The Wisconsin Department of Health Services at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center (SRSTC) recognizes the unique needs of those who have sexually offended with severe and persistent mental illness and the need for alternative approaches to treatment. As occupational therapists at SRSTC we offer sensory programming to these patients in a variety of ways to enhance function and promote patient engagement in treatment. Throughout this presentation, participants will have the opportunity to learn the theory and neurobiology that drive sensory interventions. Participants will be given the opportunity to recognize the impact of sensory behaviors on activities of daily living. Participants will be introduced to interventions used to maintain optimal level of arousal through use of sensory diet and sensory behavior modification strategies for use with sensory dysregulation. This presentation explores practical tools that can be used with patients who experience severe and persistent mental illness in individual or group sessions. Sensory recommendations are made with consideration given to characteristics within the individual patient and the environment and the impact of peers, staff, and family who are affiliated to the patient. Interventions are designed for a secure setting and can be implemented both on and off patient living units.
Kendall Doersch, OTR is a board-certified occupational therapist licensed through the Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA) employed at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center (SRSTC) since March 2019. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and French from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Her professional interests include physical dysfunction and rehabilitation, mental health issues, and the interaction that occurs when these two concern areas coincide within the same patient.
Sharon Mendez, OTR is licensed through Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA) and board certified through NBCOT. She has worked in mental health clinical practice at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center (SRSTC) for the last 19 years. She previously had worked as an outpatient occupational therapist for 3 years with focus on work hardening, biofeedback, and chronic pain. Her work with chronic pain drew her toward her interests in mental health. Her role as an occupational therapist at SRSTC has been multi-faceted to include co-facilitator of sex offender treatment groups, work with health services in addressing patients’ medical and cognitive rehabilitation needs, focus on release planning, use of occupational therapy based assessments, and development of sensory programming at SRSTC.