This issue of EmphaSIze is dedicated to ongoing continued professional development (CPD), vision and perception. Vision and the way we interpret this sense through visual perception are important skills needed for developing reading and writing. These are two essential skills needed when completing our CPD! Our editors picks this month will focus on stimulating the visual sense and developing visual perception. We will also look at some ways that you can participate in CPD activities using the resources of the SI Network and share with you what other members have already been busy doing. Happy reading!
Alison Double has been an occupational therapist for more than 20 years and in that time has worked in all sorts of settings including inpatient, community and schools in the UK and abroad, with a variety of clients (mostly with learning difficulties).
Her passion for SI stemmed from participating in the first ever SI Module 1 (Adults) course in 1995. This gave Alison the zest for the theory and sparked her lifelong interest in the area.
She is now an SI Network lecturer, delivering our popular 1 day Introduction to Sensory Integration Difficulties course, which runs three times a year and the 3 day Understanding Sensory Processing course available as an on-site course.
Over the last 4 years Alison has worked with the University of Worcester to set up their Undergraduate OT course where she hopes to ignite an interest of sensory integration in her students, with the hope that they will go on to the postgraduate SI practitioner training when in practice.
Indeed through her work at Worcester University, she is delighted that students can now gain hands on, practical experience in 'Ability House' – a house that has been converted so that teaching can be based on everyday practicalities.
Alison is currently undertaking her SI Module 4: Advanced Treatment in order to gain her Advanced Practitioner status. Alison comments, “It brought together all my learning to date and helped me contextualise... and it gave me more confidence in using suspended equipment..”
In her spare time, Alison is also a Brownie Unit leader for a pack of 35 Brownies where this term they are doing their ‘disability awareness’ badge and challenging their senses, and the ‘Just Right Challenge' at a PGL camp.
We took the opportunity to ask Alison about her favourite book. She revealed that her favourite book at the moment has to be Harry Potter. Alison says, “It has been bedtime reading with my 7 year old boy for the last 10 months – we are now on book 5!!”
A brand new course Complex Trauma in Children hosted by Franca Brenninkmeyer, Head of Child and Family Service, PAC-UK, made its debut on the SI Network training circuit last month.
This practical course helps therapists understand the overall presentation of these children and the development of interventions to help the children and their new families.
We caught up with two members who attended to find out more.
Emma Jerman and Annie Doubleday are both occupational therapists and Advanced SI Practitioners. Together they formed SenSI Treatment to help treat SPD in children, young people and adults, with 14 therapists treating over 180 children every week.
Emma and Annie have been members of the SI Network since 2009.
Emma has completed the Sensory Attachment Intervention Level 1 course, and is now experiencing the practical application of the course first hand using the approach on adopted children in her care.
Emma commented, “The Complex Trauma in Children was a great training course and gave me a real insight into recognising and helping children who are displaying these behaviours. The course lecturer really understood the key issues and explained it in a practical way. As a result of the course we are going to change the way we are working using the new model in our practice."
You can see the line up of their presentations here.
The SI Network’s Director of Research, Gemma Cartwright, added:
“A big well done to everyone who had their submission accepted. ESIC is a fantastic opportunity to encourage members to submit abstracts to showcase the evidence and value of the work being done in the field and The Network is pleased to be able to provide additional support through a travel scholar award to allow some members attend in person.”
Members who have completed modules through the SI Network (and not received funding in the last 24 months) can apply for a travel scholarship from the Network. A final decision about this will be made in Spring 2017 and will be covered in SensorNet Issue 49 due out at the end of March.
Sensory integration practice, as developed by Dr. A. Jean Ayres, is both a science and an art. Ayres described the art of therapy as the skill of eliciting the self-directed involvement necessary for brain's organisation.
According to Ayres, great skill is needed to elicit such involvement. While she brilliantly described the essence of that art in her writings, Ayres left us with few hints on the process by which we develop such art as clinicians. Yet this is not a trivial issue, since only self-directed action crates changes in the developing brain.
How is a therapist practising Ayres' sensory integration to learn to practice artfully, in such a way that she empowers clients to organise their own brain? Where did Ayres' ideas about the art of practice come from?
This two-day workshop explores the roots of those ideas, and using contemporary and current literature offers strategies for reflection and action to guide seasoned and novel therapists to enhance the art of their practice. Its main theoretical sources are playfulness theory, self-determination theory and child-centred play therapy.
This is a practical workshop comprised of lecture, role playing activities, active reflection, video analysis and group discussion. Be prepared to have fun and go deep inside!
Date: 14-15 July 2017
Fee: £370 (member price) Payment plans available.
Audience: This course is aimed at therapists both new and experienced, with some training in sensory integration who are interested in expanding the art of their SI practice.
Lecturer: Judith Abelenda, MS, OTR
The Ulster University winter graduation ceremony for the Faculties of Arts, Computing & Engineering and Life and Health Sciences was held on Tuesday 20 December at 11.00am in the Assembly Hall of Jordanstown campus. It was a cold, frosty day and the Jordanstown campus was buzzing with excitement.
The graduation ceremony commenced with a fanfare and processional march which heralded the arrival of the academic procession. The procession was led by the Stave Bearer and included Senior Officers of the University, members of Council and Senate and academic staff. The Chancellor, James Nesbitt (yes, the actor) presided at the graduation ceremony and began proceedings with an uplifting speech for all of the graduates in which he quoted Steve Jobs “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t Settle”. In accordance with the University's statutes, he then conferred degrees and other academic distinctions on all students who have been deemed eligible by Senate.
Following the presentation of the Distinguished Award recipients, students were presented to the Chancellor for their award by the Dean of their Faculty. Their names were called out, one at a time, in order of course studied. Graduands walked across the platform, stopped and bowed to the Chancellor and collected their certificates before returning to their seat in the auditorium.
After all graduates had been presented, a new student graduate spoke on behalf of those graduating at the ceremony. The formal proceedings concluded with closing remarks from the Provost of the campus. The academic procession, led by the Chancellor, left the hall. The new graduates joined the procession after the academic staff to symbolise their new status.
The SI Network was well represented and it was evident that 2016 was indeed a very successful year for its members. Three students graduated with a Master of Science in Sensory Integration – Aine Henry, Gina Daly and Rachel Daniels. In addition to this, Kylie Holdback and Denise Dockery, graduated with a Master of Science in Advancing Practice. The following students graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Sensory Integration:
Several students also graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Integration. Congratulations to all the students on their achievements. We wish them well as they continue their professional and academic journeys.
Kylie Holdback and Denise Dockery
Dr. Greg Kelly (Course Director) with Prasanta Kumar Pradhan, Dr Mary Hannon-Fletcher (Head of School of Health Sciences) and Anandhi Boorasamy
Gina Daly with award certificate.
Advanced Occupational Therapist and SI Practitioner, Fiona Taylor and her colleagues from the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS University Foundation Trust, have been working on using SI strategies in the psychiatric intensive and acute care settings for adult patients.
The psychiatric intensive care unit have been trialling the completion of sensory profile assessments with mentoring support from Fiona, who is based within the community Learning Disability team. These assessments have identified common themes such as the significance of environmental factors in the individual’s response to sensory stimuli.
The profiles help the team identify ways to use SI strategies to help everyday living for adults living with mental health issues. The team create sensory profile assessments which are then shared with the wider multidisciplinary team to become a part of the patient’s wider recovery intervention plan.
The ongoing research will provide an evidence base for the effectiveness of sensory integration with adults. These impressive new strategies caught the attention of the publishers at the OT News who published an article on their work in November 2016.
Fiona told us; “It’s really important to get this success story out there. There’s so much focus in the field of sensory integration and mental health on children so it’s great to have an example of it being practiced and working with adults for a change. It’s also another great way of raising awareness of how you can approach mental health issues as a OT.”
The work of Fiona and her colleagues signifies important developments in the use of sensory integration with adults and considers the governance structures around SI across the trust. We look forward to hearing more as the research progresses.
Jane Woodburn is an Advanced Practitioner in Sensory Integration and is Lead Occupational Therapist within the Witherslack Group, the UK’s leading provider of specialist education and care for children of all ages with social, emotional and mental health needs, communication difficulties (autism spectrum conditions, Asperger’s Syndrome, speech, language and communication needs) and complex learning needs. Jane is based in one of Witherslack’s specialist primary schools in Chorley, where she is able to provide Sensory Integration for many of the children.
Jane has been a member of the SI Network since 2004 and has recently completed SI Module 4 of the Modular Pathway. She is also one of the 10 e-mentors for the online programme that is launching in May next year.
As well as being an accomplished OT, Jane is a big fan of outdoor exercise and in particular, ultra-running, that she has been doing for around two years. Ultra-running is defined as running the length of anything past the marathon distance (26.2 miles).
This year she’s clocked up over 1000 miles! The most recent race Jane took part in was Lakeland 100, a hilly 105-mile race around the Lake District, which she said was particularly challenging as you have just 40 hours to complete it. Jane finished in 39 hours and 41 minutes, having kept going through two nights!
Jane told us, “Running at the end of the day gives me the chance to reflect on things. The proprioceptive input is regulating when you go for a run, it wakes me up if I’m tired and relaxes me if I’m stressed. I’m a sensory seeker - I certainly enjoy seeking proprioceptive input!”
We look forward to seeing more of Jane when SI1 Online launches. She added; “When I heard about SI1 Online and that the Network were looking for e-mentors I immediately knew I’d love to be a part of it. To be able to support other professionals who are going through the same training I did, is a great opportunity.”
Former Chair and lifetime fellow of the SI Network, Sue Allen, has recently had her research published in the New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy. Her research was influenced by a shared experience amongst occupational therapists with distressed mothers during parenting.
In previous studies, many mothers have reported a lack of support, feelings of isolation and stress during parenting but the studies failed to identify factors that correlate with the levels of stress they experienced. The initial aim of this study was to quantify the extent of the mother’s stress levels and gain a clear understanding of what helped or hindered their ability to cope.
Sue’s study found increased maternal stress in mothers of children with sensory processing challenges. Consequently, these mothers and their children are at higher risk of harm and concerns about the child should be considered in the context of family need.
Sue wanted to thank everyone for their support; “Thank you to the mothers willing to share their time and experience to help others, as well as the Occupational Therapy team at Dingley Specialist Children’s Center, Edith Hawkins, Research and Development team at Royal Berkshire NHS Trust and Fiona Knott and Andreea Bezadea, Psychology department at Reading University for making this research study possible.”
Some interesting findings in this research - congratulations Sue!
If you are interested in finding more out about Sue's study an abstract of the paper can be read here.
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