A new survey has revealed that the pandemic has had a multitude of negative effects upon the delivery of therapy and support for people with sensory difficulties.
Both patients and therapists are suffering from the lack of in-person sessions and the reliance on video calls instead.
This is according to a new report by Sensory Integration Education (SIE), based on two surveys taken between 5 October and 15 November 2020.
Sensory integration difficulties often co-occur with other conditions including ADHD and autism. The term describes problems with organising and responding to information that comes in through the senses.
Individuals with sensory difficulties, their families and carers reported that 24% had put their therapy or support on hold during the pandemic this summer – just one of a number of negative trends occurring as a result of the pandemic.
Elsewhere, 38% of professionals said the toughest challenge presented by the pandemic in relation to work was being unable to deliver face-to-face therapy or support.
Meanwhile, 26% reported that the new ways of working or the inability to work under the pandemic restrictions had had a negative impact on their mental health.
Almost one in five (18%) reported witnessing negative effects of the pandemic environment on their clients or pupils.
Increased waiting times for therapy or support was reported by almost a third (31%).
Meanwhile, of the people receiving support, as well as their families and carers: 22% had accessed therapy/support by online or by phone; 9% had accessed therapy/support in person; a further 9% by a blend of virtual and in-person; and 24% had their therapy put on hold.
This resulted in negative impacts and feeling such as: missing usual therapeutic support; missing support from school; a frustration at being stuck in the house; anxiety about risk and hygiene measures; feelings of isolation; and reduced opportunity for exercise and too much screen time.