About the Author

Paula Aquilla, BSc, OT

Paula Aquilla loves the practice of Occupational Therapy and Osteopathy! She is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has practiced in a variety of clinical, home and community settings since 1986. Paula is also an osteopathic manual practitioner and specializes in paediatrics. She is the director of Aquilla Occupational Therapy (established in 1990); a family oriented practice that is full of fun and learning! Paula was the founder and director of Yes I Can! Nursery School, Yes I Can! Summer Camps, and the I Love My Baby programs in Toronto from 1990-1996. She was the founding director of Giant Steps Toronto. Paula brings warmth and enthusiasm in her work with children and their families. Paula currently consults at the Muki Baum Treatment Centres in Toronto and various schools in Toronto. She teaches throughout Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and India. Her practice encompasses all types of children and young adults and her specialty is sensory integration therapy. Paula has been a guest lecturer for the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and Humber College. She is published in the field: co-author of Building Bridges through Sensory Integration: Occupational Therapy for Children with Autism and other Developmental Disorders (1998) and is a contributor to Children, Youth and Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. She is the technical editor for the SI Focus Magazine. Paula has contributed to other magazines and special interest newsletters in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Books by this Author
Color My Senses

Color My Senses

The Sensory Detective Coloring Book
edition:Paperback
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Excerpt

We have a nervous system in our body that delivers information from our body to our brain and from our brain to our body. It is a marvelous system and it works automatically; without us even thinking about it!

Our sensory system carries information from our senses and tells us what is going on in our body and in our environment.

Let’s use an example to explore the senses. We want to cross the road. We look both ways to make sure that it is safe to cross the road. Oh look! What is coming?

A school bus drives down the road and we watch it pass. Our eyes carry information about what we see. We use our visual system to look at the bus.

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The Sensory Detective Curriculum

The Sensory Detective Curriculum

Discovering Sensory Processing and How It Supports Attention, Focus and Regulation Skills
edition:Paperback
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Excerpt

Our brain can put all this information together to give us information about everything; what is happening in our bodies and what is happening in the environment. It’s absolutely marvelous! When we go outside for recess, we can feel our clothing as we move down the stairs toward the doors to the playground. We can keep our balance on the stairs and we know the position of our body, which enables us to turn around corners and make it through the doorway. Once we are outside, we scan the playground, using our vision and auditory systems and find our friends who are organizing a game of baseball. We switch from walking to running. We don’t fall because our vestibular and proprioception systems are working together to give us a constant flow of the information we need to stay upright. We may be biting into an apple and tasting that yummy goodness at the same time! We make it to our friends and begin to play.

Sensory processing happens in a part of our central nervous system called a brain stem. The brain stem is like a relay station; all the information is carried to the brain stem through individual sensory nerves. The information from all the senses gets filtered in the brain stem. Important information comes into focus and unimportant information is discarded. The brain stem works with another system called the limbic system, our emotional system, to determine what is important to pay attention to and what to ignore in that moment. For example, when we are going down the stairs, information from our vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and visual systems come to the forefront to ensure that we don’t fall. We don’t pay as much attention to our olfactory or gustatory systems in this task. However, on pizza day, when we are eating a delicious slice of hot cheesy pizza, our brain pays more attention to our olfactory and gustatory systems so that we can enjoy the taste of the pizza.

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