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 News and Updates

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  • 30 Dec 2019 11:38 | SIE News (Administrator)

    As a Sensory Integration Practitioner, would you like to take your knowledge and practice to the next level in 2020 by achieving Advanced Practitioner status? You can do this on Sensory Integration Education’s fully refreshed online SI Module 4: Advanced Practice, which has been designed around the NHS’s advanced clinical practice definition and, like all our practitioner training courses, is accredited by a UK university. The first cohort starts in March 2020: could you be on it?

    Working with and supporting researchers and practitioners at the leading edge of sensory integration, we invested a year of development in updating and reinvigorating our Advanced SI Practitioner qualification.

    SI Module 4: Advanced Practice will enable you to develop the knowledge and skills you require to become an SI Advanced Practitioner working across settings and clinical populations. In addition to achieving the advanced status, you can work towards a Postgraduate Diploma and Masters in Sensory Integration.

    We began with the NHS’s definition of advanced clinical practice, which has currency worldwide,...

    “It is a level of practice characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision making. This is underpinned by a master’s level award or equivalent that encompasses the four pillars of clinical practice, leadership and management, education and research, with demonstration of core capabilities and area specific clinical competence. Advanced clinical practice embodies the ability to manage clinical care in partnership with individuals, families and carers. It includes the analysis and synthesis of complex problems across a range of settings, enabling innovative solutions to enhance people’s experience and improve outcomes”

    … and designed the module around these principles, enabling you to further develop your knowledge and skills gained from your PG Certificate in SI.

    Let’s look at the recharged course. The course is designed to train clinicians in the practical skills and activities of therapy as well as the principles behind therapy. There are three themes around which your advanced practitioner learning is focused:

    • Clinical practice
    • Clinical application of research
    • Clinical service development

    In order to support your advancing clinical reasoning and clinical skill development, you will hear from national and international experts, in addition to SIE-certified Advanced Practitioners. Our Advanced Practitioner Module e-Mentors will support your learning throughout. In order to ground your developing skills, you will undertake 20 hours of clinical practice supported by a Clinical Mentor. All learning is supported by high quality, specifically-commissioned, online learning content.

    Upon successful completion of the three assessment pieces, you will be entitled to use the title SIE SI Advanced Practitioner; gain 20 UK university academic credits which are globally recognised and highly transferable; and be listed as an Advanced Practitioner in the Association of SI Practitioners' Register.

    On a practical note, you can find all the information you need on the course here, as well as details of membership discounts and interest-free monthly payment plans.

    If Advanced Practitionership is your goal for 2020, we sincerely hope you consider achieving it with us!

  • 30 Dec 2019 00:29 | SIE Support (Administrator)

    You can find a round up of our recently featured journal articles below and kick off 2020 with some CPD reading.

    Caregivers’ perceptions of barriers and supports for children with sensory processing disorders

    This study explored caregivers’ perceptions of how children with  Sensory Processing disorders participate in community outings, strategies to support successful outings and if multi‐sensory environments mitigate participation barriers.

    Parent strategies for addressing the needs of their newly adopted child

    In this qualitative study, researchers found that difficulties with sleeping, feeding, attachment, and behaviour and self-regulation difficulties associated with Sensory Integration difficulties were the biggest challenge for parents of newly adopted children. Researchers highlight the role therapists have to not only assess and address these challenges but also to support families to cope with meeting the needs of their children.

    Health provider and service-user experiences of sensory modulation rooms in an acute inpatient psychiatry setting

    New research shows that the use of sensory modulation rooms in acute inpatient psychiatry settings is viewed positively by both service users and health care providers.

    Sensory Processing and Maladaptive Behavior: Profiles within the Down Syndrome Phenotype: Applying Findings to Practice

    In this research paper, Occupational Therapist, Renee Watling explores the relationship between sensory processing and maladaptive behaviours in relation to Down Syndrome. Though maladaptive behaviours as a result of sensory processing difficulties may impact on daily life occupations, they also may serve a positive function including escape, attention etc. Gaining an insight into the association of sensory processing and maladaptive behaviours supports the understanding of the potential factors instigating the behaviour, which may support targeted interventions.

    Cultural Adaptation of the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile for Spain

    Results for this study indicate that the Spanish version of the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Procession is conceptually and semantically equivalent to the original version. Great to see sensory assessment tools being made more accessible internationally.

    Connections Between Sensory Sensitivities in Autism; the Importance of Sensory Friendly Environments for Accessibility and Increased Quality of Life for the Neurodivergent Autistic Minority

    This literature review looks at the importance of sensory friendly environments to improve accessibility and subsequently quality of life for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder who have difficulties with Sensory Processing and Sensory Integration.

    The role of sensory processing difficulties, cognitive impairment, and disease severity in predicting functional behavior among patients with multiple sclerosis

    In one of the first studies to investigate sensory processing in people with multiplesclerosis (MS), researchers found that this population experiences difficulties with registering and modulating sensory input. These difficulties were found to impact on ability to perform activities of daily living and may be a marker of disease severity.

    Auditing Learning Environments from a Sensory Perspective

    Here, a university team present their process of auditing their learning environment from a sensory perspective and make recommendations on how to make the environment more accessible for those who have difficulties with Sensory Processing and Sensory Integration.

    Somatosensory Discrimination in People With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Scoping Review

    This recently published scoping review in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy offers an excellent overview of somatosensory functioning, its role in child development and its prevalence in the ASD population.

    Associations Between Meaning of Everyday Activities and Participation Among Children

    The subjective meaning that people attach to their occupations may explain the association among participation, health, and well-being - but most studies have been on adults, and the ones on children have been mostly qualitative studies. This recent study aimed to explore the perceived meaning that typically developing children attribute to their everyday activities and to assess the correlations between children’s perceived meaning and their participation as assessed by parents. It found that children aged 6-12 were able to reflect on the meaning of their everyday activities and the researchers suggested that the Perceived Meaning of Occupation Questionnaire (PMOQ) was a useful tool for facilitating this and that it could be a useful for engaging young children in setting meaningful goals for therapy.

    Addressing Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Disorders Across the Lifespan: The Role of Occupational Therapy

    This is a great fact sheet from American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

  • 29 Dec 2019 20:31 | SIE Support (Administrator)

    Have you thought of making New Year Resolutions to reinvigorate your sensory integration therapy practice? You spend a large proportion of your life at work, so why not focus on making it the best experience possible for you and your clients and colleagues. We’ve suggested some areas below but we’d love to hear your career resolutions too!

    1. Stop procrastinating.

    If there’s something you’ve been meaning to do to enhance or change your career, write a list of steps you are going to take to achieve it, and commit to taking action on a step a day or week as appropriate. Research that area. Book that course. Apply for that position.

    2. Meet new people.

    New people bring new opportunities. Overcome your shyness and make time to network (virtually or in real life) with people in your field or the field that you aspire to. You might even have fun! If you want to dip your toe in the water with online networking, we have a friendly, professional and inspiring community of people on our Facebook SI Groups and we host an annual SI Autumn Conference in the UK for sensory integration students and therapists.

    3. Volunteer.

    Can you use your skills (career or otherwise) to volunteer at a local group, home, shelter or school? Ensure any work you do is covered by your professional insurance. Volunteering is a great way to boost your esteem, confidence and CV whilst giving back to your community.

    4. Set yourself career goals.

    You set your clients goals within therapy because you know that it helps to track progress and motivate, but do you set yourself small, manageable career goals, specific to you, that build to a big achievement? Come on, grab a pen and set down your long-term goal, with the measurable outcome and the timeframe for achieving it. Then write down the short-term goals (with specific details and time frames) that will support you in achieving your long-term goal. Now put this list somewhere you will see it every day to remind you of your direction and commitment.

    5. Get involved in research.

    Contributing to your field’s body of evidence and seeing your name listed in a published article is pretty thrilling and rewarding. Sensory Integration Education offer support and advice for SI researchers as well as the opportunity to pursue a UK university accredited MSc in Sensory Integration which involves engaging in an independent piece of research activity under the guidance of a supervisor.

    6. Remember self-care.

    The very nature of your job involves being an active listener which can be draining if you don’t have an adequate debriefing process. Your workplace should have appropriate provision for staff’s mental wellbeing: if it does, get involved; if it doesn’t, lobby for it. If you work for yourself, then building time in your working week to reset your mind and body will pay dividends.

    7. Make CPD fun!

    Set out your continuing professional development goals for the year. Check what your professional body’s CPD requirements are (and the level of evidence required) then set goals that support your wider career goals. If you can make them enjoyable, you’re more likely to achieve them. Are you looking to keep up with the latest research (ahem, such as listed in our monthly newsletter EmphaSIze, biannual magazine SensorNet, and daily social media posts)? Get a research buddy or two, then agree to read the same article or book each week and discuss it (over a coffee, online, it really doesn’t matter as long as you do it).

  • 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.

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