Ayres' Sensory Integration Therapy
Helping children and adults with SI difficulties
About the SI Network
The SI Network is a founder member of the International Council for Education in Ayres Sensory Integration.
The aim of the Sensory Integration Network is to promote education, good practice and research into the theory and practice of Ayres' Sensory Integration.
We are a not-for-profit organisation with a broad membership base, drawn mainly from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The business is managed by a board of seven directors drawn from our membership.
The aim of the Sensory Integration Network is to promote education, good practice and research into the theory and practice of Ayres' Sensory Integration. We do this by:
The theory and application of Sensory Integration focused on the way in which sensory processing and motor planning disorders could interfere with activities and daily living/learning, and might be involved in the treatment of young people with a range of difficulties.
Since the 1950s, when Dr Ayres first brought these ideas to wider attention, knowledge and expertise has grown and been built on thanks to the research, teaching and experience of a wide range of professionals in the field of neuropsychology and child development, supported by the encouraging and demonstrable results amongst those participating in treatment regimes utilising Sensory Integration therapies.
In the UK, formative work was done by the Study Group on Perception in the late 1970s, the brainchild of two Occupational Therapists from Scotland. At around the same time the Sensory Integration Association, the British Institute for Sensory Integration in the United Kingdom and the Irish Sensory Integration Association were established: each organisation with its own membership and training courses... and inevitable duplication of work. These four groups united in 1994 and founded the Sensory Integration Network UK and Ireland Limited with a not-for-profit educational structure. Membership has expanded from an initial 300 to the current level of almost 2,000, and is open to Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, and Speech and Language Therapists, as well Colleges, Libraries, other professionals, and parents and carers with an interest in learning more about and sharing their experience of Sensory Integration.
The Network’s courses have gained international recognition, attracting participants from overseas, and drawing pre-eminent speakers and lecturers from around the world. We benefit from ongoing collaboration with the International Coalition for Excellence in Sensory Integration.
In 2000, links were forged with Cardiff University and developed four modular courses registered for credits upon completion at a Master’s level. These modules are recognised as Continuing Professional Development for therapists.
After a rigorous tender process for our accredited programme in September 2011, we formed a new partnership with Ulster University Health Science school, offering not only university accreditation for all four modules but also introduced a clear pathway to include these modules on a MSc in sensory Integration.
We also host courses relevant to a wider group of professionals and interested parties, including teachers, nurses, parents and carers, bringing together leading practitioners in the field of Sensory Integration and encouraging links with related disciplines in Higher Education.
Rosalind has an enviable track record of working to develop national standards of high quality education. She was on the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency’s group which developed the first Benchmark Statements for pre-registration health courses. She led the development of the UK Standards for Work-based Learning for Speech and Language Therapy and represented the UK professional body, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, to develop the Health and Care Professional Council’s Standards for Education and Training. She was a Partner for the UK Regulator, the Health and Care Professions Council, the body that upholds standards in order to protect the public. She currently is working with the International Council for Education in Ayres Sensory Integration (ICEASI) to build a consensus for International Standards of Education in ASI.
Her externally focused work on standards is matched by a long-standing reputation within Ulster for developing innovative curricula. Her passion is in planning and developing high quality training and education across a range of sectors and people. She is acknowledged publicly by Dr. Kelly, Course Director of the Masters in Sensory Integration at Ulster University, as being the creator of the Masters programme in Sensory Integration –the first in its kind in the world.
In 2011, Rosalind was acknowledged by her profession through the conferment of the award of Fellow of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. This honour was bestowed as a consequence of her engagement in a range of leadership roles, the most notable being Chair of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists’ Council, where she was commended for her vision in respect of professional development for health professionals.
She was invited to chair the Board of Sensory Integration Network in 2014 in order that her skills of strategic leadership for this organisation could be harnessed for this organisation. She has already demonstrated her strong support for this organisation’s Vision. Her management skills have been honed through twelve years in academic management at Ulster University
She also is a high quality teacher –she is a Fellow of the University’s Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice. However, she is most proud of being a finalist for the Students Union’s University Staff Member of the Year 2013 because this is a student-nominated award-she was the only academic from her faculty to be shortlisted. Occupational Therapists who heard her lecture on Neuroscience on a recent Sensory Integration Foundations in Neuroscience module were effusive in their praise of her knowledge and ability to communicate complex concepts and ideas in a clear, engaging, style.
In her personal life, living on the beautiful drumlins of Country Down, in Northern Ireland, as a foster mother, she is particularly interested in the application of Ayres Sensory Integration to supporting children and young people who have experienced trauma. She uses the knowledge shared by her expert Sensory Integration Advanced Practitioner friends on a regular basis for children in her home environment.
Sylvia’s professional background encompasses academia, research, clinical practice, senior public-sector management and project management. She is committed to advancing evidence-based practice - one of the outputs of her PhD, which investigated the clinical reasoning and decision-making of occupational therapists, speech & language therapists and biomedical engineers, is the Taylor-Goh Model of Clinical Reasoning.
She is the editor of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Clinical Guidelines, a publication that provides evidence based guidance for 12 clinical areas of the profession. She has worked with the Department of Health, England, on establishing a Research Unit and undertaking an assistive technology research project. With the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), she assisted the development of ensuring the service user’s voice is heard in clinical guidelines.
She held academic positions at City University and University of London for over ten years and elsewhere has held the roles of External Examiner and Supervising Fellow for Professional Doctorate degrees. She is a Recognised Teacher with Ulster University. She is currently working in partnership with a UK university enabling them to embed her clinical reasoning model throughout their health course’s pre-registration curriculum. As a published author and active researcher, she regularly is an invited speaker at professional conferences.
Her clinical practice, ‘Relational Communication’, provides specialist assessment and intervention for children, young people and adults with complex congenital and acquired neurological disorders. She also works as a medico-legal Expert Witness within this clinical specialism. She is actively involved in many professional societies and is a member of the RCSLT Policy and Professional Practice Committee whose role is to consider and make recommendations upon matters relating to professional development, standards, policy and public affairs.
Cathy qualified as a physiotherapist in 1983 and initially worked in musculo-skeletal outpatients before moving into the field of paediatrics in the early 1990s. She has remained in this specialty ever since, working in a variety of environments including acute ward settings, outpatient clinics, child development centres and community settings. She enjoys supervising staff and students and currently leads the hydrotherapy and sensory integration services in a school for pupils with learning challenges. Her specific areas of interest include posture and gait, learning difficulties, hydrotherapy and looking at SI theory and practice from a physiotherapy perspective.
She has a strong background in leadership, which is of great value to the organisation in her role as Membership Director – she has a MSc in Clinical Leadership for Allied Health Professionals. She understands the dynamics of working effectively in multi-disciplinary teams and across the diverse inter-professional boundaries. Dr. Sylvia Taylor-Goh, one of her fellow directors, describes her as “a natural encourager”. Gina Daly, SensorNet Editor comments “Cathy is a great person to work alongside as her enthusiastic, optimistic attitude is contagious and serves to motivate those around her. She is an ideas-generator and has a very creative mindset”.
Cathy’s involvement with the SI Network began as an ASI student in 2010, when she embarked on the modular pathway, initially with Cardiff and then with Ulster University. She gained her advanced practitioner status in 2014 and sees this landmark as “a real personal highlight and one of the achievements I value most in my professional career”.
She has always immersed herself actively in the work of the organisation, as a social media team-member and was the founder of both the physiotherapy and speech and language therapy special interest groups. As a Director of Membership, she manages the editorial teams for EmphaSIze, the Network’s monthly newsletter, and SensorNet, its e-magazine. Under Cathy’s leadership, both have these have been developed and extended to a world class level for such communications as evidenced by requests for articles to be re-published in publications of ASI organisations -most recently USA and Europe.
Her knowledge of how students learn their ASI knowledge and skills has been honed through her mentoring roles on the Masters pathway. Penny Stewart, Head of Online Education Development commends Cathy’s skills in supporting and engaging people –a great skill for a Membership Director “Cathy has been really proactive... sharing her ideas and drawing on her knowledge and experience - her contributions have been invaluable in keeping the group supported and engaged”.
Members also respect her knowledge and skill. Moyna Talcer, Occupational Therapist and E-Mentor writes “She has a gift for expressing herself in a warm and approachable manner which has gained the respect of those around her".
Fiona Insch has a strong business background with over twenty years experience in a blue chip top 100 FTS company. As a Finance Manager, she was responsible for the management and delivery of the Profit &Loss, Management Information and Systems. She always was passionate about the training and development of others -it was therefore a natural progression into delivering Finance Training across the company’s suite of UK technical finance courses.
This commercial training and development experience was sought after by Ashridge Business School, where she worked in a joint venture to develop the leaders of future across the breadth of the organisation.
Fiona was head hunted into the Sensory Integration Network in 2009 in order to apply her leadership and management skills in developing a professional learning organisation, true to its not-for-profit values, yet efficient and effective with its processes.
She provides wise financial and business counsel to the Board of Directors, while also leading on the implementation of the professional education and research, and membership decisions. In 2017, this leadership role was formalised at a Director-level. She has built up one of the strongest Operations Team. She leads so positively, and her passionate commitment to the goals of Sensory Integration Network are energising and uplifting to those around her.
Begun in 2010, Fellowship of SI Network is awarded to individuals in recognition of significant and sustained contribution to the SI Network. Fellowship Awards are typically made at the Annual General Meeting, acknowledging and celebrating this achievement with the widest possible audience.