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 News and Updates

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  • 17 Oct 2019 13:58 | SIE News (Administrator)

    We are delighted to host paediatric occupational therapist Emma Jerman, who will be sharing her knowledge of Aquatic SI and Attachment Play in Water at the Sensory Integration Education Autumn Conference in Birmingham, UK (16 November 2019).

    Emma is an experienced occupational therapist and accredited Advanced SI Practitioner. She has additionally completed Halliwick Aquatic Therapy Training and works with children with a range of disabilities, as well as looked-after children and newly adopted children with their new parents and carers.

    Delegates at the SIE Autumn Conference will hear how Emma employs both the principles of sensory integration therapy and sensory attachment therapy within the pool setting. The pool offers extra sensory properties that may not be replicable on land, with the water offering 30 times more pressure than air and providing a unique full-body pressure experience that many clients find calming and organising. Moving around in the water also creates controlled vestibular stimulation and provides opportunities for working on enhanced proprioceptive and tactile feedback.

    Research continues to support the concept that water is an ideal medium in which to rehabilitate the body, as well as develop oral motor and breathing control. Aquatic SI therapy focuses on therapeutic, play-based functional activities in water, that can help with many areas of difficulties associated with sensory integration or processing. Why not come along to this event to listen to her speak?

    See the full conference programme here with details of how to book your place.

  • 17 Oct 2019 11:45 | SIE News (Administrator)

    A: There is a clear relationship between ADHD and poor sleep. Individuals with ADHD often experience difficulties with falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up in the morning.

    The website Understood lists the following tendencies amongst children with ADHD that can stop them from getting a good night’s sleep:

    • Difficulties with self-regulation can stop children with ADHD from moving from ‘active mode’ to ‘wind-down mode’ at the end of the day
    • Children with ADHD can be more prone to nightmares, bedwetting and sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome
    • Tasks, such as homework, may have been put off until the last minute, creating a hectic evening
    • Teenagers with ADHD may report feeling more productive during quiet nighttime hours and so can easily fall into the habit of staying up too late too often
    • Many children with ADHD also have anxiety problems. Their anxious feelings can emerge at night when there are fewer activities to distract them. This causes them to have trouble falling or staying asleep

    Here are some tips on supporting the sleeping pattern of your child with ADHD:

    Keep track of your child’s sleep patterns

    By monitoring your child’s individual sleep patterns, feeling tired during the day, etc, you may be able to spot specific triggers.

    Encourage physical activity after school

    Whether it’s sports, physical play, sensory-based play or an active hobby, getting enough exercise contributes to better sleeping habits. Be sure that you leave enough time after physical activities to allow the body to calm down before beginning the bedtime routine.

    Help your child plan and prioritise homework tasks

    The team at Understood suggest using checklists for homework to help your child keep on top of their homework and complete it well before bedtime.

    Create and maintain a bedtime routine

    This appears like an obvious idea, however, it is very successful when put in place effectively. A consistent routine assists in prompting the brain to feel relaxed and ready for sleep. A sleep routine includes getting ready in sleepwear, going to bed at typically the same time each weeknight, doing a calming, wind-down activity and then bedtime. Some children find bedtime checklists helpful.

    Maintain a consistent bedtime

    In her guide on improving sleep for children with ADHD, OT Alescia Ford-Lanza recommends keeping bedtime within a half hour time period each night. For example, setting bedtime between 9 and 9:30pm each night (or whatever is appropriate to your child) gives some room for flexibility but maintains the routine, which is critical.

    Limit screen time

    Set limits on how late your child is allowed to use a screen. There are concerns that the blue light emitted from screens on phones and tablets can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin.

    Find a calming strategy that works for your child

    Calming strategies are a supportive way to enable your body to relax and settle before sleep. Everyone will have their own activity that works for them, for example, taking a warm bath, reading, listening to calming music, etc.

    Avoid caffeine

    Avoid food and drink that contains caffeine (eg, chocolate) as far as possible and particularly from the late afternoon onwards.

    Consider the sensory experience of the environment

    Environmental modification can support your child’s sleep. This can include using blackout blinds to keep the bedroom dark; using a white noise machine to block out distracting sounds; using a thermostat to steady the room temperature; perhaps using a weighted blanket or heavier blankets at the foot of the bed, etc . These preferences will be individual to your child’s preferences.

    Include any sleep problems when discussing your child’s diagnosis with their doctor or therapist. This is where your notes on your child’s sleeping and waking habits will be very useful.

  • 11 Oct 2019 11:07 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Would you like to learn more about the shared ground of yoga and sensory integration therapy? And how yoga poses and exercises can complement SI therapy to help improve the lives of children with difficulties with sensory processing and integration? We’re thrilled to have Mel Campbell, Occupational Therapist and an Advanced SI Practitioner speaking on this topic at the Sensory Integration Education Autumn Conference in Birmingham, UK (16 November 2019).

    Mel Campbell has been an Occupational Therapist for over 20 years. During her journey, she took some time out to bring up her children and found herself studying yoga as a way of developing her own self-practice. This led her to becoming a teacher in yoga.

    Returning to her profession as an OT after her break, she found herself drawn to the study of sensory integration. She has always been interested in neurology and fascinated by the brain and this approach seemed to make so much sense to her. The more she studied the theory of sensory integration, the more she found her two worlds of being a yoga teacher and an advanced sensory integration practitioner merging.

    Mel has completed Sensory Integration Education’s MSc in Sensory Integration with Ulster University and chose “Exploring Yoga as a Sensory Based Intervention for Children with Sensory Processing Difficulties: A Systematic Literature Review” for her MSc dissertation topic

    She is also a published author of the book “The Yoga of Pregnancy” and has created a Sensory Processing Yoga DVD which shows yoga techniques for alerting, calming, motor planning, postural stability, breathing and guided relaxation.

    See the full conference programme here with details of how to book your place.

  • 30 Sep 2019 16:13 | SIE Support (Administrator)

    As Sensory Integration Education’s SI practitioner training pathway is accredited by Ulster University, the SIE/Ulster Education team have been given early access to Sensory Integration Theory and Practice, 3rd Edition. We are privileged and very excited to be able to review this long-awaited book for our students ahead of general UK publication on 30th October. Here is a brief snapshot of our initial impressions:

    • The book aims to capture the evolution of SI theory and practice since the 2nd edition was published in 2002.
    • It recognises that “changing the brain matters, but only if those changes contribute to making everyday life easier and more meaningful”, and so it gives greater focus to SI in everyday life than previous editions.
    • It sets out to clarify the terminology associated with SI and the principles of intervention.
    • A new chapter traces the history and journey of SI from Dr Jean Ayres to the present and two new chapters are devoted to the evidence base.
    • The chapters on praxis and sensory modulation have been expanded, as has the chapter on the structure and function of the sensory systems. This includes a new section on interoception.
    • Sensory discrimination is now discussed in a separate chapter.
    • The assessment section reintroduces a chapter on the SIPT and includes chapters on clinical observations and assessing without the SIPT, as well as an updated and expanded chapter on interpreting test results.
    • In the intervention section SI therapy is labelled as ‘a direct intervention with particular characteristics” and a new chapter is included to discuss the Fidelity Measure and also the STEP-SI and A SECRET models.
    • Chapters on the art and science of sensory integration therapy have been retained and extensively updated.
    • New chapters on coaching and looking at intervention through different lenses have been added.
    • The chapter on sensory-based interventions has been retained and updated extensively.
    • The question of whether SI therapy is effective theory is considered throughout the text and we are reminded that researchers who only consider the “science” of SI and not the “art” of SI as well are failing to test the effectiveness of the intervention approach.

    We can see that the new book is rich in case study examples and also includes some lovely new features including “Here’s the Point”, “Here’s the Evidence” and “Where Can I Find More?” summaries.

    We can’t wait to explore the text further and will share our updates with you as we do. Aimed at therapists, this is definitely a book we would recommend.

    Lelanie Brewer, Head of Education Programmes and Cathy Maguire, Lead Module e-Mentor

    Win A Copy Of SI Theory And Practice 3rd Edition At Our Autumn Conference Prize Draw!

    As part of our Silver Jubilee Celebrations we are offering the opportunity to win a free copy of the long-awaited SI Theory and Practice 3rd Edition to anyone who attends our 2019 Autumn Conference. The Prize Draw will take place at the event along with other exciting celebrations to mark this very special occasion. Book your place now to enter the draw.

  • 27 Sep 2019 12:21 | SIE News (Administrator)

    A: Children with sensory issues often need extra help to learn to ride a bike as it involves quickly planning and carrying out movements on an unstable bike. There could be several reasons your daughter is finding cycling challenging: she may experience gravitational insecurity, poor balance, or may have motor co-ordination difficulties associated with sensory integration difficulties. A qualified sensory integration therapist would be able assess and explore with you exactly what is contributing to your daughter’s difficulties and what to work on.

    Other simple ways you can help are:

    • Introduce a simpler piece of equipment such as a balance bike or a 3-wheeled scooter. These are more stable so she will feel more grounded but will still practice the necessary bilateral movements which will help her when she is ready to move onto something less stable.
    • Encourage her to try equipment in playgrounds where her feet come off the ground, eg, swings, zip lines, fireman’s pole, monkey bars, etc. If you can, model feeling nervous and giving it a try yourself so she can see what to do. You can also grade the activity, eg, cross just one monkey bar or go halfway on the zip line first, to ensure she gets a sense of achievement and she’s motivated to have another go.
    • When she’s ready to try the bike again, make any adjustments relevant to her needs, eg, replace the saddle with a bigger one that is more padded or covered in a different textured material. Until she’s more confident, reduce the height of the seat so her feet can be flat on the ground when standing.
    • Try breaking down the skill of cycling into steps. You could initially remove the pedals and use it as a balance bike while she gets used to the sensation of balancing. Then get her to use the brakes to slow and stop the bike before putting her feet down. Then introduce steering. When you reintroduce the pedals, get her to put her feet on them whilst you push the bike so she can get used the movements and sensations.
    • Focus on and celebrate all the small achievements she makes, eg, “Wow, you went really fast on you scooter today!”, so she can build up her confidence. When you feel she is ready for something a little more challenging involve her in discussing it and deciding what to try next.
    • Be patient and don’t pressure her: there’s no rush.

    Good luck!

    Have you got an SI question for us related to ADHD? Drop us an email and your question could feature in the next edition of EmphaSIze.

  • 26 Sep 2019 13:47 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Physiotherapist at a not-for-profit physio-led organisation promoting good physical and mental health

    “Hello, I'm Colette, a physiotherapist living in Manchester, UK.

    Prevention has always been important to me, and a number of years ago I set up a charity to encourage people in my community to be more physically active for better physical and mental health. I soon realised that many of the children in the schools I was working with found being physically active a challenge because of sensory difficulties and that, to support them, I needed to expand my learning and skills. I began studying SI Module 1 but didn’t really plan on taking my learning any further. Once I started, though, I couldn’t wait to learn more.

    It was a completely new way of looking at things, that made my head hurt a lot (and still does!) but transformed my thinking and practice. I’ve just recently finished SI Module 3 and I’m really excited to begin my journey as an ASI practitioner. I’m learning so much that impacts my work every day.

    My original goal around prevention has taken a different turn, but I feel that I’m working so much more effectively now. Of course, being physically active is still a huge part of my work, but I have a much broader view of what it is I’m working to prevent. We run a programme with 2-5-year-olds and their families (in local schools and Sure Start centres) where we play games and talk about how movement supports the children’s development. Working from an SI perspective has added to these sessions, making them more meaningful to the children and their families.

    We’ve also recently been awarded a grant to work with families during the first 1,001 days of a child’s life. I’m really excited to be able to incorporate my SI knowledge to support families during this precious time and begin prevention at the earliest possible point. I still feel like I’ve got so much to learn and so I’m looking forward to continuing my learning journey with SI Module 4 next year."

  • 17 Sep 2019 11:31 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Somatodyspraxia is when a person has problems with praxis AND problems with processing input from the tactile and proprioceptive senses… but what does this mean?

    Let’s look at some definitions first.

    Praxis is how our brain plans for and carries out movements or activities that are new to us or that we have not done before.

    Tactile sensation refers to our sense of touch, specifically the information received from varying pressure or vibration against our skin.

    Proprioception is our ability to sense the orientation of our body in the environment. Our muscles and joints have tiny proprioceptive sensory receptors that tell our brain where our body parts are. Your brain then uses this information to plan movements so that you can coordinate your body.

    Dyspraxia or motor planning problems are terms used when an individual has praxis problems. Dyspraxia can make movements appear awkward or clumsy.

    Dr Jean Ayres, who developed the theory of sensory integration, identified two types of praxis difficulties associated with underlying sensory issues:

    • somatodyspraxia; and
    • visuodyspraxia (problem with praxis and visual processing).

    So, according to Ayres, the term somatodyspraxia describes dyspraxia (difficulties with conceptualising, planning and executing motor actions) that is associated with poor tactile (touch) and proprioceptive (body position awareness) perception and discrimination.

    Individuals with somatodyspraxia have decreased body awareness and ability to grade their force appropriately on an object. They may struggle with new (as opposed to habitual) motor tasks but, once learnt, they can perform these tasks with adequate skill. Transitioning from one position to another, or performing a sequence of actions, can be very challenging. Some children with somatodyspraxia can also have problems with oral praxis, which can affect speech and eating.

    Somatodyspraxia can impact on the accuracy of a person’s performance and their confidence to perform everyday activities such as dressing, eating, using cutlery, handwriting, typing, playing with toys, ball games, riding a scooter or bike.

    Check out the ‘Praxis Problems’ section on pages 349-350 of Occupational Therapy for Children for more information.

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

    For many people, small adjustments to their environment or the way they are allowed to move at work or school can make a huge difference to how they manage their day-to-day life. Assessment and treatment of sensory integration difficulties should only be carried out by a qualified therapist. Ayres' Sensory Integration intervention (ASI) is a term used to describe intervention developed by Ayres to improve or develop sensory integration for children and adults with sensory integration difficulties. Therapists need specific training to understand the complex reasoning underpinning this therapy.

  • 13 Sep 2019 11:00 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Visuodyspraxia is when a person has problems with praxis and visual processing.... but what does that mean?

    Visual processing refers to the brain's ability to use and interpret visual information from the world around us.

    Praxis is how our brain plans for and carries out movements or activities that are new to us or that we have not done before. For children, this could be learning to jump or ride a bike; for adults, this could be learning to drive or use chopsticks. 

    Dyspraxia or motor planning problems are terms used when an individual has praxis problems. Dyspraxia can make movements appear awkward or clumsy.

    Dr Jean Ayres, who developed the theory of sensory integration, identified two types of praxis difficulties associated with underlying sensory issues:

    • somatodyspraxia; and
    • visuodyspraxia.

    Visuodyspraxia, (verified in studies as recently as 2014),  describes when difficulties with visual perception and discrimination impact on a person’s ability to to plan and organise what to do and when to do it.

    People with visuodyspraxia can have difficulty with eye-hand movements, such as ball games; difficulty with positioning self in relation to objects, such as steps or chairs; and difficulty with calculating the speed of their movements relative to other moving objects, eg, other people, balls during a ball game, etc.

    Chapter 6 of Frames of Reference for Pediatric Occupational Therapy is a good resource to find out more information, especially table 4 (pages 111-112) which lists the functions of the visual system as well as indications of dysfunctions.

    For many people, small adjustments to their environment or the way they are allowed to move at work or school can make a huge difference to how they manage their day-to-day life.  Assessment and treatment of sensory integration difficulties should only be carried out by a qualified therapist.  Ayres' Sensory Integration intervention (ASI) is a term used to describe intervention developed by Ayres to improve or develop sensory integration for children and adults with sensory integration difficulties. Therapists need specific training to understand the complex reasoning underpinning this therapy.

  • 01 Sep 2019 21:40 | SIE Support (Administrator)

    EmphaSIze Newsletter September 2019: SI Therapy in Non-Clinical Settings

    Hello {Contact_First_Name}

    Over the past few weeks, we've been looking at how sensory integration therapy is delivered outside of a clinical setting, and also environments where sensory integration difficulties can cause challenges... along with some solutions. Here's a round up of our most popular articles, blogs, links and research studies.

    Looking ahead to later in September, you might want to participate in two awareness-raising events: World Physiotherapy Day is on 8 September, and from 15 to 21 September, it's Balance Awareness Week 2019.

    Best wishes

    EmphaSIze Team

    PS. A reminder that the latest SIE SensorNet magazine is out now.

    If you prefer to read EmphaSIze in your browser, click here. (No need to log in.)

      SI News  

    Attending university with sensory integration difficulties

    Changes employers can make to accommodate staff with sensory integration difficulties

    Have you heard about the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme?

    Sensory Integration Education Autumn Conference 2019

    Are you part of the SI conversation?

    Could you be our next Meet a Member?

    Sensory Integration and Balance

    Autism Hour: can you get more businesses on board?


    Sensory Modulation for People with Anxiety in a Community Mental Health Setting

    Effects of Sensory Processing Patterns on Social Skills and Problem Behaviors

    The Effects of Sensory Diets on Children’s Classroom Behaviors

    Occupational Therapy for Children and Youth Using Sensory Integration Theory and Methods in School-Based Practice

    Q: How can I make the transition from one season to the next more bearable for my child?

      International Events  

    ISIC 2019: 12 - 13 October 2019, Hong Kong
    ISIC 2020: 15 - 18 July 2020, California, USA


    Applying SI Therapy Principles with Older Adults

    Date: 9am to 5pm, 16 Sep 2019

    Venue: London

    Participants: Open to all

    Fee: £189.05 Early Bird

    Postgraduate Certificate in SI

    This is your core qualification if you wish to practise as a sensory integration practitioner. After successfully passing all three of the constituent modules, you will gain:

    • Knowledge and skills which cohere with those identified at practitioner level in the proposed ICEASI framework
    • SIE SI Practitioner status, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Integration accredited by the UK’s Ulster University.

    Total fee: £2699. 12-month interest-free payment plans available.


    Sensory Like You

    The Out of Sync Child Has Fun

    Arnie and His School Tools: Simple Sensory Solutions That Build Success


    Park Swings: 4 Ways To Use Them Therapeutically

    SPD explained and simplified

    How to explain sensory processing issues to friends and family

    How to create a sensory story



    Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street


    Splash Swim Goggles

    Colour Changing Light Up Shower Head

    Coogam Stretchy String Sensory Toys


    Looking for a career change? See our latest Job listings.
    Are you looking to recruit an SI professional? Post your vacancy from only £169.

      Share Your News  

    PS. Do you have a great piece of news that you’d like to share? Or an app, product, book or article that you’ve been impressed with? Let us know by email at support@sensoryintegration.org.uk.


    Old Breedon School, 8 Reading Road, Pangbourne, RG8 7LY, United Kingdom
    SI Network (UK and Ireland) Ltd trading as Sensory Integration Education
    Company registration no: 05068304

  • 22 Aug 2019 12:14 | SIE News (Administrator)

    A: Changes in season mean a change in clothing, daylight hours, temperature, routines, etc, which can be challenging for individuals with difficulties with sensory integration or sensory processing, and co-existing diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Here are some strategies for helping your child manage these changes:

    Strategies for changing times and routines due to changes in daylight hours

    • Gradually segue into the new time by, for example, making bedtime 15 minutes earlier for a few weeks.
    • Share a social story (factual, pictorial step-by-step walk through) with your child about the change in time or daylight hours.
    • Create a positive bedtime routine, introducing powering down of electronics an hour before bed and creating a calm, restful environment.
    • Use a visual schedule to remind and reassure your child of the bedtime routine elements
    • Provide tactile input to support calming in the form of favourite teddy, blanket, pillow, etc.
    • Recognise that tired individuals may appear hyperactive and silly and may even get a second-wind after being tired. Allow extra time to wind down.

    Changing clothing to match weather change:

    Changing clothing type and weight to suit the new season can be distressing for some children, particularly if they are significantly sensitive to touch/tactile input.

    • Listen to and respect your child’s preferences on fabric types, no seams or tags, etc.
    • Help prepare sensitive skin for heavier clothing on arms and legs which have been bare during the warmer months. Strategies could include body brushing, lotions, and massaging the arms and legs.
    • Think about how to make the change in the type of clothing in small steps, for example, offer a soft warm sweatshirt in addition to a t-shirt rather than moving immediately to a single heavier-weight top. Or move from shorts to soft tracksuit bottoms (sweatpants) if possible, rather than direct to long trousers made from stiffer fabric.
    • Introduce more weather-proof shoes in short spurts rather than an immediate transition.
    • Reduce stress in the morning by agreeing an outfit the night before.
    • Changes in clothing type can also present challenges in dressing for children with difficulties with fine motor skills and praxis. Practise these skills and make accommodations where appropriate, for example, poppers instead of buttons, velcro instead of laces, loose clothing that can easily be slipped on and off, etc.

    You can find more detailed advice in this article by OT, Kristi Jordan (OTR), at the Indiana Resource Centre for Autism. 

    Also, this is a very enlightening blog from an adult with ASD on their experience of coping with the changing seasons and temperatures which might help you understand your child’s experience.

    Have you got an SI question for us related to balance? Drop us an email and your question could feature in the October edition of EmphaSIze.

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Sensory Integration Education, Old Breedon School, 8 Reading Road, Pangbourne, RG8 7LY, UK


We are a not for profit organisation. SI Network (UK & Ireland) Ltd trading as Sensory Integration Education. Established 1994.

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