We were very fortunate to be able to attend the very first International Sensory Integration Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, recently. Along with other delegates, we gathered at the southern tip of Africa because of the life and work of Dr. Jean Ayres. Her incredible work has been continued through the efforts of her passionate and dedicated scholars such as Dr. Susanne Smith-Roley, Dr. Zoe Mailloux, Dr. Roseann Schaaf and Dr. Diane Parham, who were the four keynote speakers at the conference. Her scholars have knocked down those ivory towers and combined their research with clinical work and are working towards Ayres Sensory Integration 2020 vision.
The year 2020 marks what would have been the 100-year birthday of Dr. A. Jean Ayres. In commemoration of this milestone, the following vision is proposed: Ayres Sensory Integration will have a strong, international presence with demonstrated scholarship, means for valid, comprehensive assessment and pathways for training to ensure the ongoing development, standards of excellence and effective implementation of this important work.
Dr. Ayres documented the importance of the flow of sensation in everyday life. When there is flow in our lives, we experience a sense of harmony to connect, learn and grow. We mention this as the congress allowed us to stop, breath, think and reflect on what we do as SI OT’s, something that neither of us have much time to do in our day to day lives. The magical thing about being able to stop, breath, think and reflect is that we did so with our fellow SI practitioners from all over the world. Each one bringing their unique experience, knowledge, wisdom and energy.
We were truly inspired by the conference, by the passion that was shared by us all regarding SI, by the wealth of knowledge, the research and review of the scientific evidence for relationships that Dr. Ayres established between neurophysiological processes, the connection between sensory processing and integration and emotions, behaviour and learning.
This inspiration and the ASI 2020 vision, coupled with the captivating charm, wine in abundance and beauty of Cape Town, left us feeling rejuvenated and energised. We came home feeling blessed to be SI OT’s with a network of truly amazing colleagues all around the world and looking forward to being part of the team for the ASI 2020 vision. However, the absolute highlight of our trip was during the Gala dinner and dancing to the YMCA with Susanne Smith-Roley!!!
Vicky Ruffle and Vanessa Southgate