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 News and Updates

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  • 03 Mar 2021 19:42 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Have you ever dreamed of designing your own Ayres’ Sensory Integration (ASI) space? Ever wondered how you could make a rented room work for your SI therapy? What equipment would you need if you decided to offer mobile SI-informed therapy in schools, homes and workplaces? This new course from Sensory Integration Education has all the answers for you.

    Designing Your Own ASI Space is a short, online course, packed with helpful and practice advice from Moyna Talcer - a Consultant Occupational Therapist with 20 years’ clinical experience, both in NHS and private practice, and an Advanced Practitioner in Ayres' Sensory Integration.

    Setting up your own ASI clinic is many SI Practitioner’s dream but do you have all the knowledge to make that dream a successful reality? Before even looking at equipment and colour schemes, have you considered planning permission, insurances, the right location, working loads on ceilings, the best lighting rings and storage options, how to choose the right structural engineer and builders? What would the impact be on your home life if you chose to set up an ASI space in a room on your property? What risk assessments do you need to make and maintain?

    Would you be better to hire a space within a building, and what should you look for when choosing to rent a room? What do you need to ask the landlord and what services would you be best negotiating from them at the start of the contract? What kind of suspension equipment is possible in a space that you don’t own?

    If you would like to work as a mobile SI Practitioner, Moyna draws on her own experience to recommend her ‘go-to’ equipment, how to get the most out of each piece of equipment and what alternatives are there if it’s not possible to have suspended equipment.

    During her career Moyna has worked in schools, and people’s places of work and homes; in various rented spaces; until, eventually, she spent two years designing and building her own bespoke ASI clinic. Hear what she thinks were the best things to spend time and money on and how she would do it differently if she were to create her own clinic again.

    The online course, accessible 24/7, comprises 5 hours of content using slides with voice-over, captioned videos, worksheets, downloadable handouts and recommendations for further reading. All advice is linked back to the evidence base for ASI and maintaining fidelity for ASI interventions.

    The course also includes a bonus video of an interview with Mike Brooke, National Sales Manager of Southpaw UK, who discusses the precise requirements of the different kinds of suspension equipment that are suitable for owned or hired spaces and for mobile therapists. Mike discusses the pros and cons of various key items of SI equipment, right down to what kind of equipment will fit in what size of car boot for therapists who need to transport their equipment from venue to venue.

    If you want to be guided through the decision making process about designing an ASI space or a mobile ASI therapy service, then this is the course for you. Priced at only £45. Find out more and how to book here.

  • 23 Feb 2021 16:42 | SIE News (Administrator)

    The pandemic has challenged the NHS to work in new ways to make sure people get the support they need. Now the NHS wants to hear the public’s views and experiences of accessing and using NHS-commissioned health and social care services to help shape how Allied Health Professionals deliver care in the next few years.

    The invitation to join the online conversation is open to everyone over the age of 16 in England and is called AHPs Listen. The Allied Health Professions (AHPs) comprise of 14 distinct occupations including the occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and physiotherapists who are eligible to train as Sensory Integration Practitioners, as well as art therapists, dietitians, drama therapists, music therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, osteopaths, paramedics, podiatrists, prosthetists and orthotists, and diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers.

    The NHS wants to hear what’s important to you about how you receive help with your health, how Allied Health Professions working in health and social care can offer the best possible experience, how they can help you stay well and how technology might help in the future.

    If you would like to see greater NHS provision specific to sensory difficulties, then this is your chance to make your voice heard.

    You can join, completely anonymously, at the AHP Listen website here: https://ahpslisten.org/welcome

    You can join the online workshop from any computer, tablet or smartphone. Everyone is welcome to join the conversation. You can visit as many times as you like, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at a time that suits you. Everyone can read, rate and comment upon the ideas of others. The project opened on 22 February 2021 and will run for 4 weeks.

    Professionals Will Get Their Chance to Comment Too

    A second online conversation will take place in May 2021 for the Allied Health Professionals to respond to the themes that were identified by the public. Later in the year, a third conversation will open where both citizens and Allied Health Professions can come together to let the project organisers (Clever Together) know they have interpreted everything correctly.

    This combined input will create the basis of the new strategy for Allied Health Professionals, co-created with citizens and professionals. Once finalised, this will replace the AHPs into Action strategy which was produced in a similar way 5 years ago and has run its course. The new strategy will be published in Spring 2022.

  • 11 Feb 2021 20:48 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Have you considered ballet to help develop fine and gross motor skills, proprioception, and confidence in your child with sensory integration and processing difficulties? Ballet teacher and primary school teacher Emma Morgan exclusively told Sensory Integration Education how ballet can be a wonderfully expressive activity for children with sensory challenges. Emma’s company, tiny toes ballet, is also offering a FREE 8-week Lockdown programme via YouTube - see below for details.

    During this pandemic we have seen so many restrictions and limited opportunities for exercise and extracurricular activities. As a result, we have seen families embracing online classes in order to keep their children engaged, stimulated and fit. Have you thought about ballet? Dance is a wonderful form of self-expression, exercise, and creativity. Many children love to move to music, it makes them happy.

    I am in the privileged position of being a professional trained ballet dancer and RAD registered ballet teacher but also a primary school teacher with experience of teaching children with special needs. The tiny toes teacher training programme fully equips our teachers to ensure children of all needs are catered for in our tiny toes classes. We deliver our programme to children with a variety of additional needs, including autism, cerebral palsy and down syndrome as well as delayed speech and understanding, very successfully and inclusively, on a weekly basis.

    Dance helps children develop a sense of body awareness, it helps with confidence and social skills. Dance allows for creative expression, for individuality and provides exercise and healthy living. It can help those who struggle with language by presenting an opportunity to communicate without words. Dance allows room for creative thinking and the acceptance of varied concepts, it stimulates intellect. It can foster a sense of peace. Dance allows you to express the inner you in a fun, energetic and engaging way that is non-judgmental.

    It is well researched that ‘activating the body more readily focusses and stimulates the mind’. When children are engaged with the world around them, they are more prepared to interact with it, learn from it, contribute to it. Dance is a vehicle that stimulates this engagement.

    For children with special needs, such as sensory processing difficulties, autism and other socio-emotional or physical difficulties, enjoyable activities might tricky to find. Children with these needs might have symptoms including poor attention, difficulty interacting with their peers, limited body awareness, or trouble being in social situations that might be over stimulating. Participating and expressing themselves through dance can help children with special needs to overcome these difficulties.

    Some children with sensory processing difficulties or other similar difficulties may not understand where their bodies are in space or how to work their fine motor control muscles. They have motor delay. Through dance, children become aware of the space around them and are given the opportunity to practise using their fine and gross motor control skills.

    Dance is not just a physical activity, it is also a form of creative expression. Some children with special needs have great difficulty expressing themselves or understanding emotions. Dance gives children a chance to break out of their shells and express their emotions in a non-threatening and non-judgmental environment. Often during dance class children are required to dance or work in groups or pairs, they often give small demonstrations or performances in front of parents and their community, even in the dance class they are performing in front of each other. These activities also help children with special needs to gain confidence.

    Emma is a Para Dance Trained Teacher. Para Dance UK is a charity that aims to develop and promote dance as a sport and an inclusive leisure activity across the country.

    Try These Dance Exercises

    Join in with these three lovely dance exercises at home! Remember you can adapt as you wish; for example, if the teacher is using her feet and you are sitting down, then make the same movement with your elbows or wrists. Dance is a form of self-expression there is no right or wrong just be YOU!

    Warm Up Song

    Ballet Exercise for Feet

    Stretch Song

    FREE 8-week Lockdown Programme for Everyone

    As a company, tiny toes ballet is currently offering a FREE 8-week Lockdown programme for everyone. We have classes based on different topics such as animals, superheroes, under the sea, etc., and the programme covers so many engaging activities including drama, dance, singing and cooking. See the full programme here.

    For me, the best thing about being involved in inclusive dance is seeing the children happy and knowing that we are making them feel normal. A lot of children, especially older children, understand that they are different, but we are giving them the opportunity to undertake dance, an activity that has in the past has been impossible for them. This is a big relief for parents and carers too, who are looking for exciting activities that both inspire their children and will help to keep them fit. Many have said our program is a breath of fresh air.

    I passionately believe that ballet and dance is for everyone: everyone has a right to dance! It has so many benefits but not only that dance is proven to make you happy which we all need right now. Give it a go at home with tiny toes ballet and, when lockdown is lifted, please do get in touch - we are launching a specially-written ‘inclusive programme’ across the UK and we’d love to welcome as many people as possible to our physical ‘inclusive programme’ as soon as it is safe to do so. We are on a mission to share our love of dance, and the happiness dance creates, with everyone!

    Emma Morgan

    BA (Hons) PGCE ARAD Paradance trained teacher

    To find out even more benefits of dance, visit our website: www.tinytoesballet.co.uk

  • 10 Feb 2021 14:49 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Sensory Integration Education (SIE) has reviewed the Royal College of Occupational Therapists' (RCOT) new publication, Informed View: Sensory Integration and sensory-based interventions (2021), with interest.

    It clearly states the importance of working within an evidence-based framework and aims to provide information regarding the ongoing development of the evidence base around sensory processing and integration difficulties. Many of our other allied health profession interventions are also pursuing the goals of strengthening the evidence base and seeking to understand the core active components within them.

    This publication clearly states it is not intended to be a systematic evaluation of the sensory processing and integration literature and as such, limited literature is included and does not represent articles published since 2018. This affects its value as an information document for RCOT members. It will also be referred to by commissioners and others and is likely to negatively impact service users’ access to intervention. SIE would welcome the opportunity to work with RCOT to critically appraise and synthesize the literature more comprehensively to produce evidence-informed practice guidance for the benefit of those living with sensory processing and integration challenges.

    RCOT’s focus on developing the evidence base articulates well with SIE’s commitment to the same. Our not-for-profit organisation is proactively committed to supporting and developing clinically focused and research informed / active alumni. These alumni work within the multidisciplinary context, across the lifespan, and crucially within an evidenced-based frame of reference. Our strategy of supporting research in the field is made practical in many ways, one of which is the opportunity to apply for our Research Grant Awards.

    The RCOT view that Occupational Therapists should maintain an occupational focus is explicitly the same values and focus on our courses, with person-centred focus teaching throughout our curriculum and emphasis on improving participation in all areas of the individual’s life.

    We agree with their recommendation that therapists should understand the difference between Ayres’ Sensory Integration and sensory-based interventions, be clear about their rationale and evidence base for using these interventions, establish person centred goals, review their intervention, use outcome measures and audit the effectiveness of their intervention. These are key elements of our curriculum.

    SIE ensures that students are able to evaluate and articulate the evidence and we are delighted that our postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and MSc curriculum includes teaching and supervisory input from international experts within and outwith the field of sensory processing and integration.

    SIE’s postgraduate pathway for Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech and Language Therapists, delivered with our partner university Sheffield Hallam University is being carefully mapped to the current UK Allied Health Profession professional bodies and government policies and frameworks around advanced practice. As such, it seeks to continuously develop the students’ skills, aligned to the four pillars of the Advanced Clinical Practice Framework within the overarching framework of becoming an Advanced Practitioner in Sensory Integration.

    Therapists working towards their Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Integration to become an SI Practitioner focus on developing and evidencing both their clinical and research capabilities. We believe it is critical that our SI Practitioners are as confident in the underpinning neuroscience which informs their clinical reasoning and decision-making as they are with their practical skills. Furthermore, we strongly advocate and teach our students to critically appraise the literature and reflect on their practice in order to ensure they are adhering to the principles of evidence-based practice. To that end, our curriculum includes a variety of teaching methods including online interactive content, a minimum of 40 logged hours of clinical practice with the support of a SI clinical mentor, clinical reasoning workshops, tutorial groups and peer to peer support. In order to ensure that our students are able to evidence and demonstrate the application of their knowledge regarding this clinical intervention, they undertake rigorous assessment which enables their employers to have confidence in both their knowledge and skills.

    Those wishing to extend their clinical and research capabilities beyond the level of SI Practitioner undertake the final module to become an Advanced SI Practitioner and gain their Postgraduate Diploma in Sensory Integration. As an advanced practitioner it is anticipated that the therapist will engage with more complex clinical situations which require advanced clinical reasoning and assessment of risk and therefore students engage in advanced clinical reasoning workshops and undertake an additional minimum of 20 hours of logged clinical practice with the support of a clinical mentor and tutorial groups. These therapists also develop their education and leadership and management capabilities which equips them to build capacity and capability through work-based and interprofessional learning, understand how to evaluate service provision and present a robust business case in response to changing needs.

    We welcome any actions that raise the quality of assessment and management of sensory processing and integration challenges for the benefit of the person and their family to live life fully and safely.

  • 09 Feb 2021 17:20 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Sensory Integration Education is launching two more of its highly accessible, online introductory courses priced at only £5. These courses are adapted from our popular our “Understanding Sensory Processing and Integration for Parents and Carers” course to make it specific to these two populations:

    Read on for more information on these new courses:

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

    Teenagers with sensory processing and integration difficulties can grow more aware of the differences between themselves and their peers, which can affect their self-esteem and well-being. The urge to fit in can mean that they spend a lot of their available coping resources in an effort to camouflage or mask their different sensory responses - which is incredibly stressful and tiring. It may be the case that your teen or young adult hasn’t realised that sensory difficulties underlie why they feel life is so challenging and they may not know that sensory processing and integration can be changed.

    A large part of working with teenagers who have sensory processing and integration difficulties will be helping the young person to understand what they are experiencing, and providing safe and reassuring opportunities to talk about how sensory processing issues are affecting them. 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 a teenager’s behaviour and engagement, and give you a toolkit of ideas on how to support a teen’s sensory needs at home.

    Open to all, this introductory-level course is aimed at parents and carers of teens living with sensory processing and integration challenges. It includes 1 hour of content using slides with voice-over, animations, videos, quizzes and many resources to download. You will have 1 month to access the course which is priced at just £5.00 (includes Free Affiliate Membership for those who are not already SIE members). Find out more here.

    Understanding Sensory Processing and Integration in Adults with Learning Disabilities

    When supporting adults with learning disabilities, it is important that any sensory strategies are introduced with the cooperation of the individual. And consent and cooperation is only possible when the person understands what you are asking them to do and why. The first place to start with sensory integration strategies for people with learning disabilities is to help the person understand and notice how their own body is responding to the sensory challenges and demands of their everyday tasks.

    Aimed at carers 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 the behaviour and engagement of an adult with learning disabilities, and give you a toolkit of ideas on how to support a person’s sensory needs in their home environment.

    The course comprises 1 hour of content using slides with voice-over, animations, videos, quizzes and many resources to download. You will have 1 month to access the course and it is priced at just £5.00 (includes Free Affiliate Membership for those who are not already SIE members). Find out more here.

    Both courses are of the high quality you expect from SIE and are accredited by The CPD Standards Office. These courses are designed to supplement professional, personalised intervention by a qualified SI Practitioner where and when that is available. You can search for qualified SI Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners on the Association of SI Practitioners’ Register.

  • 02 Feb 2021 11:41 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Access the latest sensory integration news, research, resources, courses, jobs, products and books in the latest issue of EmphaSIze - The Sensory Integration Newsletter.

    Simply log on to My SI resources to access the February issue. Not a member yet? Join free today.

  • 20 Jan 2021 19:31 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Was the last sensory integration training you undertook our classroom-taught SI Module 2/3? Have you considered resuming your sensory integration training and achieving Advanced Practitioner status? Then take advantage of this final opportunity to proceed straight to SI Module 4: Intervention and Advanced Topics.

    We created this bespoke module to allow therapists who achieved SI Practitioner certification through the classroom SI 2/3 modules, to move up to Advanced SI Practitioner status without needing to take the Intervention and Advanced Practice modules separately. This module builds on the clinician’s understanding of the neuroscience, assessment and basic principles of intervention completed in SI Module 1 and SI Module 2/3 to be able to design, implement, record and evaluate sensory integration interventions which are individualised for each client.

    However, as this is a bespoke module run for a specific and small number of students, we are no longer running the course past this final cohort starting on 22 March 2021. The deadline for booking onto the bespoke module is 22 February 2021.

    SI Module 4: Intervention and Advanced Topics, like our entire SI practitioner training pathway, is accredited by Sheffield Hallam University and this module will give you 30 academic credits, which are globally recognised and highly transferable. Sheffield Hallam University is one of the country’s largest allied health professions education providers; UK University of the Year for Teaching Quality 2020; and in the top 5 modern universities for research that is rated internationally excellent or world leading.

    The taught element of the course is delivered online and incorporates videos, vignettes and interactive challenges, facilitated by support from an Advanced SI Practitioner eMentor and an online peer group forum. Three hours of clinical mentorship from an advanced SI practitioner is a requirement of this module to support and facilitate students' reflections and critical evaluations of practice. If you do not have an appropriate Clinical Mentor in your workplace, we have a register of Advanced SI Practitioner Clinical Mentors who can offer the required mentoring. We also have flexible arrangements, regarding access to clinical hours in regard to Covid-19 restrictions.

    If you want more information about training in SI online, this article is helpful. This is what one, initially sceptical, student fed back to us about our online SI Modules: “I was really concerned about doing online learning having done [previous modules] in the classroom. I have really enjoyed the learning method and it is working so well I would recommend it. I also love that you can access the taught information for a year so have the flexibility to back over things whilst cementing new learning into practice.”

    If you would like to take this opportunity to proceed to Advanced SI Practitioner Status, you can find out more about this final bespoke module here.

    Confused about which SI Module you need to take next? Click here: Which Module Do I Take Next?

    Remember, you can contact us at support@sensoryintegration.org.uk.

  • 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. *Members booking (04BN04) SI Module 4 will be awarded Advanced SI Practitioner status only, not PGDip.

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SI Network, Kemp House, 152 - 160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX, UK


We are a not for profit organisation. SI Network (UK & Ireland) Ltd trading as Sensory Integration Education. Established 1994.

Company registration no: 05068304  Copyright 2021

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