I have been a Researcher at Middletown Centre for Autism since completing a Doctorate in Life and Health Sciences at The University of Ulster in 2014. Prior to this I completed a degree in occupational therapy and a foundation degree in art and design. During this time, I became increasingly interested in children's sensory processing.
However, it wasn’t until I began working in Middletown Centre for Autism that I truly appreciated how sensory processing and integration treatment significantly improves the lives of many young people with autism and their families.
I work alongside very experienced SI trained therapists and through my research I have directly witnessed the impact SI treatment has on an individual’s ability to access educational and social ‘norms’. As a result of this research, we have created online resources for teachers and parents of children with autism. These free open access resources are available from our website and give us the opportunity to:
- Increase awareness within the education sector of the impact sensory processing and integration issues have on children with autism and their ability to access the curriculum.
- Support learning and understanding of sensory needs and appropriate sensory strategies for young people with autism both at home and in school.
Developing the Sensory Resource and others has encouraged me to continue my education and understanding of SI. I have recently enrolled for Module 1 of the SI course to enhance my knowledge for practice and am looking forward to learning new skills.
Rachel Ferguson, Researcher, Middletown Centre for Autism