Potential benefits that may be experienced after SENSe training
- improvement in ability to discriminate common textures through the sense of touch,
- knowing where one’s arm is in space when out of view and when using the arm in daily tasks,
- better recognition of objects through the sense of touch, and
- better use of the sense of touch in daily activities, for example when using common objects, rather than having to rely on vision or other compensation approaches.
These improved skills will assist you to perform everyday tasks that are important to you. Many stroke survivors who have previously been involved in the program have reported sustained improvement in ability to use their hand in everyday tasks and reduced mental fatigue and effort associated with performing these tasks.
Feedback from stroke survivors
Below are some comments from stroke survivors who have been involved in SENSe training.
Since undertaking sensory retraining, all tasks using my stroke affected hand are easier and require less concentration. Karen
I got involved in trialling the world-first therapy. It aimed to retrain my brain in a bid to awaken my sense of touch. … After sessions three times a week for six weeks, an incredible thing happened. The numbness in my right hand began to lessen. I started to recognise textures without having to look. Gradually, once more, I was able to do things others take for granted – cut up food with a knife, hold a toothbrush…And when Steph and I welcomed a baby girl, Adele, in March this year, I was able to cradle her in both my arms and feel the warmth of her skin.
From: 2013 Why this cuddle is a world-first. That’s Life (magazine). Issue 51; Pg 6-7
Photo from: 2013 Brain Matters. Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health (Spring Issue)
What do you think you learned the most about sensation during the treatment? What stood out to you?
“The proprioception stuff helped me a lot as well. I can sleep a lot better now. Before I couldn’t sleep because I was losing my arm in the middle of the night and then I’d wake up in pain but now I know where my arm is better so I can sleep a lot better. That made a big difference.”
“You were the first person I worked with who said we could do something about it. That made me trust you more and made my hand relax more.
The grids are good because you can see how many you get wrong and how many right.”
“My aim is to improve one percent every day. I just work on that one percent every day. And even things like dressing myself are getting a lot easier. My arm was really tight so trying to get some clothes on was really difficult. But now that my arm is down, I can put a jacket on and stuff like that and that makes a huge difference.”
What were the emotions you experienced during the treatment?
“I enjoyed it. I could see that every day I was getting a little bit better, so then you feel like you are on the right path.”
How would you describe the sensory retraining to other stroke survivors?
“Your stuff is equipped for a young person, an older person, it doesn’t matter. As long as you can concentrate for a certain amount of time you are able to achieve anything you want.”
Can therapists do the training with clients who have no movement?
“I had no movement in my arm when I started and basically it helped free out my arm. Then I could start doing things with my arm whereas before I wouldn’t even do things with my arm. Now I try to use my hand more.”