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 News and Updates

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  • 13 Dec 2019 10:04 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Who doesn't need a little inspiration now and again? Over on our social media channels, we are posting 12 Days of SI Inspiration.  In case you don't follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Linkedin, here is our festive offering to the wonderful sensory integration community:

  • 04 Dec 2019 11:06 | SIE Support (Administrator)

  • 04 Dec 2019 10:59 | SIE Support (Administrator)


    Sensory-based gift ideas. A reflection on the Autumn Conference. Legacy Award Winners announced. An update on the EASI project. And a special Christmas giveaway! As well as our usual selection of SI research, jobs, resources, books and products. This really is a bumper edition of EmphaSIze.

    If you didn't manage to join us in our Silver Jubilee celebrations at the SIE Autumn Conference last month, look out for the a full write-up on the speakers, presentations and event in the next issue of our magazine SensorNet.

    Best wishes

    EmphaSIze Team

    PS. Be sure to follow along on our social media channels as we'll be signposting you to lots of festive SI inspiration and advice.

    Click here to see our December edition

  • 26 Nov 2019 13:50 | SIE News (Administrator)

    A: The excitement and chaos of Christmas can be overwhelming for a lot of children and certainly even more so for those with sensory integration difficulties.

    In the build up to Christmas, be mindful of the type and how many Christmas decorations you have at home: scented candles, natural Christmas trees, flickering lights, reflective tinsel, baubles and musical ornaments can be a lot of additional visual, auditory and olfactory sensory information your son doesn’t normally need to process at home - and may contribute to sensory overload. Consider more subtle decorations or, if you can, involve your children in making homemade Christmas decorations they can display proudly around the house!

    On the day itself, make it a Christmas day that works for your family. Keep routine activities, eg, getting up, bath times and meal times, at the same time as this predictability can be helpful in maintaining an active-calm level of arousal. Also, think about what your son does on a typical day and when and how he currently accesses the sensory feedback he needs to modulate. Does he play with particular toys? Spend time outside? Use particular equipment? If possible, ensure these activities still happen.

    Finally, Christmas dinner should be a special meal which everyone is looking forward to so,with that in mind, ensure that your son has his preferred foods on the day. Food restrictions due to sensory integration difficulties can be really challenging and, therefore, it would be better to work with a trained sensory integration practitioner to assess and address this in detail rather than focusing on strategies that may or may not work on one particular day.

    We hope Christmas Day goes smoothly for you and your family!

  • 26 Nov 2019 13:17 | SIE News (Administrator)

    The 2019 Legacy Awards, celebrating achievement and nurturing talent in the sensory integration community, were announced at the SIE Autumn Conference, held in Birmingham in November.

    Part of our Legacy Project, in acknowledgement of and gratitude to those who introduced Ayres’ Sensory Integration to the UK and Ireland in the 1970s and those who have worked to shape training and practice since that time, the Legacy Awards this year honoured:

    Honorary Fellowship Award - Dr Greg Kelly

    Course Director for the Ulster University PGCert, PGDip and MSc Pathway, Ulster University

    Dr Greg Kelly received an SIE Honorary Fellowship for sustained commitment to developing SI theory and practice in the UK, Ireland and beyond, over a 40-year period and for his outstanding leadership in providing university-accredited SI training, since the MSc in SI was launched in 2011.

    Greg’s interest in SI dates back to 1979 when he was working as an OT in a psychiatric hospital and read an article by King (1977). A year later when working with children in a speech and language assessment unit, he began to explore using SI with the support of his speech and language therapist colleagues. No formal SI courses were available locally at that time though so he developed his own knowledge by reading widely and practising delivering SI using home-made equipment.

    Spurred on by some amazing results, he purchased the Southern California SI tests and Post Rotary Tests, writing to Jean Ayres to ask permission to use them without any formal training. Jean Ayres wrote back saying he didn’t need permission and wished him luck.

    Greg then formed an SI study group with others (including Eadaoin Breathnach) to teach himself the basics. This then became affiliated with the Scottish-based study group on perception and then in 1990 the Irish SI Association was formed. And as courses and workshops became available, he took every opportunity to attend these, in the UK and beyond.

    Greg also completed a degree in psychology and an MSc, and in 1987 became a lecturer in OT at Ulster University. His published works inspired others to begin learning about SI principles and to go on to develop theory and practice further for themselves. His dedication to promoting SI theory and practice continued throughout the 1990s with the different study groups eventually merging to form the organisation we are all part of today, the SI Network UK and Ireland (now branded Sensory Integration Education).

    For a while, Greg stepped back from SI to complete a PhD, but in 2010, when we invited higher education institutions to tender for accreditation of our SI course, his passion for SI was reignited and he led a team to submit a bid proposing that the SI training pathway would no longer end with the award of PG Cert, but would also reach PG Diploma and Masters levels too. The bid was successful and in 2011 the MSc pathway was initiated.

    Greg remains the Course Director of the MSc in SI Pathway today, supporting students from all over the world, to complete university-accredited SI training. The Ulster/SIE joint pathway is the only one of its kind in Europe, attracting students worldwide. He is an outstanding pioneer, innovator and change-maker for SI in the UK, Ireland and beyond and a very deserving recipient of an honorary SIE Fellowship Award.

    Outstanding students from the 2018/19 academic year

    When the Legacy Project was initiated, it was agreed that in honour of two of the early pioneers of ASI in the UK and Ireland, bursaries will be awarded annually to the PGCert and PGDip Outstanding Students of the Year. This year we added a third award for MSc Outstanding Student of the Year.

    The Elizabeth Fairgrieve Award for the Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Integration Outstanding Student of the Year - Tania Slavin

    The Elizabeth Stephenson Award for the PG Dip in SI Outstanding Student of the Year - Laura Osman

    The Dr Greg Kelly Award for the MSc in Sensory integration Outstanding Student of the Year - Claire Stokes

    Advanced Practitioner certificates

    We were delighted to convey Advanced Practitioner status and certificates to 35 SI students at the Autumn Conference.

    Remember, you can use the Association of SI Practitioners' Register to search for who have gained SI qualifications on SIE’s UK-university-accredited SI Modular Pathway. 

  • 21 Nov 2019 13:46 | SIE News (Administrator)

    We’ve collated some of the best sensory gifts, to suit all budgets, for your wish list this year.

    Remember that if you are an SIE Member, you can enjoy a 10% discount on Rompa, Chewigem and Southpaw products - to discover your discount codes for these suppliers, simply log in to your Sensory Integration Education membership account and click on “My SI”, then "Member Resources".


    Robo-Board trains weight transfer and dynamic balance, as well as providing proprioceptive stimulation. Move the board by transferring weight from side to side, it rotates when the weight is on four of the wheels on one side, and locks when the load is centred over the four central wheels. Allows rotation in a circular movement of up to F6. For users 4 years and over. Maximum load: 75kg. Weight: 1.25kg

    Available from Rompa.

    Weighted Sensory Snake

    Meet Noodles your weighted, twisty, bendy, tactile friendly snake buddy who will sit comfortably on your shoulders or lap, leaving you hands free to concentrate and stay on task. Perfect for busy minds, who require deep pressure touch for proprioceptive and vestibular senses management, as part of a sensory diet.

    Available from Sensory Direct.

    Weighted Cuddly Unicorn

    A weighted cuddly unicorn is ideal for young ones that require that weight to help calm them. The weighted unicorn cuddly toy helps with attention span and reduces fidgeting. Other animals are available too.

    Available from Sensory Direct.

    Sensory Stackers – Set of 6

    Multi-use blocks, each with its own colour, texture and size. Use to encourage early maths concepts, motor skills, reasoning, hand-eye co-ordination, visual discrimination and logical thinking. Great for a wide range of ages and abilities. For 6 months and over.

    Available from Rompa.

    Construction Cutlery - Front Loader Spoon

    Marry fun with function and create one of a kind mealtime experiences with this award winning mealtime resource. Used by many OTs to promote motor development. This cleverly designed utensil is easy to grip and easy to clean. Dishwasher safe.

    Available from Rompa.

    3-in-1 Rocking Boat

    The 3-in-1 Rocking Boat is three products in one - it can be a rocking boat, turn on its side to become a counter, and turn upside down to make a slide. ​​​​​​​It is sustainably manufactured in the UK using durable beech plywood, which is finished with a child-friendly, water-based lacquer which helps maintain the natural wood appearance and allows for easy cleaning.

    Available from Sensory Education.*

    Super Sorting Pie

    ​​​​​​​The Super sorting pie contains 60 X 4cm fruits and there are seven types of fruit in five different colours. The Super Sorting pie is made from durable plastic and has a removable divider. There are three double-sided sorting cards for children to follow and they can be placed into the pie base to add visual clues for smaller children.

    Available from Sensory Education.*

    Pop Toobs - set of 3

    Pop Toobs are connectable bendable tubes that make silly popping sounds. They are a great source of tactile and auditory feedback and also help promote bilateral skills. They can be used in lots of imaginative and creative ways.

    Available from TFH.

    Pictionary Air

    This new take on the classic Pictionary game challenges body and spatial awareness. Download the app to get started, then use the Pictionary Air pen to draw in the air. Your sketches appear on your smart device when you point the in-app camera at the player drawing in the air.

    Available from Amazon.

    Dobble Kids

    Dobble is a fast pace competitive game that puts your visual scanning and discrimination skills to the test. Race to find the one matching image between one card and another. Every card is different and has only one picture in common with every other card in the deck. Contains five mini quick and easy games for ages 4+ years.

    Available from Amazon.

    The Colour Monster

    This delightful book is a gentle exploration of feelings for young and old alike. One day, Colour Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through colour.

    Available from Amazon.

    Whirly Squigz

    Whirly Squigz are big, bright, and full of tactile fun! Hold them, explore their contours, chomp on them and let them soothe sore gums. Then, stick them to any smooth, non-porous surface and give them a spin. Great for those that find small fidget spinners too fiddly. Set of three. Made from Food-Grade silicone with plastic, non-rusting bearings - great for the bathtub! BPA-free, fully safety tested.

    Available from Amazon.

    *Sensory Education is not affiliated with Sensory Integration Education.

  • 19 Nov 2019 12:00 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Cathy Maguire, Director of Member Services and Conference Chair for the SIE Autumn Conference extends her gratitude to all the delegates, those who followed the event via social media, the speakers, staff and everyone who helped make the event another sell-out success:

    “Sensory Integration Education has been delivering high quality, sensory integration training for 25 years now and this weekend we celebrated our silver jubilee birthday with an action-packed Sensory Integration Education Conference held at Aston University Conference Centre in Birmingham, UK.

    “My take-home messages from the day are many and include:

    “We have an amazingly strong, vibrant, knowledgeable and inclusive community of practice that people value greatly and are proud to be part of.

    “We have huge talent within our professional community and wonderful work is being carried out by clinicians and researchers in the UK.

    “There is immense energy within this community – people want to connect, share interprofessional dialogue and support, and to feel well-supported by others in the community of practice too.

    “Undertaking the accredited SI practitioner training pathway has opened up some inspiring career and research opportunities for speakers and conference delegates alike, as evidenced by the content of the presentations and conversations held with delegates throughout the day.

    “Students are appreciative of the Outstanding Student Bursary Awards.

    “The research grants offered are enabling members to complete projects and attend conferences they would not be able to do otherwise.

    “We all have a responsibility to work, both individually and collectively, to build on the wonderful legacy of the early SI pioneers, advance the evidence base, and pass on our own knowledge to those with whom we come into contact.

    “Sensory integration really does change people’s lives as evidenced by the case studies and powerful testimonies from service users shared in the presentations.

    “Finally, thank you to all the speakers and attendees for making this year’s conference such a memorable learning and networking experience. We are already starting to think about next year’s conference so watch out for announcements!”

    Best wishes

    Cathy Maguire

    Director of Member Services and Conference Chair

    Sensory Integration Education

  • 19 Nov 2019 10:03 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Delegates at the SIE Autumn Conference 2019, held in Birmingham, were updated on the EASI normative data collection project by the UK and Ireland regional lead Kath Smith. You can read more on the presentation here

    The development and distribution of the new EASI (Evaluation in Ayres Sensory Integration) test is one of the transformational Ayres’ Sensory Integration (ASI) 2020 Vision goals. Next year marks what would have been the 100th birthday of the pioneer of sensory integration, Dr A Jean Ayres. To commemorate this milestone, the international SI community proposed this ASI 2020 Vision:

    “Ayres Sensory Integration will have a strong, international presence with demonstrated scholarship, means for valid, comprehensive assessment and pathways for training to ensure the ongoing development, standards of excellence and effective implementation of this important work.”

    Ensuring effective intervention through comprehensive assessment in ASI

    The purpose of the EASI is to provide a valid and reliable set of tests for assessing key sensory integration functions which underlie learning, behaviour, and participation. The EASI measures sensory perception, postural/ocular/bilateral motor integration, praxis, and sensory reactivity, in a manner that minimises the influences of culture, language comprehension, and prior experience. The EASI tests are designed for children 3-12 years of age and will be made available to appropriately trained professionals in a low-cost and accessible format.

    Delegates at the SIE Autumn Conference had the opportunity to examine and try out the contents of an EASI Kit, which, with the exception of the specialist 3D pieces, are all available from the high street and online stores.

    The initial development plan for the EASI is to collect international normative data on children 3-12 years of age. The long-range plan is to expand the items and normative sample so that the EASI can be used to assess sensory integration across the lifespan, in a low-cost and accessible format.

    Therapists interested in supporting the data collection project in their local area can find out more here

    The UK and Ireland teams are listed here  and information on the international leads are available from the Ayres 2020 Vision Facebook page .

  • 18 Nov 2019 11:25 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Sensory Integration Education launched its latest Impact Report, charting progress against its founding not-for-profit aims, at the SIE Autumn Conference 2019.

    Rosalid Rogers, Chair of Board of Directors, SIE, commented:

    “Our watchword this year has been ‘investment’: investment in enhancing the provision of a university-accredited, fully-accessible MSc pathway to SI Practitioner status and Advanced Practitioner status; investment in researchers working at the coalface of SI therapy; and investment in getting more articles, research, first-person stories and resources out to the global SI community of practitioners, students, end-users, parents, carers and teachers than ever before.”

    “We may be 25 years old but we hold fast to the original purpose upon which we were founded: to promote education, good practice and research into the theory and practice of Ayres' Sensory Integration (ASI).”

    You can read the full report here.

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