrimination, or a concert of both. This chapter provides an overview of the adaptive functions / last sentence: This introductory chapter helps to frame the core somatosensory adaptive functions.

2. Receptors

In this chapter, the somatosensory receptors are reviewed based on stimulus type and receptor type. These two classic categories allow for different ways of thinking about how somatosensation is processed for different purposes. Knowledge of receptor types allows for careful consideration of treatment modalities and approaches, thus providing the neurological foundation for evidence-based practice.

3. Pathways and Functions

Chapter Three provides a review of the primary pathways and functions of somatosensation, which elucidates the sensory discrimination and sensory modulation structural and functional differences as well as the precision of the nervous system in replicating receptor fields into central detail maps for use. Somatosensation is processed from receptor, through distinct pathways, into discrete adaptive functions that contribute widely to many neurologically based capacities. As such, it is a critical system and often disrupted in individuals with a variety of neurodevelopmental challenges.

4. Assessment of Somatosensory Function With Demonstrations

This final chapter reviews assessment of somatosensation, including both formal / There are standardized and non-standardized versions of tests for the primary somatosensory functions. The classic assessments evaluate sensory discrimination and sensorimotor-related functions. The classic assessments evaluate sensory discrimination and sensory motor related functions. In order to determine sensory modulation qualities, qualitative observation is required. From assessment, keys to treatment are reviewed. The chapter utilizes an Ayres’ Sensory Integration approach and general treatment principals so that assessment and treatment are tied together for best practice use of somatosensation therapeutically.

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