SI News and Updates

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  • 27 Apr 2017 09:31 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year we are pleased to announce that we have funded 2 of our members to travel to the European Sensory Integration Congress (ESIC) to present their research findings and hear from other world-leading SI practitioners.   

    Now in it's 5th year, ESIC is widely regarded as one of the leading global Sensory Integration events.

    Having gone through a rigorous selection process, the 2 recipients of the grant are Aine Henry and Sue Delport.

    Aine Henry, from Dublin, is a senior Occupational Therapist (OT) and Advanced Practitioner who splits her working life between two roles.  Firstly working with children who have intellectual disabilities and autism and secondly, working in a clinic which provides Ayres Sensory Integration. 

    Aine will be presenting her paper entitled, “Teaching children with sensory processing difficulties: exploring the experiences of recently qualified primary school teachers in Ireland.”

    Sue Delport, from Cardiff, is a Fellow of the SI Network and was previously an SI Network director and lecturer.  She is now a marker of the SI Modular Pathway.

    Sue will be presenting her paper, “Planning a national study application that meets quality indicators for evidence based interventions.”

    Aine and Sue will be travelling to Vienna for the Congress which is taking place from 1 – 3 June.

    Aine commented, "I am really looking forward to attending this ESIC Conference, the line-up of speakers is inspiring and I look forward to hearing, and sharing, ideas at the forefront of SI theory and practise".

    We look forward to hearing how Sue and Aine get on at the Congress and will keep you posted on any updates they would like to share with the SI Network.

  • 18 Apr 2017 11:09 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    This month we caught up with Judith Abelenda, our international guest tutor for the 2 day course, The Art of Therapy: Play and Relationships course taking place 15-16 July 2017 in London.

    We asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better.

    What is your professional background?

    I am an occupational therapist from Argentina. I trained originally in mental health, but different circumstances took me to working with children and their families. Looking back, I can tell how much of my work in mental health informs my current work with the whole family.

    In the year 2000 I moved to the United States for my post professional masters of science degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and I stayed in that city for 10 years!

    In Chicago I was introduced to the work with children, which changed my professional activity for ever. Working with very young children in Early Intervention, I became aware of the need to integrate a variety of practice models to meet their occupational needs, to understand the family occupations as a whole, and to support parents to support their children´s development.

    What is your area of interest/ specialism?

    I am especially interested in fostering participation for children and their families through sensory integration and social/emotional development.  More specifically, I am interested in promoting children´s self-awareness and self-direction on one hand, and on the other, parental encouragement of the idea that trial and error, experimentation, fun, and unconditional acceptance of who we are and where we are in our development are an essential part of every learning experience.

    What are you passionate about?

    All of the above! (and below).

    How did the idea for The Art of Therapy course: Play and Relationships course come about?

    One of the aspects of sensory integration that most appealed to me from the beginning was its improvisational nature, in the sense that if we are to promote children´s self-direction, as Ayres proposed, we need to constantly read their cues, (verbal or not, obvious or more subtle), and respond to them on the spot with the support of theory.

    I have been puzzled by the fact that, although Ayres clearly stressed that the power of sensory integration intervention depended on children’s integrating their own brain, we were not explicitly trained in the promotion of self-direction. Moreover, as I moved around the world and had the opportunity to see my colleagues work, I noticed a tendency to structure and direct the therapy sessions.

    Two main questions arose in my mind: First, where did Ayres´ ideas on the need for therapy being child centred come from? And second, how do we promote self-direction in children? Even more, can those skills be taught? Or you either “have” them or not?

    I started by asking my mentors and leaders in the field about these issues, and I obtained a variety of answers.  I heard that the core ideas were a reflection of Dr. Ayres´ personal nature and believes, and also that therapists just acquire those abilities with time and practice.  Therefore, there was no source, and we needed to wait for time to pass. My curiosity still remained unfulfilled.

    For several years I continued to ask these questions from any scholar in the field I had the chance to meet, as I was growing ever more convinced of the need to find a satisfactory answer. I was guided by some of our leaders towards humanistic psychology and the basic principles of promoting self-determination.  And I found a group of solid ideas to answer the why and the how of my questions.

    So the ideas for this workshop grew out of my own professional inquiry, from conversations with the leaders in the field, and from a thorough literature review.  As I started sharing them in different venues, from professional conferences, courses or conversations with colleagues, I realized that other therapists were interested in learning to be more artful in their practice.

    What is different about the course?

    This course will take participants to reflect on this less frequently addressed aspects of practice.

    It will offer a strong theoretical support for them, but it will also offer opportunities for self-reflection, discussion, experimentation and play as we develop skills.

    We will learn together as a group, and we will work together on the development of our own questions about the way we practice, and towards answering those questions.

    Specifically, the course will offer opportunities to practice different ways of using ourselves as therapeutic tools to convey the message and promote the opportunity for self-direction.

  • 05 Apr 2017 22:18 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is with great sadness that we inform you of our friend and esteemed colleague Elizabeth Fairgrieve's passing. Elizabeth was a true pioneer and leader of Sensory work within the UK. Many of us last saw her at our European Congress in Birmingham 2015 which we reported on in SensorNet

    For any further details please contact us on

  • 02 Apr 2017 17:24 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This weekend Carolyn Murray-Slutsky, one of our international lecturers and critical friends, received her AOTA Fellow Award at the 2017 annual conference and centennial celebrations in Philadelphia. Congratulations Carolyn from all of us at the SI Network.

    We are all looking forward to Carolyn's next visit to the UK in September 2018, when she will be delivering more world class courses for our members. You can read more about Carolyn and her work in the latest edition of SensorNet.

  • 01 Apr 2017 11:41 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jump, Hop and Skip into Spring

    When I think of spring, my immediate thought is of taking my children to see the baby animals at our local farm. My daughter’s favourites are the hopping baby rabbits and my son loves to feed the lambs who are still wobbling around finding their feet. So taking the baby animals as my inspiration, in this edition we are focussing on balance! 

    There is a ‘just right’ challenge for everybody’s balance, whether you are working on sitting balance with a non ambulant patient, back wheel balancing with a wheelchair user or watching a gymnast complete a double backflip on a beam. Our sense of balance is important for our everyday functioning and our health and wellbeing. And this link between balance and health has long been emphasised not only by the medical professional but also through complementary therapy practices such as yoga and tai chi. So I encourage you all to balance, wobble, hop, skip and jump your way into April!    

    Nikki White, Lead Editor

    Click here to read our free EmphaSIze newsletter - no need to log in.

  • 29 Mar 2017 22:44 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Middle England Regional Group was set up by Occupational Therapist, Fiona Easom and her colleague Christine Galbraith to share ideas and best practise with other professionals in the area.

    Since Christine has moved to New Zealand, Fiona has taken the reigns as leader of the group – a role which she juggles with her full-time OT role.

    The group has a large contact list that comprises a host of professionals with different backgrounds including those from the NHS, Independent Schools, Physiotherapists and independent OTs.

    This month the meeting will take place at Ash Green, the adult learning disability centre in Chesterfield, in their dedicated SI room. 

    As Fiona explains, “This will be a great practical session.  People will come along and discuss new ideas and ways of working with suspended and other equipment for therapy.  We will also give participants the chance to bring along their favourite piece of equipment – and show others how they use it.”

    With such a vibrant mix of participants, there is bound to be lots of ideas sharing and collaboration.

    Fiona is keen to encourage new members.  “We are a small and friendly group, attracting around 8 – 11 participants at each session.  We would welcome anyone with an interest in SI to join us.”

    The next SI Middle England Group meeting at Ash Green, Ashgate Road, Chesterfield. S42 7JE on Wednesday 26th of April from 1pm to 4pm. 

    If you would like to find out more, or attend the group, please contact Fiona Easom on

  • 29 Mar 2017 14:34 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is a 2-day course looking at the sensory development of babies from conception up to the age of 2 years.

    • Date: 2-3 October 2017
    • Venue: London
    • Fee: £370 for members (Payment plan available)

    This course is suitable for all occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, doctors, nurses and early educators who are interested in sensory development with a particular focus on the preterm population.

    • To introduce EI-SMART, an early intervention model developed for those working with babies.
    • To provide an understanding of sensory development – sequential development from conception to 2 years (1001 critical days).
    • To provide an overview of behavioural cues and the language of the newborn.
    • To explore co-regulation leading to self-regulation.
    • To provide an overview of the theory of attachment and attunement.
    • To explore baby occupations understood through the senses: Eat, Sleep and Play.
    • To discuss causes of atypical development both environmental and neurological from a sensory perspective.

    Lecturer, Emily Hills Bsc (Hons), is a Clinical Specialised Occupational Therapist currently working in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), within a general hospital. She is passionate about family-centred care and creating the optimal sensory environment for the preterm baby and their family.

    Emily has completed both her Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale and Newborn Behavioural Observation certification and is an Advanced Practitioner in Sensory Integration (SI). 

  • 23 Mar 2017 23:18 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Research Study Recruitment

    I am Stephanie Hunt, an Occupational Therapist and MSc Student and I am undertaking research to identify the factors that influence an Occupational Therapist’s treatment strategy when addressing emotional regulation difficulties in children with ASD.

    I am currently seeking Occupational Therapists who work with children and young people with ASD. The research involves the completion of an online survey expected to take no longer than 15 minutes to complete online.

    If you would like to participate please read the ‘participant information information’ below and use the link provided to complete the online survey. Your completion of the survey will be considered as you giving your consent to participate in the study.

    You do not have to respond if you are not interested in this study.  If you do not respond, no one will contact you, but you may receive another email which you can simply disregard. 

    Thank you.

    Kind regards

    Stephanie Hunt

    Occupational Therapist


    Participant information 

    Thank you for taking an interest in this study.

    The study is intended to determine what influences an Occupational Therapist’s treatment programme when addressing emotional regulation difficulties in children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). This study is being conducted as part of MSc research project at the Ulster University. Please read the following information before you decide whether to take part. If after reading you have any questions, please contact me via the details provided at the end of this sheet.

    Title of study

    What factors influence an Occupational Therapist’s treatment strategy when addressing emotional regulation difficulties in children with ASD?

    Why is the research being done?

    There is increasing pressure for Occupational Therapists to use evidence based practice, measure outcomes and ensure cost effectiveness when delivering their services. Yet for Occupational Therapists who work with children and young people with ASD, there is limited research regarding which interventions are most effective in terms of benefits derived by the child or young person and the associated costs to the commissioning organisation. The autistic spectrum encompasses a wide variety of additional needs, encompassing children with and without learning difficulties. Consequently, a knowledge and understanding of which strategies are most suitable for children and young people with ASD can be challenging, particularly for a therapist who is unfamiliar with this specific area of practice.

    What are the benefits of this research?

    This project will help to determine what influences Occupational Therapists when deciding on treatment strategies to address emotional regulation difficulties in children and young people with ASD.

    Who should participate in the study?

    Occupational Therapists who currently work with children and young people with ASD.

    Do you have to take part in this research?

    No, you are under no obligation to take part in this study.

    What will be required of me?

    This study will require you to complete an online survey; your completion of the survey will be taken as your consent to participate. It is anticipated that the survey will take up to 15 minutes to complete.

    How will I use the information?

    Results will be analysed and included into an MSc research project with Ulster University. Results may be presented in an Occupational Therapy journal however publications will not identify any individual or organisation. I would be pleased to email you the findings of my research upon completion please contact me via the email address below if this is something you would like.

    Are there any risks?

    It is not anticipated that individuals will experience any risk from taking part in the research.

    Will my details be kept private?

    Yes, information that you give will remain anonymous. You are not required to give your name or any other identifying information in the research.

    All data will be collected and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

    What happens next?

    If you would like to participate please use the link provided to complete the online survey. Your completion of the survey will be considered as you giving your consent to participate in the study. Once you have completed the survey you are unable to withdraw the information that you have provided.

    Thank you for reading this information sheet,

    Contact for further information

    Name: Stephanie Hunt (Occupational Therapist and MSc Student)


    Independent Contact

    Name: Mary Hannon-Fletcher (Project Supervisor)

    Head of School, Health Sciences

    Ulster University, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, BT37 0QB


  • 23 Mar 2017 15:09 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The latest issue of SensorNet is now available. 

    Please login to our website and access it here.

    Please let your friends and colleagues know that they can join the SI Network for FREE to access SensorNet magazine, our monthly EmphaSIze newsletter plus lots more resources.

    Some of the features in this Spring edition of SensorNet edition include:

    • The Big Interview – Carolyn Murray Slutsky talks to SensorNet about her career to date and her recent AOTA award.
    • Practice Based Feature: Ruth Vickerstaff tells SensorNet about the positive impact the SI Network in-house training has had within her workplace – (a mental health setting).
    • SI practitioners in action – Gina Daly and Claire Stokes, Paediatric Occupational Therapists, explain how specialist training in Sensory Integration can be used in clinical practice.
    • Sensory Integration online learning –The recent developments from SI 1 online are detailed.
    • SI Network Student Research - Aine Henry, shares her MSc Sensory Integration research project with SensorNet.
    • Lecture Notes – Yolanda Artiga, a parent of a child with Sensory Modulation Disorder shares her learning experience from the SI Network “Introduction to Sensory Integration Difficulties” course.
    • SI Network out and About – Where to watch out for us over the coming months
    • Research support committee update – read more about how the SI Network can support your research
    • Research updates - References and abstracts for recent articles related to sensory processing and neuroscience.
    • Also 10% discount for Silver and Gold members from Rompa and Southpaw for purchases made until the end of June!

    Thank you to all our contributors for this edition.

  • 13 Mar 2017 22:21 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you a Clinician?

    Would you like to help a study being undertaken collaboratively between researchers at Coventry University and Oxford Brookes University and which is being supported by the SI Network?

    Study Title: Validation of the Little Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire – UK Version & Cross-Cultural Comparison of Motor Function in Pre-School Children

    The study intends to:

    • develop a valid and reliable version of a questionnaire to screen pre-school UK children for movement difficulties
    • compare motor function of pre-school children across cultures
    • facilitate an improved understanding of the relationships between sensory and behavioural factors on the motor function of young children

    Please see here for more information.

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