SI News and Updates

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  • 16 Jun 2017 20:34 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    West Midlands SI Group

    Contact: Marion Rogerson

    Alison Double – Co-chair of the West Midlands Sensory Integration network group and Senior Lecturer on the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy at the Institute of Health and Society, University of Worcester, is presenting her Case Study (about the Treatment of a child with Sensory Integration Disorder) written for her Level 4 (Advanced Treatment) Sensory Integration Practitioner qualification. 

    When: Monday 26th June 2017

    Time: From 7pm for tea, coffee, nibbles and networking – the presentation will start at 7.30pm.

    Where: Elmfield School Gym, 14 Love Lane, Stourbridge, DY8 2EA.

    Price: £3 per person – this will pay for the hall rental and refreshments.

    RSVP: If you would like to attend please can you let us know asap, and at the latest by 10th June, so we can ensure appropriate refreshments are available.

    We do hope you will be able to attend.

    Devon and Cornwall SI Group

    Contact: Simon Curtis

    Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Enfield SI Group

    Contact: Fiona Taylor or Sandi O'Neill 
    Meetings are held three monthly in Hatfield. Although hosted by Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust, the group is open to any professionals with an interest in Sensory Integration working with adults. Members work with adults with Learning disabilities, mental health and within Older Peoples services.

    Middle England SI Group

    Contact: Fiona Easom

    South Wales and West SI Group

    Contact: Beverley Williams

    North East SI Group

    Contact: Belinda Allman

    The group's focus is Adults; CAMHS; Community; In-patient; Learning Disability; Mental Health

    North West SI Group

    Contact: Sara Kennard

    South Coast SI Group

    Contact: Neil Catty or Helen Nunn

    A welcoming group who meets four times a year to discuss topics related to Sensory Integration, discuss cases, share resources, and look at research or developments in practice. We also host an away day once a year. Anyone welcome with an interest in Sensory Integration. 

  • 08 Jun 2017 19:18 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Don't miss the latest edition of EmphaSIze. Win a £25 Amazon voucher for the best SI tip/resource!

    The best answer to this month's question will also win a £25 voucher!

    Q: “I'm an OT within a children and adolescents Mental Health service and am coming across some complex children many of which seem to be encountering sensory difficulties. A particular case is one where I am thinking it is interoception / prop difficulties?

    These young people are having difficulty recognising when they need to empty their bowels resulting in lots of embarrassing accidents. Some however like the feeling of it and can sometimes have meltdowns when parents are trying to clean them up. Some creative ideas on how I could help would be wonderful.” Louise, Northumberland.

    A: Answer the above question by the 15th of each month and the best reply will win a £25 Amazon voucher.

  • 26 May 2017 14:36 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Over the last month, the SI Network has welcomed students from all over the world into our online SI Module 1 community.

    This month, we spoke to Stephanie Azzopardi from Malta.  Stephanie is one of 3 students from Malta, who decided to embark on the SI Module 1 journey together.  We caught up with her to hear more about her background and her experience of the course so far! 

    What is your professional background?

    I graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Occupational Therapy with the University of Malta. Just before my graduation, I participated in a three-month internship with Coventry University where I was working as an Occupational Therapy trainee in a community development setting. Following my graduation, I started working in a private paediatric clinic in Malta. I have been working in this setting for almost a year now, during which I became increasingly interested in children's sensory processing and decided to enrol for Module 1 of the SI course to enhance my knowledge for practice.

    What are your professional areas of interest?

    The work of an occupational therapist has always been close to my heart. However I have developed a soft spot for the occupational therapist's work with children and young adults, particularly when working on sensory processing as well as social, behavioural and emotional difficulties. I intend to enrol for a Master's degree in either sensory integration or social and emotional difficulties depending on how SI Module 1 of the SI course goes!

    How did you find out about the online SI Module 1 course?

    I found out from my employer and colleagues who had initially sparked my interest in the course. We soon decided to enrol and go through the experience together to support each other :)

    What has been the most valuable aspect of the course so far?

    I love that I can go through the slides at my own pace and I also love how well-explained each unit is both verbally and diagrammatically. It has been excellent that we have the opportunity to brush up on our knowledge on neuroscience before we move on to sensory processing. In that way we are truly linking theory to practice. This will also help us when we will need to explain our work to our clients so that it will not just make sense in the heads of us occupational therapists, but also to those without an occupational therapist background.

  • 25 May 2017 13:57 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year, the theme of the 52nd AOTI Conference was “Looking Back, Moving Forward.” The conference certainly delivered on this theme looking at the changes of the OT Profession over the last 5 decades whilst offering the opportunity to learn about lesser known equipment and therapies. 

    Gina Daly and Natalie Power represented the SI Network at the event – listening to the presentations, speaking to delegates from the their exhibition stand and visiting other exhibitors.

    The Keynote speech was delivered by Mary Barrett who spoke about changes to the OT profession but also about the “privilege of therapy” – working with people during times of crisis, change or transition.

    Lesser known therapies were also introduced to the audience including
    Hippotherapy for children with disabilities, which was presented by Sarah Beasley, Occupational Therapist and owner of “Strides”, a private occupational therapy clinic.  Hippotherapy utilises equine movement as part of an integrated intervention programme to achieve functional outcomes. The horse is used as a therapy tool to obtain intensive sensory input. Much of the equine movement relates back to sensory integration principles. 

    Away from the main presentations, was a display of research posters – allowing delegates to read about current research projects.  These included the work of Aine Henry, MSc in SI.  Her research looked at primary school teachers’ experiences of teaching children with sensory processing difficulties.

    Several other research posters were displayed which focused on the sensory processing theme also.

    Finally, the AOTI announced that their Journal, The Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy (IJOT) would be launched online.  Two editions per year will be published.  If you are interested in contributing, submissions can be made here.  Details on submitting are available here.

    The SI Network would like to thank the AOTI committee for organising the Conference and look forward to taking part again next year.

  • 19 May 2017 10:49 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This 1 day course will offer an introduction to sensory integration and its application and links to developmental trauma / early childhood trauma, which can include; early loss or lack or consistent caregiver, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, various forms of neglect and medical or life-saving procedures.

    Consequences of trauma are varied and the area of sensory processing and trauma is gaining increased attention with the work of leaders in the field such as Eadaoin Bhreathnach and Jane Koomar.

    Trauma and sensory integration issues are deeply entwined, but by assisting survivors of trauma and their caregivers to understand and manage their sensory processing challenges a positive effect on the impact of trauma can be achieved.

    Date: 16th October 2017

    Venue: Birmingham

    Fee: £185 for Gold/Silver members

    Audience: Open to all

    More information and online booking

  • 13 May 2017 10:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Looking for a new challenge? Check out the latest vacancies on the SI Network Job Board.

  • 01 May 2017 11:51 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Let’s Create a Sharing Network (and win £25!)

    Welcome to what is arguably the best month of the year so far. Two Bank Holiday weekends and two chances to win £25 for sharing tips and answering reader questions in our new regular EmphaSIze sections. The SI Network are also launching SI Module 1 as an online programme on the 1st May 2017, making SI training even more accessible.

    Nikki and I are really looking forward to reading your questions, answers and tips, so click the links to send them though.

    Happy reading,

    Kate Bradley

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

  • 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 2017 European Sensory Integration Congress (ESIC) to present their research findings and hear from other world-leading SI practitioners.   

    Now in its 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 Sue Delport and Aine Henry.

    Sue Delport, Lecturer & Clinic Lead in Occupational Therapy at Cardiff University, is also a Fellow of the SI Network and was previously an SI Network director and lecturer.  

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

    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.”

    Aine and Sue will be travelling to Vienna for the Congress which is taking place from 1 – 3 June 2017.

    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 practice".

    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.

    Announcing ESIC2017 from Elisabeth on Vimeo.

  • 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 beliefs, 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 help 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 practise, and towards answering those questions.

    Specifically, the course will offer opportunities to practise 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

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