I am a paediatric physiotherapist and an advanced sensory integration practitioner. For many years I worked as part of an NHS community service; working in a special school, conducting home visits, running clinics etc., however I left the NHS about 15 months ago and am now fully independent.
I am really passionate about trying to spread the word about SI to physiotherapists as I truly believe that the knowledge gained via SI training really does make a massive difference to our effectiveness as therapists.
World Physiotherapy Day this year focused on the importance of exercise for mental health which is something I am really interested in, I even did my final year dissertation on this very subject! Unfortunately, finding the motivation to exercise can often be very difficult, especially for those struggling with mental health issues or other difficulties and it can of course, be particularly tricky motivating children and young adults to do traditional exercise.
Since completing my SI training, I have realised that the core principles of SI are so fundamental to working with children, i.e. therapy being child led and the belief that there is an inner motivation or drive to play and learn.
Exercise can be perceived as boring or tiring, especially for those with low tone or postural and praxis issues, but by employing SI core principles it is so easy to get children active and exercising without them realising, because they are having fun.
My life now as an independent SI trained physiotherapist is extremely varied and never dull! I am particularly interested in Sensory Attachment Intervention and the effects of trauma on neurodevelopment. A lot of the work I do is with support after adoption agencies with children who have experienced developmental trauma. I am completely fascinated by the effects of developmental trauma on body awareness, temporal and spatial awareness and praxis and how many of these children have huge difficulties with their organisational skills. I think it’s amazing to see how quickly these children can begin to organise themselves with the appropriate sensory input.
I also receive referrals directly from parents and from schools and a lot of this work involves supporting parents and schools to understand sensory integration and facilitating them to incorporate sensory strategies into the classroom or into daily life at home. I also really enjoy doing training workshops for parents and professionals – I get a real buzz when parents and professionals start to see children’s ‘problem behaviours’ in a different light and begin to understand the meaning behind the behaviours, whether that be sensory or due to developmental trauma.
And if all of this isn’t keeping me busy enough I have just registered to undertake the research modules with Ulster University so that I can hopefully complete my Masters in SI. It’s a good job I like to be busy!