As a speech and language therapist, SI intervention is not our traditional method of therapy to elicit improved language skills or attention for interaction; however, my case study from my recent Module 4 course showed gains in language and interactional skills. I had embarked on a steep learning curve in September 2014, heading into Module 1 (classroom) with terms like reference list, literature search, neuroscience, etc. freaking me out somewhat!
I coped, and completed SI Module 2/3 (classroom) then SI Module 5 and SI Module 6 (online) prior to SI Module 4 (classroom).
Beginning SI 4 in Sept ‘17 was the push I needed to embark on therapy. I was very fortunate to have an OT colleague, Lisa, within the same directorate, who had completed this module a year before me. We worked together requisitioning specific equipment and identifying a clinic space locally. It has suitably safe adult-sized space where we can encourage people’s intrinsic motivation to play, explore and experiment; and our service users can feel success from the way we as skilled therapists can scaffold and support them in their sessions. Our clinic room has more equipment than before we are close to getting suspension points fixed into the ceiling which will increase our sensory options and enable us to provide ASI with adherence to the Fidelity measure.
Using our energy and enthusiasm in this part of Scotland – the launch of a local network for therapists and other professionals interested in sensory processing and integration seemed the obvious next step. We launched the network in April 2018 sharing our hour-long case study presentations and had some discussion around the use of specific equipment to support emotional self-regulation. Our presentations created much excitement and interest and therapists appeared hungry for more. There was overwhelming support for meeting 2-3 times a year to explore different aspects of sensory processing and integration. Our second network half-day took place in November, again well supported.
My plan going forward involves supporting the local network; signing up to do my Masters project in the coming academic year; applying to publish my recent article I have written as a single case study, while doing my regular day job of assessing, diagnosing and treating the referrals who come in for communication and dysphagia support. My proposal is for a qualitative study on gaining caregiver perceptions of the impact of this type of therapy on individuals’ interactions, reductions in challenging behaviours, improved social communication and increased positive time spent with their communication partners. The outcomes I seek are communication and social outcomes, measuring changes that caregivers can notice. Clinical impact is more than a number on an assessment scale; caregivers need to see functional change.
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner