Accredited, High-Quality Sensory Integration Courses
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2nd June 2020
Sensory Integration Education and Sheffield Hallam University have signed an agreement to co-deliver and accredit the PGCert, PGDIp and MSc in Sensory Integration training pathway for therapists wishing to train as Sensory Integration Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners.
Sensory Integration Education (SIE) provides world-class education and is a significant community of practice in the area of sensory integration. Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) is one of the UK's largest providers of health and social care courses, and ranked as first in UK for teaching quality in 2020.*
Sheffield Hallam University has been chosen after a competitive tendering process and will take over from SIE’s incumbent university partner, Ulster University, in time for the start of the new academic year (September 2020). All SI Modules running this academic year will continue to be accredited by Ulster University. All SI Modules from September 2020 onwards will be accredited by Sheffield Hallam University.
SIE’s Dr Sylvia Taylor-Goh, Director of Education Strategy and Innovation, said:
“We’re delighted to be working with Sheffield Hallam University, delivering the continuity of accreditation of our world-class MSc pathway in sensory integration, with exciting developments for our community of practitioners. Our education ultimately transforms the lives of people with sensory processing and integration challenges: it’s so rewarding to continually push forward the training opportunities in sensory integration theory and practice.”
Dr Toni Schwarz, Dean of College of Health Wellbeing and Life Sciences at SHU said:
“We are delighted to be partnering with Sensory Integration Education to develop research, post graduate programmes and to explore other opportunities. The College of Health Wellbeing and Life Sciences as one of the largest providers of Health and Social Care education in the UK has a proven track record in providing high quality online and distance learning provision to both pre-registration students and experienced practitioners . Sensory Integration Education also has an established track record in providing world class training and developing advanced practitioners. We look forward to working with like-minded professionals to further develop educational programmes and research in sensory integration.”
This new partnership with SHU is the next step in an already twenty-year-long training partnership with UK universities. Established in 1994, SIE began delivering university-accredited training in sensory integration theory and therapy in 2000. Each partnership has moved forward the standards of training -the partnership with Ulster from 2011 launched the world’s first university-accredited postgraduate SI programme. The MSc in Sensory Integration is open to Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists and Physiotherapists.
Sensory Integration Education and Ulster University have issued a joint statement below.
Enquiries can be directed to email@example.com
*The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020
Sensory Integration Education (SIE) currently delivers a Master of Science in Sensory Integration degree in partnership with Ulster University. This course is accredited by Ulster University and will continue to be delivered in partnership as a pathway to certification by SIE as a Practitioner or Advanced Practitioner of Sensory Integration until September 2020.
From the academic year 2020/2021, Sensory Integration Education are entering into a new University partnership for the accreditation of their online PG Certificate/PG Diploma/ MSc Sensory Integration degree. Sensory Integration Education will contact all current students to explain the new arrangements with our new partner University
Rosalind Rogers, Chair of Sensory Integration Education said:
“For current students, it’s very much business as usual until the end of the 2019 / 2020 academic year. Students currently studying with us will finish their current module with Ulster University. The academic credit points which have been achieved can be transferred to the new accreditation partner. We’d like to extend our gratitude to Ulster University, our accrediting partners for over a decade.”
Professor Suzanne Martin, Head of School of Health Sciences at Ulster University said:
“We’re very proud to have worked with Sensory Integration Education on the delivery and accreditation of the SI degree since 2011. Together we have supported the learning of many practitioners from around the world, to develop the skills and knowledge required to expand and enhance management and care for people with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and their families. We will continue to support and provide teaching and assessment to the current students on the SI course and wish them every success in their future studies. ”
Professor Suzanne Martin
Head of School Health Sciences
Dr Sylvia Taylor-Goh
Director of Education Strategy and Innovation
Sensory Integration Education
Dublin-based occupational therapist and author Inés Lawlor spoke to us about her enduring fascination with sensory integration (SI) and what inspires her to write her SI books for children.
Currently working with children with mental health difficulties, Inés has studied SI with Sensory Integration Education as well as giving a poster presentation when we hosted ESIC in 2015. Inés has published two illustrated children’s books: ‘Max and Me, a Story about Sensory Processing’ and ‘Dexter and Me, a Story about Motor Coordination’.
Welcome Inés! How did you first become interested in sensory integration?
“I think my interest in sensory integration stems from my long-term interest in how the brain works. Actually, I can trace it back to 1995 during my sixth form work-experience with an OT working in a long-term care facility for people with dementia - this led me to apply to study OT myself!
“As a newly qualified therapist, I worked in the area of stroke rehab - again feeding my interest in the brain and its role in the different aspects of function. Having always wanted to work with children, I was thrilled in 2002 to secure a job in Ireland in an intellectual disability service. The needs of the clients attending the service were so diverse, I remember feeling a little overwhelmed about where to start in terms of my reading and training. I quickly realised that SI training would be a good place to start based on the types of referrals and needs of the service users and, luckily, was funded to attend SI Module 1 in 2003. This was my first step into SI training.
“I remember being ‘blown away’ by the training, furiously scribbling every piece of information down and hanging on every word the trainers said with a strong feeling that this was something that was going to change my OT practice forever. And, indeed, it did. Since then, I struggle to find a client where I don’t use my knowledge of the senses and sensory integration in helping them achieve optimal performance in their activities of daily living. Even though I don’t provide SI therapy in my current work in child and adolescent mental health, sensory-based strategies for emotional and behavioural regulation are a key part of my work.”
Why did you decide to write an SI book for children?
“At the time that I wrote my first book, Max and Me, I felt that the books available for primary-school-aged children focused too much on explaining the difficulties the child had without offering solutions or any positive outcome. I wanted to create a shared vocabulary and understanding between children, teachers and parents that explained sensory processing difficulties without making the child feel that they were to blame.”
Can you tell us a little about your books?
“‘Max and Me’ explains, through the analogy of a modulator, how sensory information is processed in the brain. It tells the story of Max´s first days at school. Each day gets harder for him as he struggles to cope with the noise, lights and activities of a busy school day. Then Max’s mum tells him about his modulator who lives in his brain and has the job of receiving messages from the senses and then deciding the best thing for the body to do. Once he gets to know his modulator and how to work together with him, things start to go better for him.
“It was important for me to set out the neurology, in very simple terms, behind sensory processing that helps explain the behaviour associated with SI difficulties. Understanding the underlying causes helps to remove the stigma, myths and blame around challenging behaviour.”
“The sequel book, ‘Dexter and Me’ focuses on motor coordination and explains how movements are planned in the brain. The story follows Dexter as he struggles during his first school sports day. Eventually, Dexter can’t hold back the tears: that’s when his dad tells him about his discriminator. Using the analogy of the discriminator living in Dexter’s brain, the book explains how movement plans are created from the information received from the senses to help the child with complicated movements like swimming or riding a bicycle.
“I always knew that the illustrations would be crucial in helping to communicate and explain SI to children, teachers and parents. I’m very lucky that my cousin, Blanca Moltó, is a talented illustrator who was able to create simple, engaging illustrations that communicated the different elements involved in sensory integration and processing. It was also really fun to work with her!”
“I used a workbook format for the books to allow children to reflect on the story and, working together with an adult, get to know their own 'modulator'. It means they can be used as a resource by parents, therapists and teachers.”
Where do you get your ideas from for your books?
“I think the idea for both books came more or less at the same time, as I wanted to explain both the difference and overlap between sensory processing and motor coordination difficulties. I began with ‘Max and Me’ because most of the children I was working with had modulation issues but had always intended to produce both at the same time. However, life (ie, three children!) had a different plan so it was four years before I could complete the second book.
“With both books, I wanted to create a simple, visual way of explaining what was happening in the brain during sensory processing and motor coordination difficulties to empower the child to talk about their own needs with a new shared vocabulary (‘Max the modulator’ and ‘Dexter the discriminator’). Personifying the sensory system also allows the child to talk about their modulator/discriminator without feeling to blame. Working in mental health has allowed me to see the impact on children’s self-esteem of children feeling that something is ‘wrong’ with them, so I also wanted to make sure that my books offered a positive, solution-focused message.”
Thanks for talking to us Inés!
You can find out more about Inés’s work and books here: www.mymodulator.com.
Have you got a story about your work or research interests that you’d like to share with us? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function…which allow[s] us to pursue goals and ignore distractions”.
“Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function…which allow[s] us to pursue goals and ignore distractions”.
(Yogman et al, 2018)
(Yogman et al, 2018)
Making Sense of Play is a new online continuing professional development course aimed at health and education professionals who wish to update or refresh their knowledge on play.
Over 4.5 hours of interactive, online content, the course presents a thorough overview of theory and the evidence base applicable to the concepts of play and playfulness. Accessible 24x7 without the need for any special software, the course comprises slides with voice-over, animations, videos, quizzes, downloadable resources and links to recommended further reading and resources.
Depending on your experience, this course will introduce you to or refresh your knowledge of:
Open to all, the course is most suitable to qualified health or education professionals, including those working in mental health, therapists working in school settings, school staff with an interest in early years, and, of course, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and physiotherapists.
Please note that our current SI practitioner pathway students will access this information on play during their SI Module 4.
You will be emailed an SIE certificate of attendance after the course for your CPD records. The course is accessibly priced at £90 but there is a SPECIAL OFFER PRICE OF ONLY £45 UNTIL 30 JUNE 2020.
For booking details and further information see here.
A new suite of online, continuing professional development (CPD) courses for healthcare professionals around the world interested in sensory integration and processing launches from Sensory Integration Education this month.
The first course, Making Sense of Play, provides a thorough overview of theory and the evidence base applicable to the concepts of play and playfulness. The interactive online course includes 4.5 hours of content using slides with voice-over, animations, videos, quizzes and many downloadable resources, as well as links to recommended reading and resources.
Priced to be as accessible as possible at £90, SIE is offering the course at only £45 until 30 June 2020. Open to all, the course is most suitable for qualified health or education professionals who would like to refresh or update their knowledge on play.
Further CPD courses will be launched throughout the year, enabling healthcare professionals to maintain and update their knowledge with these regular accessible, compact and high-quality units.
With a 25-year pedigree in delivering world-class training in sensory integration, including our UK university-accredited MSc in Sensory Integration pathway, Sensory Integration Education’s new CPD suite offers individuals and employers the confidence that only the latest evidence-based theory and practice will be presented.
Find out more about Making Sense of Play here.
Around the world, our members and followers are living and working under the restrictions required by the COVID-19 pandemic but we can still reach out and support each other. Over the last 25 years, we’ve built a thriving, caring community of practitioners, students, academics, families, carers and people with diagnoses of sensory integration and processing difficulties.
You can access and contribute to our online communities 24/7 for free.
#BeKind #StaySafe #AllInItTogether
Here are the online forums we host on FaceBook:
SI Network Parents
SI Network Feeding and Eating
SI Network Sensory Integration Professionals
SI Network Therapists England
SI Network Therapists Ireland and Northern Ireland
SI Network Therapists Scotland
SI Network Therapists Wales
SI Network Therapists Australia and New Zealand
Please find below an invitation to participate in research being conduction by Judy Goodfellow, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Advanced SI Practitioner. Please contact Judy directly if you would like to take part.
I would like to speak to family members or carers of adults with learning/intellectual disabilities who have received Ayres SI Therapy within the last 12 months, living in the UK. My project title is: 'Exploring caregiver perceptions of communication outcomes for adults with intellectual disabilities following Ayres Sensory Integration Intervention: a qualitative study'
For family members or carers:
Could you spare an hour of your time to share your views over the phone about ASI and communication? This qualitative study uses audio-recorded telephone interviews. Taking part is entirely voluntary and all data will be anonymised throughout the study. Please contact me on Goodfellow-J3@ulster.ac.uk and I will give you more information and ask for your consent to participate if you are willing to take part.
Are you a UK therapist and qualified ASI Practitioner who has provided ASI intervention to adults with learning disabilities, and could you help with recruiting family members or carers into this study? Please contact me on Goodfellow-J3@ulster.ac.uk and I'll give you more information about how you can help.
I understand that the timing for this study has landed within a restricted period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate that this will affect people in a variety of ways. This study carries no risk to COVID-19 due to being telephone interviews and email correspondence. I aim to interview a maximum of 10 participants, all within the UK.
This study has received full ethical approval from NHS North of Scotland Research Ethics Service [NoSRES] and Research and Development (R&D) Management Approval - Tayside (NHS Tayside).
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner
We’re delighted to bring you this guest blog post from Susan Griffiths, ASD Occupational Therapy Lead for an NHS Foundation Trust, and SIE member and Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner:
“There are 12 million people with hearing loss across the UK – that is 1 in 6 of us (data obtained from Action on Learning). I am one of those people. I am a hearing aid user and lip reader and I rely on both to be able to communicate effectively with people, especially in my role as an Occupational Therapist and Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner.
As a deaf person and as an OT, I have always been aware of the impact the environment has on our disability. My SI training has further increased my awareness and understanding of how our environment can support or inhibit our sensory needs. If we do not get the environment right then our environment can be a significant barrier to everyday participation.
At the beginning of April 2020, one single change to the environment has made me more disabled than I have ever been in my life – the introduction of face masks! I could no longer use my lip reading skills to help me discriminate between different sounds and words to ensure that I interpret what I hear accurately. I had seriously underestimated how much I rely on lip reading until that ability was taken away from me.
This pandemic has really highlighted the lack of deaf awareness in our society. Why has it taken a pandemic to realise that face masks are a significant communication barrier, not just for the hearing loss population, but also for people with dementia, learning disabilities, and the very young children.
The UK government is not currently advising most people to wear masks, but this could change if the scientific advisers recommend it. The impact of more people wearing masks on our ability to engage in everyday activities once lockdown is relaxed, such as shopping, meeting friends for coffee, and attending therapy appointments, will be devastating!
The single flaw in the design of face masks is the fact that they are not see-through. On Twitter, an American college student generated a lot of interest after she shared a homemade clear mask that she made. However, this is only beneficial if it is recognised that every single mask needs to be a see-through mask, throughout society. In addition, for see-through masks to be used in health environments, they have to be economical and meet stringent standards to ensure they are safe and offer protection from viruses.
The reality is that this is not going to happen, at least not now during the pandemic when face masks and other PPE equipment are scarce. However, I do hope that in the future this is something that we can learn from and hope that see-through face masks become the norm.
Written by: Susan Griffiths @SusanGriffiths5
Each month we bring you a selection of journal articles related to sensory integration and processing:
This new research study found that sleep deprivation has profound effects on interoception and that disordered sleep is associated with altered interoception.
The results of this new research showed children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and Attention and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms showed greater variability of atypical sensory processing patterns compared with typically developing children. Low registration and sensory sensibility issues were more prevalent in the DCD group. ADHD children showed higher rates of low registration, sensory sensibility and sensory seeking, and all children in the co-occurring symptoms group presented sensory sensibility.
This research study investigated the link between Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) and Type 1 Diabetes. Results indicated that higher levels of SPS are found in individuals with Type 1 Diabetes than individuals without Type 1 Diabetes. These findings suggest the need to develop improved intervention and treatment processes for individuals with Type 1 Diabetes with consideration to their potential sensory processing sensitivities.
This study used the Sensory Profile questionnaire to assess behavioural responses to sensory stimuli and categorise sensory modulation disorders in children with active epilepsy (aged 4–17 years). The study found that children with epilepsy reported increased behavioural responses associated with sensory “sensitivity,” “sensory avoidance,” and “poor registration” but not “sensory seeking.” Comorbidity of ASD and ADHD was associated with more severe sensory modulation problems, although 27% of typically developing children with epilepsy also reported a sensory modulation disorder. The authors concluded that sensory modulation disorders are an under-recognised problem in children with epilepsy and that the extent of the modulation difficulties indicates an impact on children's ability to participate in daily life.
This research explored the link between premature births and the impact on daily functioning and behaviour in early childhood as a result of sensory processing difficulties. Researchers used Sensory Profile questionnaires, Test of Sensory Functions in Infants, the Miller Assessment for Pre-schoolers and the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test. The study indicated large scale differences in sensory processing; modulation, somatosensory processing and sensory-based motor processing in children who were born prematurely. These results may indicate the need for routine screening of sensory processing, and parent consultation should be considered in order to improve sensory processing and neuro-cognitive development from an early stage.
This article explores the outcome of Ayres Sensory Integration (ASI) treatment on improving sensory processing and motor planning, in order to lay the sensory-motor foundation for improving grasp of objects, an important first step in developing functional hand use in Rett Syndrome. Loss of hand function skills is a typical characteristic of Rett Syndrome which impacts on the individual’s participation in self-care, play and school activities. The researchers explored the benefits of ASI intervention on reaching and grasping for children with Rett Syndrome. Results indicated small improvements in hand grasp following ASI intervention. These results indicate a foundation for furthermore in-depth research on the benefits of ASI intervention with Rett Syndrome.
This research study investigated the sensory processing, praxis and related social participation of children with Down syndrome with the purpose of contributing to a better understanding of the importance of including sensory integration therapy as part of intervention. A cross sectional study design was used and data was collected on 15 participants using the Sensory Processing Measure (SPM) Home Form. The researchers found that the majority of the children with Down syndrome included in the study experienced vulnerabilities in social participation (53.3%) and praxis (80.0%), whereas 100% of the children experienced vulnerabilities in sensory processing. The authors concluded that, whilst the results of this study contribute to the emerging understanding of the sensory processing, praxis and related social participation of children with Down syndrome, it is recommended that further studies on larger samples investigate this topic to corroborate these findings.
In this study, researchers investigated proprioception functioning in adults with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome; a group of connective tissue disorders characterised by joint hyper-mobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyper-extensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility.
This study explored the Sensory Processing of children aged 3-10 years who had experienced a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Information was gathered from caregivers though use of the Sensory Profile. Results indicated that children with a TBI mostly presented with sensory processing abilities outside of the typical range. These results provide proof of the need to incorporate sensory processing assessment in clinical assessments of children who have experience a TBI.
There is growing evidence to suggest that children with neurodevelopmental disorders may evidence differences in their sensory processing. The aim of this study was to compare sensory processing patterns in three genetic syndromes associated with sensory difference.
Our thoughts go out to all of you who have been affected by the unprecedented situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19). For 25 years our mission has been to support and educate our community of practice in order to improve the lives of those with sensory integration and processing challenges. We want to reassure you that we will continue to do so, with some essential changes to ensure the health and wellbeing of all involved.
We know that the coming months are filled with uncertainty and we want to help support you as best we can. Via our social media channels, we will continue to share practical advice on working with or caring for people with sensory processing and sensory integration difficulties. See the links to our channels at the bottom of this page.
We also have an SI Parents Group on Facebook where you can communicate with other sensory families, share experiences and ask questions.
Many of you will have altered home and work circumstances due to requirements to socially distance. Some of you may suddenly find you are caring for someone with sensory challenges without accessing the normal school and therapy resources.
What is better understood is better managed. We are very mindful that these are uncertain times and in order to best support you we’ve dropped the price significantly on our two popular online introduction courses. Both are aimed at anyone wanting to understand how sensory challenges arise, how they impact on behaviour and suggestions for sensory activities and changes to the individual’s environment you can make.
Online Introduction to Sensory Integration Difficulties
4 hours of content using slides with voice-over, animations, videos, quizzes and many resources to download. Was £49, NOW ONLY £10 UNTIL 30 JUNE 2020.
Online Introduction to Sensory Integration Difficulties For Schools
Relevant to homeschooling parents too! 4 hours of content using slides with voice-over, animations, videos, quizzes and many resources to download. Was £49, NOW ONLY £10 UNTIL 30 JUNE 2020.
For our OT, PT and SLT members, we are continuing to run our online SI Practitioner training pathway. You can study online to train as an SI Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner, all the way through PGCert and PGDip qualifications to an MSc in Sensory Integration - all accredited by a UK university. Find out more about how you can gain these qualifications by studying from home.
Online SI Module 1: Foundations and Neuroscience - extended booking deadline
For therapists wishing to start their first step to becoming a qualified SI Practitioner, we’ve extended the booking deadline for this first module to 3 April. The module starts on 27 April 2020.
Applying SI Therapy Principles With Older Adults Live Online Training Day: 24 April 2020
Open to all, this training event will be of particular interest to therapists new to sensory integration, as well as nurses, social workers and other health and social care workers delivering therapy or care to older adults. You can access and interact with this live-streamed training event via the internet. Our experienced lecturer, a practising Advanced Practitioner will present an overview on the ways in which therapists and carers can combine Sensory Integration therapy into personalised and everyday life activities for those living with organic brain disorders, such as dementia. Was £95, NOW ONLY £45.
We are also working on bringing you further online courses over the coming months.
Remember that we offer interest-free monthly payment plans: if you’d like to discuss extending the length of the payment plan to reduce the monthly cost, please just get in touch. We accept the following currencies: GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD and USD.
Our Support Team are working remotely and are still on hand to answer your questions: email@example.com
Take care of yourselves, those you care for and your communities.
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