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  • 12 Jan 2021 22:24 | SIE News (Administrator)

    As the pandemic restrictions look set to continue for quite some time, many therapists and education professionals will be planning how to deliver their services safely and, in many circumstances, remotely in the longer term this year.

    Sensory Integration Education (SIE) surveyed therapists and education professionals last autumn on how they coped during the first lockdown period in 2020* with delivering therapy and support to individuals with sensory integration and sensory processing difficulties. This is the advice those therapists and professionals offered should the strictest pandemic restrictions return:

    Advice on Working Remotely and Using Communications Technology

    “In [online] large team meetings, I have found it helps to establish a chair and communication rules.”

    “Attend-Anywhere is useful virtual appointment system”

    “Use a headset and microphone.”

    “Microsoft teams has been so helpful. Telephone consults have been useful for families who don't want to say certain things in front of their children.”

    “Have a properly set up work space with everything you need to hand.”

    “Google classrooms and Your Therapy Source resources”

    “We are going to be using Microsoft Live to deliver our school sensory workshop presentation. This appears to work really well.”

    “Sharing information is key as we find we all need support to continue to find ways to meet the children and family needs. Take time to use clinical reasoning and Covid pandemic guidelines as it is reassuring for practitioners that you’re doing the right thing.”

    “Making sure to take breaks and finish on time if home working and also having some kind of transition period at the end of the day to separate work from home life.”

    “I have joined some groups of other therapists and this has been useful for sharing information.”

    “When using new technology to consult with clients, have a practise session with colleagues first.”

    “Have used Attend Anywhere video consultations successfully alongside sending worksheets to do dome work on interception & draw up sensory management plans.”

    Advice on Remotely Delivering Therapy or Client/Student Contact

    “Video calls may work better than you expect with some clients. It’s a chance to be creative, eg, modelling activities at a distance or assessing by video.”

    “Don’t be afraid to try Telehealth. Sometimes getting to see the child at home in a non invasive way is hugely beneficial.”

    “The client should be encouraged to make sure that they have enough data available on their plans to carry out teletherapy. Always go on mute when listening it helps video quality.”

    “Use your OT skills to find books, resources that support doing 'tele-therapy' activities effectively, in the home for children with SPD, and other neurological challenges.”

    “Wrote a social story for each individual patient. The social story was left with the patient for other [in-situ] staff to read if required.”

    “Lego. It has been amazing how inventive you can be using Lego as your medium.”

    “We have made use of a lot more video modelling - particularly with Covid-related skills such as how to put on a mask; how to wash hands; being screened with a thermometer etc. This definitely eased learners' anxiety around returning to school as they could practise at home first.”

    “We run a Sensory Processing workshop for parents and used to do this is small groups of parents/carers - this has been suspended since lockdown but we have just run our first online workshop which was very successful and enables us to see more parents at the same time - so probably the way forward for the future.”

    “Found that parent education sessions are easier to run virtually. More parents/carers can attend as they don’t have to travel and can participate without having video on if they choose to.”

    “Secure a budget to provide therapy parcels to young people for their use at home, during session or otherwise. Open communication through an online forum with families, as people seemed happier to talk via a private forum or messenger than over the phone or video.”

    “The CanPlan app supports [clients’] sequencing activities.”

    “I used a website called wheelofnames.com which made online gross motor activities a lot more interactive as children were able to spin the wheel.”

    “One-on-one communication and frequent check in calls with families go a long way in building relationships during turbulent times.”

    “Practice use of video call technology with a friend to get used to it before trying to use it professionally. Give guidance to those receiving video call input about room layout and ability to see the child especially - limited camera view, supply a list of equipment for them to have available and keep it simple, so every day play items.”

    “I created a support group for parents at no charge to help them problem solve the day to day which offered a lifeline and helped them to see the benefits of OT; I created a few different webinars for therapists on the best practices for providing ASI through telehealth, and lastly leaned on my professional groups for support in managing policies and procedures related to COVID-19.”

    “There are social stories regarding Covid, virtual clinics and face to face clinic visits with PPE that I have created. There was virtual guidance for families which has proven useful. Zoom app has been most beneficial for meetings, training and interventions. Laptops had better video quality than webcams. Youtube has a wealth of videos to describe green screens and compacting videos for sending via email. Video your assessments/instructions for sessions in advance so these can be shown via share screen if you have limited room. Make a resource file of visuals that you can easily pull from to make visual schedules for zoom.”

    “With regard to practice, understanding parents’ autonomic nervous system response and focusing on regulation for them so they can in turn be supported in regulating their child using a wide toolbox of strategies.”

    “Have resources available on video calls to model as much as possible rather than purely verbal/written instructions.”

    “I offered a free first Zoom therapy session to ensure that the set up at home, engagement of child and support of parent during the session were all appropriate for a regular session to then take place following this.”

    Adapting Face-to-Face Sessions

    “ASI therapy can still be delivered safely - using floor runner plastic covering as an alternative to furry swing covers has enabled cleaning.”

    “Use all the PPE and be confident in its use. Learn how to use it properly and be diligent with cleaning and disinfecting.”

    Managing Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

    “Take it day by day, share your difficulties with others as you might be surprised how many people are in the same situation as you, give yourself time to make mistakes and have days when you feel 'lower'. During periods of reduced work, use it to follow a lecture or carry out CPD. Join forums and fb pages and blogs.”

    “Patience. Regular breaks. Self care. Acknowledgement in the team of the exhaustion related to technology use.”

    “connect with as much of the virtual learning opportunities that you can as there are more than ever now which is fabulous.”

    “One of my colleagues made us all a little notebook for positivity and she put little comments and quotes on random pages and we had to fill it with positive things. Looking back on it is great to see the positive things that happened through this challenging time and a reminder that there are good things still happening around us.”

    “Take a day at a time and try not to be too ambitious . We have made sure that we have a therapy team video call every week to make sure we keep in touch and share ideas . Look after the welfare of everyone and share positivity.”

    “Be honest with yourself about how you feel about what you’re doing and the effects it may have on family. It makes it so much easier (if not actually easy to sit with) to help it move on than trying to pretend it’s all okay when it’s not. Then it’s also easier to take responsibility for your own safety and put relevant guidelines in place. I had to learn that I was responsible for me and in my case needed to do more than employers suggested.”

    “Keep connected to the natural world as much as you can to bring a sense of calm to your world.”

    “Stay calm and remember you can only do your best.”

    Upsides to the Changes Brought About by the Pandemic

    Therapists and education professionals also discussed a wide range of surprising upsides to the changes brought about by the pandemic. The two most common reasons cited (11% each) were the reductions in travel time and increased parent engagement in the therapy process. Several (5%) of respondents reported benefits to using video calls to observe the child in his or her home environment uninfluenced by the physical presence of the therapist.

    Other responses included having more time to spend on activities, such as continuing professional development, service planning and making resources, and being able to reach a geographically wider range of clients. A few responses noted that clients or pupils appeared to be faring better at home during lockdown than in the “sensory overwhelming” environment of school.

    “More emphasis on parents carrying out home programmes e.g. for bimanual therapy. Discussions via videolink with parents and child - can be more relaxed as they haven't had to travel - especially for those on the Social Communication Pathway.”

    “From now on I will always include having parents video their children doing their everyday activities and sending me those clips to contribute to assessment.”

    “The families have been able to spend good time with their children and also have observed them doing a lot of activities which previously they thought would be difficult for them.”

    “Yes.. getting to know families on a more personal level, being able to see what is going on in the home, providing tele-therapy, virtual OT services brings us closer to parents, families, clients in terms of understanding their challenges in the home, and surprisingly finding there are 'alternative' home strategies that are effective in reaching similar OT goals.”

    “We have moved our assessment to an online platform, so that we can share learning more easily with parents. For the families who have been able to access this, it’s created really positive conversations and sharing of learning through photos and videos!”

    Do You See Your Work as Being Permanently Changed by the Pandemic and, if so, How?

    Eighty-five per cent of therapists and professionals who responded to the SIE survey believed that their work was permanently changed now, with only 10% believing that it wasn’t, and 5% unsure.

    Out of the respondents who forecasted areas of permanent change:

    • 47% thought that their practice would continue to offer virtual sessions with students, clients or families: some would offer a blend of in-person and virtual sessions, with others only offering a virtual service at least initially.
    • 24% predicted that the majority of staff meetings would be conducted online
    • 24% also predicted that an element of homeworking would now be a permanent feature of their work life.
    • 12% believed that increased hygiene practices were permanent introductions with some even citing that they could not see them ever again using difficult to clean items of equipment.

    “This has pushed me into developing telehealth and I can see the benefit of incorporating telehealth alongside face to face provision of services in the future.”

    “Yes, there will be more demand to complete assessments, meetings and supervision remotely. Permanent loss of work space as now we have to work from home and use this as base and go to client home/school/settings from home. All equipment/resources therefore will need to be transportable in car and be able to comply with infection control guidelines which are unlikely to be changed.”

    “No. I think we will be able to work in the same way as we did before the pandemic. Eventually.”

    “In some ways I do hope so as working from home for me has 1) saved me money as normally I have an hour’s commute each way and 2) it has been better for my well being - I am less worn out. I still have one day in the office (out of 3 as I work part-time) and I feel that this is really important to have contact with colleagues and I'd be happy to just have one day a week working from home going forwards.”

    “Yes - I think that the workshop will continue to be an online workshop rather than face to face. We are also likely to continue with the first appointment offered for a child with sensory issues being a telephone appointment to gather information and to offer initial advice”

    “No, I think the in-person work supporting pupils with autism and special educational needs is so important. Only pupils who had extremely hands-on and confident parents really benefited from ‘remote learning.’”

    “For some telehealth will remain useful. We cover a large geographic area. Parent training will probably continue online.”

    “Yes, I have more of an awareness and emphasis on relationships with parents. I have a regular online/telephone drop in with both parents and staff which has improved communication and offering strategies to those ‘difficult to reach’ families.”

    “Yes, in some ways. Shared materials, co-treatments, and social touch will likely be changed for the long term. The emphasis on exercise, nature, and play will also be highlighted as extremely important in our lives.”

    In Summary

    It is clear that there is a big task ahead in resuming therapy and support for individuals and families but also in establishing better-planned working practices and conditions for the health and education professionals that are safe, effective and sustainable in the longer term. The impact on training and continuing professional development, particularly where access to clinical experience is reduced and the ability to work directly alongside colleagues is limited, will require innovative, flexible solutions. Find out more about SIE’s online training courses here.

    The full report includes areas for further consideration particularly how therapists maintain their CPD, clinical hours and training during pandemic conditions. Access it here: Sensory Challenges During a Pandemic: Providing and Accessing Therapy.


    Sensory Integration Education is a not-for-profit organisation providing world-class, transformational learning and a community of practice in the area of sensory integration since 1994.

    *Between 5 October and 15 November 2020, SIE hosted two surveys - respondents comprised: 231 health and education professionals working with people with sensory challenges; 31 people with sensory challenges or their parents or carers. The majority of respondents were UK and Ireland based.

  • 12 Jan 2021 20:14 | SIE Support (Administrator)

    Sensory Integration Education is delighted to announce that, in gratitude for the extraordinary work being done by the NHS, HSCNI and HSE, we are offering these staff FREE Professional or Therapist level membership to Sensory Integration Education

    NHS, HSCNI and HSE occupational therapists; physiotherapist; and speech and language therapists can enjoy Therapist Membership worth £40. All other health service staff can enjoy Professional Membership worth £20. Membership delivers a wide range of benefits including discounts on courses in sensory integration training, early access to course bookings, discounts from our preferred suppliers and access to our researcher grants and support service. 


    All current SIE members working in the NHS, HSCNI and HSE will receive free upgrades to membership, as applicable. If you are currently employed by the these organisations but haven’t had your free Therapist Membership applied yet, please contact us at support@sensoryintegration.org.uk. Or find out about how to join SIE here.
  • 12 Jan 2021 18:49 | SIE Support (Administrator)

    If you have begun your training with us, we have an amazing opportunity for you to complete your qualifications up to PGCert and SI Practitioner status or PGDip and Advanced Practitioner status and save up to £400. 

    We offer clinicians an accessible pathway to university-accredited qualifications in and the ability to practise Ayres’ Sensory Integration® (ASI) theory and therapy. Our MSc pathway in Sensory Integration was the first university-accredited postgraduate SI programme in the world and offers you the gold standard in training to practise sensory integration. Occupational Therapists; Physiotherapists; and Speech and Language Therapists are eligible to train as a Sensory Integration Practitioner or Advanced Practitioner on our PGCert, PGDip and MSc in SI course, accredited by Sheffield Hallam University.

    The SIE SI practitioner training pathway provides a comprehensive programme of clinical learning leading to qualifications that are internationally recognised and easily transferable. It has been carefully mapped to the current UK Allied Health Profession professional bodies and government policies and frameworks around advanced practice, and offers a route to clinical qualification at SI Practitioner and Advanced SI Practitioner level. This is alongside the academic awards of PG Certificate, PG Diploma and Master’s Degree. 

    For therapists who have already started their pathway to SI practitionership, we have this exclusive special offer if you book your courses between 13 January and midnight GMT on 31 March 2021:


    • Have you passed SI Module 1? You can upgrade to a PGCert in SI and SI Practitioner  (SI Modules 2 and 3) for only £1,798 (Saving you £400)


    • Have you passed SI Module 1 and 2? You can upgrade to a PGCert in SI and SI Practitioner status (SI Module 3) for only £899 (Saving you £200)


    • Upgrade your PGCert in SI to a PGDip in SI and Advanced Practitioner status (SI Module 4) for only £899 (Saving you £200)


    Find out more about our SI practitioner pathway and qualifications here. Find out more about transforming your career by becoming an Advanced Practitioner here.


    How to take advantage of this offer:

    Just book your place on the next module/modules and we will adjust your invoice.

    Offer is valid for bookings made between 13th January and 31 March 2021 only and cannot be backdated.


  • 23 Dec 2020 13:49 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Like you, we hope 2021 brings the return of so many things: live sporting and cultural events; travel; get-togethers with the people you like, love and care about; and, simply, just greater freedom and a sense of normality. But, as well as ‘getting back to normal’, there are so many areas where we can move forward to improved daily experiences and this has been our motivation to launch these new online courses in 2021:

    Understanding Sensory Processing and Integration in Adults with Learning Disabilities

    This online course is aimed at parents and carers caring for adults with learning disabilities. This short course will help you better understand the senses and how we process information from our senses. It will introduce you to what sensory issues can look like in an adult with learning disabilities behaviour and engagement, and give you a toolkit of ideas on how to support a person’s sensory needs at home.

    Understanding Sensory Processing and Integration in Teenagers and Young Adults - A Guide for Parents and Carers

    Aimed at parents and carers of teens living with sensory processing and integration challenges, this online course will introduce you to what sensory issues can look like in a teenager’s behaviour and engagement. You will come away with a toolkit of ideas on how to support a teen’s sensory needs at home.

    Sensory Integration and Trauma

    In addition to our regular live, online training day SI, Attachment and Trauma, we are launching this new online course aimed at professionals working in health, social care and education. It focuses on younger children through to teens but staff working with clients outside of this age range will still be able to apply concepts to their areas of work. The online course will provide professionals with an understanding of how trauma and attachment influences sensory processing and integration, as well as how using this knowledge can help them better understand the clients that they work with.

    Sensory Integration and ASD

    This online course is aimed at professionals who would like to develop or further develop an understanding of sensory integration within the autistic population. This course aims to develop participants’:

    • understanding of typical presentations and sensory integration and processing needs of autistic children;
    • ability to use knowledge of the different subtypes of ASD (eg PDA) to support the selection of sensory-based strategies;
    • awareness of how sensory processing difficulties affects a child’s participation in daily activities, including feeding, school functioning, community participation and dressing; and
    • awareness of when to signpost to a qualified Sensory Integration Practitioner.
    Sensory Integration and Mental Health

    Aimed at professionals working in mental health services, this online course will provide participants with an understanding of how sensory integration and processing relates to everything we do in our day to day living and how this can apply to people living with mental health difficulties / diagnoses. It will describe sensory integration and processing difficulties in layman’s terms and support participants to start to recognise participation challenges, often seen in people with mental health difficulties / diagnoses, that would be potential red flags that could signify a difficulty. It will discuss when to refer on for a full sensory integration assessment. And finally, it will look at sensory related environmental factors, activities and lifestyle choices which will support or add to protective factors for the person living with a mental health difficulty / diagnosis.

    Supporting Individuals with Feeding Difficulties. Sensory Integration in Practice. A Multidisciplinary Perspective.

    Feeding is one of the most complex things we require our bodies to do because it involves every sensory system integrating information about our body and the world around us.

    This course is aimed at therapists, dieticians, psychologists and teachers working with children described as fussy or picky eaters and those with feeding difficulties or challenges.

    The course will be delivered by Laura Osman, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Advanced Sensory Integration Therapist, Feeding Therapist and Teacher and Louisa Hargett, a Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist, Advanced Sensory Integration Therapist, Feeding Therapist and Teacher. Laura and Louisa are experienced in conducting complex multidisciplinary team feeding assessments and intervention for individuals and for school wide feeding interventions.

    This course will provide you with a multidisciplinary perspective to understanding the complexity of feeding and will provide strategies that will inform therapeutic and educational planning to support children with feeding difficulties to improve their relationship with food.

    By attending this course, you will learn the theory and what it means in practice. Teaching and learning will be supported with engaging presentations, photos, videos, quizzes and clinical discussions between Laura and Louisa.

    As part of the course, you will have the opportunity to sign up to an additional live webinar with Laura and Louisa who will be able to answer questions and deepen your knowledge of applying Sensory integration in practice to support individuals with feeding difficulties.

    Look Out for Booking Opening Announcements

    All these courses are accessibly-priced and accessible 24/7 online for your convenience. Comprising interactive slides, voice-over, animations, videos, quizzes, a written transcript and many resources to download, our online courses have built a reputation for outstanding quality and value for money. Join Sensory Integration Education for free today to receive notice when these courses launch or follow our social media channels.

  • 18 Dec 2020 10:35 | SIE News (Administrator)
    These therapists successfully gained their Postgraduate Diploma in Sensory Integration and/or achieved Advanced Practitioner status this year… would you like to start your journey to advanced practitionership in 2021?

    Congratulations to this cohort of over 50 therapists who are now Advanced SI Practitioners:

    Becoming an Advanced Practitioner in Sensory Integration

    Becoming an Advanced Practitioner in Sensory Integration is more than ‘learning more about SI’: it’s about transforming your professional life by advancing your clinical skills within your particular setting and clinical population; enabling you to discerningly use and apply research in your day-to-day work life; and developing the confidence and ability to bring about positive change within your service. It’s the integration of these skills that creates the Advanced Practitioner.

    Our Postgraduate Diploma in SI, accredited by Sheffield Hallam University, was written using the NHS’s advanced clinical practice definition as our starting point:

    “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.”

    Your learning will be focused on:

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

    We recognise that therapists work in a wide range of settings and diverse populations and we’ve ensured the course content and assessment is appropriate for a variety of paediatric and adult clinical populations.

    Course content is delivered online via videos from international experts, videos from SIE Advanced Practitioners, animated presentations, case study vignettes, quizzes to check your learning, and independent study tasks. There are three clinically focused assessment pieces to complete. Our Advanced Practitioner Module e-Mentors will support you throughout and you can share questions and insights with your peers in your cohort’s forum. You’ll have access to the Sheffield Hallam University’s library resources and student support facilities. You can also access downloadable transcripts of the course for offline study.

    In order to continue to advance your ability to relate the theory to practice and embed your learning in real life clinical practice, you will undertake 20 hours of clinical practice supported by a Clinical Mentor. You will need to have access to at least one client who would benefit from an Ayres’ Sensory Integration approach to intervention and for whom you can offer key aspects of SI management. If you can’t access a Clinical Mentor within your workplace, we have a register of AP Clinical Mentors whom you can book. We have made accommodations to recognise the limitations of practising during pandemic restrictions: you can discuss your individual circumstances with your e-Mentor.

    Successful completion of SI Module 4 conveys 30 academic credits and Advanced SI Practitioner status. UK university academic credits are globally recognised and highly transferable. You will be listed as an AP in the Association of Sensory Integration Practitioners’ Register.

    The next cohort starts on 22 March 2021: start the new year with your CPD plan in place: find out more about qualifying as an Advanced Practitioner and gaining a PG Dip here.

    Here’s what some of our most recent Advanced Practitioners said about their experience:

    “Proud to be the first Syrian Advanced Sensory Integration therapist. This journey deserves all the time and effort I put in it. It was an amazing experience.” – Rouba Khair

    “I'm so excited to join the growing community of advanced SI practitioners.” - Deborah Dunne

    “I am very pleased for being awarded the Advanced SI Practitioner certificate. After completing all modules, I realised that my understanding of sensory integration was raised to a completely new level and it has been by far the best learning experience that I have ever had.” - Terry Ann Parnis

    “I’m thrilled to be a Speech and Language Therapist and now Advanced SI practitioner.” – Nicola Jenkins

    “I am passionate about sensory integration and am thankful to the Sensory Integration Education team for the support over the past 5 years. My SI journey is very much beginning, and the SIE course has provided me with the skills, knowledge and confidence to lead on the development of an NHS OT Sensory Service in West Yorkshire.” – Victoria Cureton-Favager

    “Honoured to have obtained this with great support from Ulster University, Sensory Integration Education and positive mentorship.” – Elaine Chaplin

    “I am grateful for Jean Ayres’ pioneering work that spotlighted the importance of neuroscience. Her efforts and the continued efforts of those that have followed her are responsible for sensory integration now being considered mainstream.”Kimberly Elter

    “Thank you to Cathy and Gina, who were very supportive mentors during the duration of Module 4. We adapted quickly to studying during a global pandemic and working on the core competencies to become Advanced Practitioners in SI. Well done to all the new Advanced Practitioners.” - Eleanor McStay

    “Like lots of other people, I had only intended to start with the first module! Once I saw what a difference SI could make, I knew I had to push past my fears of studying again and keep learning. It was tough but having the support and encouragement of a brilliant mentor and the lovely friends I made on the course got me through.” - Colette Nuttall

    “Engaging in SI4 has enabled me to develop my skills and confidence as both an OT and SI practitioner. I have increased my skill set and passion to confidently and effectively engage with children and families and to consider ways of best adapting ASI sessions to fit the unique needs of each child and family.” – Dawn Parvin

    “This is my furthest achievement as an SI Practitioner. I have had fun all along and it is the profound knowledge that makes it fun.” – Wisarat Prarakanont

    “SI Module 4 was an interesting challenge in lockdown. I’m now looking forward to putting my new learning into practice.” – Clare Rooke

    “The SI training has inspired my learning whilst opening up new opportunities in clinical practice. SI 4 is just the start of the next adventure and developing service provision. A massive thank you to everyone who supported me to reach this extraordinary goal.” – Beverley Roberts

    “Thank you all for this amazing journey. I will continue on the SI Pathway towards my Master's Degree, and later on my Ph.D. Looking forward to great discussions and learning outcomes.” – Cecilie Rothschild Henriksen

  • 17 Dec 2020 16:59 | SIE Support (Administrator)


  • 30 Nov 2020 11:24 | SIE News (Administrator)

    According to a new report by Sensory Integration Education (SIE), professionals working with people with sensory difficulties said the toughest challenge presented by the pandemic restrictions was being unable to deliver face-to-face therapy or support. Individuals with sensory difficulties and their families and carers reported that nearly a quarter had put their therapy or support on hold during the pandemic this summer. However, with schools closed and social events cancelled, nearly half of responding individuals and families said they appreciated the opportunity to stick to their home routines.

    The report, Sensory Challenges During a Pandemic: Providing and Accessing Therapy, explores how professionals working with people with sensory difficulties; individuals with sensory difficulties; and the parents or carers of people with sensory difficulties have coped during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in regard to the ability to deliver or access therapy for sensory difficulties.

    Between 5 October and 15 November 2020, SIE hosted two surveys - respondents comprised: 231 health and education professionals working with people with sensory challenges; 31 people with sensory challenges or their parents or carers. The majority of respondents were UK and Ireland based.

    What do we mean by sensory challenges?

    Sensory integration or processing difficulties are problems with organising and responding to information that comes in through the senses. People may be over sensitive to sensory input (they overreact to sensory input and can become overwhelmed and hyperactive); under sensitive (they underreact to sensory input or need more of it to function); or both depending on the kind of sensory input. Sensory integration difficulties often co-occur with other conditions including ADHD and autism.

    Based on the results of these surveys, the new report, Sensory Challenges During a Pandemic: Providing and Accessing Therapy, found the following:

    Of the professionals providing therapy and support during the pandemic:
    • 38% said the toughest challenge presented by the pandemic in relation to work was being unable to deliver face-to-face therapy or support.
    • 26% reported that the new ways of working or the inability to work under the pandemic restrictions had had a negative impact on their mental health.
    • 18% reported witnessing negative effects of the pandemic environment on their clients or pupils.
    • 31% reported increased waiting times for therapy or support.
    • Over 60% had delivered therapy via a video call; 76% had used video calls to keep in touch with clients/pupils.
    • 17% said that they had been furloughed, redeployed, working reduced hours or had lost their job during the pandemic.
    • 26% said that they had worked more hours than normal during the pandemic; 27% indicated they had worked fewer hours; and 48% said that their working hours had not changed.
    • 85% believed that the way they worked was permanently changed now.

    The respondents provided a wide range of advice and recommendations for professionals working in similar circumstances. See the full report for these.

    Of the people, families and carers accessing therapy and support during the pandemic:
    • 22% had accessed therapy/support by online or by phone; 9% had accessed therapy/support in person; a further 9% by a blend of virtual and in-person; 24% had their therapy put on hold; and 38% were not receiving therapy before the pandemic.
    • Reported negative effects of the pandemic restrictions included:
      • Missing usual therapeutic support; missing support from school; a frustration at being stuck in the house; anxiety about risk and hygiene measures; feelings of isolation; reduced opportunity for exercise and too much screen time; difficulty self-regulating and feeling overloaded and overwhelmed; as well as changes to routine.
    • Reported positive effects of the pandemic restrictions included:
      • 46% gave replies relating to be able to stick to home routines. Although 11% said that there were no positive aspects, other respondents found that their daily experience improved because they were not required to travel or attend sensory overwhelming situations such as school and social interactions. Several responses referred to feeling calmer and less stressed.
    Where do we go from here?

    It is clear that there is a big task ahead in resuming therapy and support for individuals and families but also in establishing better-planned working practices and conditions for the health and education professionals that are safe, effective and sustainable in the longer term. The impact on training and continuing professional development, particularly where access to clinical experience is reduced and the ability to work directly alongside colleagues is limited, will require innovative, flexible solutions. There is still so much we need to better understand: suggested research areas are listed at the end of the full report.

    SIE is very grateful to the survey participants who have contributed to a greater understanding of how the lockdown and subsequent ongoing pandemic restrictions to work and daily life have affected them.

    Access the full report here: Sensory Challenges During a Pandemic: Providing and Accessing Therapy

    Sensory Integration Education is a not-for-profit organisation providing world-class, transformational learning and a community of practice in the area of sensory integration since 1994.


  • 16 Nov 2020 14:12 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Struggling for ideas on what to get your sensory child, teenager or family member this Christmas? Have a look at these suggestions: there’s something for everyone with sensory needs: from babies to older children, from teens to adults and older people. We’ve included links for your convenience but these products, or similar, are available for a wide variety of suppliers (we do not earn commission from these suggestions).

    My First Baby Baby Ball Set

    With a variety of colours and textures, this ball set can help develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Suitable from birth. From Amazon.

    VATOS Tummy Time Baby Water Mat

    This tummy time water mat offers babies the opportunity for developing proprioception, vestibular and tactile processing. Aged 3 months plus. From Amazon.

    VTech Rock and Ride Unicorn Baby Ride On Toy

    This unicorn toy is a suitable support for babies when making their first steps, encouraging mobility and discovery. It can be used as a rocking toy or as a ride-on and push along toy to enhance gross motor skill development and lower body strength. Aged 18 months plus. From Amazon.

    MOLUK Bilibo Rocking and Spinning Toy

    For children between 2 and 7 years old, this toy can be used as a seat to spin and rock in or used for imaginative role play. From Amazon.

    Learning Resources Jumbo Droppers with Stand

    Great for developing fine motor skills, these jumbo pipettes can be used in lots of sensory play scenarios. Aged 3 years plus. From Amazon.

    Melissa & Doug Wooden Panels & Laces

    Practice fine motor skills with this pet-themed threading game. Aged 3 years plus. From Amazon.

    Huggaroo Puppy Weighted Lap Pad

    The Huggaroo puppy is a soft, weighted lap pad that can be used to relax and soothe. Wear it around the shoulders, across the lap or use as a tray/laptop pad. Aged 3 years plus. From Amazon.

    Lewo Wooden Rainbow Stacking Game

    These chunky, colourful, stacking blocks will fire imagination and develop fine motor skills. Aged 3 years plus. From Amazon.

    YOMERA Children's Pod Hammock Chair

    Indoor swing seats can help with self-regulation. Aged 3 years plus; maximum load 80 kg. From Amazon.

    Weighted Tumfort Soft Toys

    These soft, weighted toys are designed to calm and comfort by providing proprioceptive input. Aged 3 years plus. From Tumfort.

    Learning Resources Froggy Feeding Game

    Strengthening muscles needed for the pencil grip and developing fine motor skills, this game encourages the players to squeeze the frogs to collect the fly counters. Aged 3 years plus. From Amazon.

    OBEDA Fidget Toy Set

    Fidget toys, such as this selection, are good for keeping hands busy and developing fine motor skills. Aged 3 years plus. From Amazon.

    Spiky Stepping Stones by Southpaw

    These spiky stepping stones can be used in various challenging activities to develop motor skills and balance, while also providing a tactile foot massage when stepped on.

    From our Preferred Supplier Southpaw: Sensory Integration Education members can enjoy a 10% discount on this and other products by Southpaw. Simply log in to your SIE account for the discount code.

    Heroes of Goo Jit Zu

    This hot ticket item will be on many children’s wish list this year. The squishy, stretchy characters filled with textured beads provide interesting tactile feedback. Aged 3 years plus. From Amazon.

    Sensory Body Sock from Harkla

    Sensory body socks for children can help to soothe and calm and also encourage your child to explore their movements by pressing and stretching the material. Available in a range of sizes.

    From our Preferred Supplier Harkla: Sensory Integration Education members can enjoy a 10% discount on this and other products by Harkla. Simply log in to your SIE account for the discount code.

    Stretchy Mice and Cheese

    This fun stretchy fidget toy is great for finger dexterity, motor planning, developing fine motor skills. Aged 3 years plus. From the Therapy Shoppe.

    Giant Board Game

    Using the floor tiles, game cards and giant dice, get moving and build a board game around your house! Aged 5 years plus. From the Social Games Store.

    Gymnic Physio Roll Ball

    If your sensory integration therapist recommends the use of therapy balls at home, this one is useful for people with problems with balance and coordination. Seek advice from your therapist before using. Ages 6 years and up with adult supervision. From Amazon.

    SENDKEEL Push Bubble Sensory Fidget Toy

    For those who enjoy the sound and sensation of popping bubble wrap, this fidget toy can be used again and again. From Amazon.

    Chewellery from Chewigem

    Teens and adults who find it regulating to chew items, will appreciate this discreet Chewellery range that looks like ordinary jewellery.

    From our Preferred Supplier Chewigem: Sensory Integration Education members can enjoy a 10% discount on these and other products by Chewigem. Simply log in to your SIE account for the discount code.

    Sensory Sac

    These Sensory Sac beanbag chairs are suitable for children and adults, and offer a sense of deep pressure input. Each Sensory Sac chair is filled with a super-soft foam pellet beans and sealed in an inner liner. From SensoryEducation (not affiliated with Sensory Integration Education).

    Awesome OSM Fidget

    The Awesome OSM Fidget features six smooth interlocking, infinitely rotating links that are great for developing finger dexterity and exercising finger joints. Recommended for ages 4 to adults. From the Therapy Shoppe.

    iBoutique ColourJets USB Dancing Fountain Speaker

    The audio-visual quality of these dancing fountain speakers make them a great sensory gadget. The contained water fountains dance and light up in different colours in sync to every different beat.

    The speakers connect to a PC, Mac, smartphone including iPhone, MP3 player or any other device with an 3.5mm audio output. From Amazon.

    Twiddle Pup and Twiddle Cat

    Often used with the older adult population, these are great sensory aids for anyone who finds comfort in tactile stimulation. From AlzProducts.

    Sensory Gel Maze

    Suitable for children right through to older adults, this self-contained sensory gel maze is useful for working on finger isolation, strengthening finger muscles, enhancing tactile awareness, fidgeting, and providing proprioceptive input to fingers. From the Therapy Shoppe.

    Let us know if you find any other great sensory products!

  • 13 Nov 2020 10:25 | SIE News (Administrator)

    It's been an extraordinary year so we are hosting an extraordinary SIE Virtual Autumn Conference this year. We have some internationally-renowned names in the world of SI on our conference programme, discussing some fascinating topics and research.

    You can now book your FREE place to access these video presentations, which will be available from 27 November for one month only:

    • Welcome to the Virtual SIE Autumn Conference 2020: An introduction from Sensory Integration Education Chair, Rosalind Rogers
    • Sensory Integration Education Awards Ceremony: Hosted by SIE Fellow Dr Greg Kelly
    • A Qualitative Exploration into the Sensory Experiences of Autistic Mothers: an MSc research presentation by Moyna Talcer, Consultant Occupational Therapist and Advanced Practitioner in Sensory Integration
    • Higher Education Qualifications in Sensory Integration: An Introduction to the Partnership with Sheffield Hallam University: By Judith Mitchell, Collaborative Course Lead, College of Health and Wellbeing and Life Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University - UK University of the Year for Teaching Quality 2020
    • Keynote 2: Overview of the Sensory Processing 3 Dimensions Measure and Current Research by Dr Sarah Schoen, PhD, OTR/L and Director of Research at STAR Institute
    • Sensory Friendly Solutions Podcast Conversations: brought to you by occupational therapist Christel Seeberger and the Sensory Friendly Solutions team, enjoy an introduction and three curated podcast episodes:
      • Hear from Maureen Bennie about her autism awareness mission and discovering the eighth sense.
      • Listen to bestseller, Carol Stock Kranowitz and her journey to write the Out of Sync Child.
      • Share in the brilliance of Dr. Winnie Dunn, occupational therapist, researcher and author of Living Sensationally.

    You can find out more about these first-class speakers here and you can book your free place here.

    By registering your place, you will also gain access to a downloadable Delegate Pack including discount vouchers - including a massive 25% discount on Bundy & Lane’s Sensory Integration Theory and Practice, 3rd Ed*, free entry into the draw to win a copy of this book, and your Certificate of Attendance for your CPD records.

    We would have loved to meet up with you all as normal this Autumn but we hope you’ll agree that this is a wonderful alternative conference line up and we’re delighted to be able to offer our members this free of charge (if you are not yet a member, you can join today for free).


    * Entry into the prize draw is available globally but the discount on the Bundy & Lane book is only available for countries outside North and South America due to distribution rights.

  • 11 Nov 2020 14:55 | SIE News (Administrator)

    We’re so excited to tell you about our Christmas special offer but the first thing you need to know is that it EXPIRES ON MIDNIGHT FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER 2020.

    Looking ahead to 2021, would you like to start the year with a positive plan of action to upskill and invigorate your career and enhance your care delivery to clients?

    If you would like to begin training on a UK-university-accredited postgraduate course that delivers internationally recognised qualifications (PGCert, PGDip) and the ability to practise as a Sensory Integration Practitioner or Advanced Practitioner, then take advantage of our Christmas special offer:

    Book onto the SI Module 1: Foundations and Neuroscience starting 11 January 2021 and receive a FREE Masterclass Series lecture and FREE Therapist Membership to SIE for one year (value £40). This is also your very last chance to book onto this module at 2020 prices, saving you £150. Find out more about this online module here.

    Confident that you want to commit to adding sensory integration therapy to your knowledge and skill set when treating clients? Then these special offers are for you:

    Book onto the Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Integration (successful completion conveys SI Practitioner status) starting on 11 January 2021 and and receive THREE FREE Masterclass Series lectures and FREE Therapist Membership to SIE for one year (value £40). Find out more about the PGCert in SI course here.

    Book onto the Postgraduate Diploma in Sensory Integration (successful completion conveys Advanced Practitioner status) starting on 11 January 2021 and receive THREE FREE Masterclass Series lectures and FREE Therapist Membership to SIE for one year (value £40). Find out more about the PGDip in SI course here.

    All these courses are accredited by Sheffield Hallam University - UK University of the Year for Teaching Quality 2020.

    The Masterclass Series is a new suite of online lectures aimed at people looking to advance their understanding of sensory integration related subjects, delivered by international experts. Each Masterclass is hosted by a highly-experienced professional in that specialist subject, offering you insights and drawing on their deep, practical knowledge of that field. The Masterclass Series is your shortcut to high-quality, easily accessible and affordable continuing professional development hours.

    Book now so you can relax over the holiday period knowing that you are going to start 2021 with your career development plans already in place.

    All these offers EXPIRE ON MIDNIGHT FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER 2020.

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