CHART Fund Sensory Library Purchases

Posted on: 13/09/21

Sensory processing refers to how the brain registers and interprets sensory inputs (e.g. loud noise), which informs the behavioural response (e.g. hands over ears). The sensory systems are sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, body awareness, balance and interoception (internal body awareness). When someone has a sensory processing difficulty, it affects how they participate in everyday life. They may be unable to sit at the kai table because of a need to move. Or they have a meltdown in a crowded area because they are overwhelmed by auditory and visual input. This is more common in children living with conditions such as autism, trisomy 21, learning challenges or trauma backgrounds.

Under Health Fund PLUS, Northland Community Foundation manages and invests the CHART (Child Health Advancement Research Trust) Endowment Fund and last year was able to deliver out the first grant from the interest. The fund was established as a perpetual fund, so that the interest from the funds will continue to support children in Northland forever. The goal is to grow the ‘forever fund’, through donations, to at least $100,000 to enable more interest to be delivered out annually.

This year, the fund’s interest was utilised to expand the sensory library, which now includes items like fidget toys, weighted sheets, chewies, headphones, and visual timers. These carefully selected items are designed to support our clients to modulate themselves in their respective environments. These sensory items are often costly for whānau and families, so it is beneficial to be able to lend them to whānau to experiment with.

Clients would also benefit from wobble stools, interactive wall panels and sensory swings, and we hope to expand the resources via further donations.

Article by Marie Groenendijk, Occupational Therapist with the Northland District Health Board.