Recognizing the Impact of Sensory Processing Differences: Social Work Assessment and Intervention

Presented on: Wednesday, October 20th at 6:00 PM EDT

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Sensory processing differences impact up to 20% of the general population of the United States, yet social workers may not receive training on this neurobiological condition. Sensory processing in an important concept for practicing social workers to understand, as the underlying cause of behavior is what guides our treatment; accurate intervention relies on accurate assessment. This presentation will introduce the theory of sensory integration and current neuroscience understandings of sensory processing, discuss symptom presentation, co-morbid and differential diagnoses, and implications for social work assessment and intervention.


Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of sensory processing and the various ways that sensory processing differences present
  • Examine challenges to accurate assessment and diagnosis of clients with sensory processing differences, including co-morbid and differential diagnoses
  • Discuss the ways in which social workers can be helpful to clients with sensory processing differences, including interdisciplinary partnerships with occupational therapists

Dr. Katherine Walbam is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Salem State University. She teaches clinical practice, human behavior, and field education, and emphasizes the roles of development, human rights, and social justice in social work practice. Dr. Walbam has over 18 years of clinical experience with children and adolescents and their families, particularly in the areas of trauma, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Walbam’s scholarly interests include sensory processing, particularly as it relates to early child-caregiver relationships, social work education, and interprofessional collaboration.