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 News and Updates

  • 11 Nov 2020 14:55 | SIE News (Administrator)

    We’re so excited to tell you about our Christmas special offer but the first thing you need to know is that it EXPIRES ON MIDNIGHT FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER 2020.

    Looking ahead to 2021, would you like to start the year with a positive plan of action to upskill and invigorate your career and enhance your care delivery to clients?

    If you would like to begin training on a UK-university-accredited postgraduate course that delivers internationally recognised qualifications (PGCert, PGDip) and the ability to practise as a Sensory Integration Practitioner or Advanced Practitioner, then take advantage of our Christmas special offer:

    Book onto the SI Module 1: Foundations and Neuroscience starting 11 January 2021 and receive a FREE Masterclass Series lecture and FREE Therapist Membership to SIE for one year (value £40). This is also your very last chance to book onto this module at 2020 prices, saving you £150. Find out more about this online module here.

    Confident that you want to commit to adding sensory integration therapy to your knowledge and skill set when treating clients? Then these special offers are for you:

    Book onto the Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Integration (successful completion conveys SI Practitioner status) starting on 11 January 2021 and and receive THREE FREE Masterclass Series lectures and FREE Therapist Membership to SIE for one year (value £40). Find out more about the PGCert in SI course here.

    Book onto the Postgraduate Diploma in Sensory Integration (successful completion conveys Advanced Practitioner status) starting on 11 January 2021 and receive THREE FREE Masterclass Series lectures and FREE Therapist Membership to SIE for one year (value £40). Find out more about the PGDip in SI course here.

    All these courses are accredited by Sheffield Hallam University - UK University of the Year for Teaching Quality 2020.

    The Masterclass Series is a new suite of online lectures aimed at people looking to advance their understanding of sensory integration related subjects, delivered by international experts. Each Masterclass is hosted by a highly-experienced professional in that specialist subject, offering you insights and drawing on their deep, practical knowledge of that field. The Masterclass Series is your shortcut to high-quality, easily accessible and affordable continuing professional development hours.

    Book now so you can relax over the holiday period knowing that you are going to start 2021 with your career development plans already in place.

    All these offers EXPIRE ON MIDNIGHT FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER 2020.

  • 09 Nov 2020 09:04 | SIE News (Administrator)

    The Masterclass Series is a new suite of online lectures aimed at people looking to advance their understanding of sensory integration related subjects, delivered by international experts.

    Each Masterclass is hosted by a highly-experienced professional in that specialist subject, offering you insights and drawing on their deep, practical knowledge of that field. The Masterclass Series is your shortcut to high-quality, easily accessible and affordable continuing professional development hours.

    The first three Masterclasses are:

    How to use the SPD Nosology: Clinical Understanding and Application by Dr. Sarah Schoen, PhD, OTR/L – Director of Research, STAR Institute

    Dr. Schoen is an occupational therapist with 30 years of clinical experience and a doctorate in occupational therapy from New York University (2001). She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship awarded by the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Department of Psychiatry, working with Dr. Lucy Jane Miller.

    During her fellowship she was awarded the Developmental Psychology Endowment Grant from the William T Grant foundation to study the Sensory Processing Scales, which she is co-developing and researching with Dr. Miller. Dr Schoen is currently an Associate Professor at the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and has served on multiple doctoral committees.

    She also co-developed and teaches the monthly Advanced Mentorship training at the SPD Foundation. She is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment and has advanced training in Sensory Integration Therapy, Therapeutic Listening, and assistive technology. Dr. Schoen received the Recognition of Achievement Award from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 1997 and the Virginia Scardina Award of Excellence from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation in 2011.

    Live 2-hour, online lecture on 20 January 2021, 4pm to 6pm UK time: only £25. Find out more and how to book here.

    Sensory Integration/Processing and Sense of Self by Virginia Spielmann, MSOT – Executive Director, STAR Institute

    Virginia is a well-travelled speaker, coach and educator on topics including sensory integration, DIR/Floortime, child development and infant mental health. She has conducted training in Kenya, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the USA and leads workshops at international conferences.

    Virginia is a founder and former Clinical Director of SPOT (Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy) Interdisciplinary Children's Therapy Center in Hong Kong, where she led a large and widely respected interdisciplinary team.

    Virginia obtained her BSc in Occupational Therapy in Oxford England (2002) and her Masters in Occupational Therapy from Mount Mary University, Milwaukee (2018). She is a DIR/Floortime Training Leader and Expert and clinical consultant for the Interdisciplinary Council for Development and Learning (ICDL). Her extensive pediatric experience includes children on the autism spectrum, as well as those with Sensory Processing Disorder, infant mental health issues, children from adopted families and those who have experienced developmental trauma.

    Virginia has considerable post-graduate training, she is certified on the SIPT and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Development with an emphasis on mental health, with Fielding Graduate University, in Santa Barbara.

    Live 2-hour, online lecture on 17 February 2021, 4 pm to 6 pm UK time: only £25. Find out more and how to book here.

    Is it ADHD, SPD, or Both? by Mim Ochsenbein, MSW, OTR/L – Director of Education, STAR Institute

    Mim Ochsenbein has been a practicing pediatric occupational therapist for over 20 years. She received her BSc in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 1996 and her MSW from the university of California-Los Angeles in 2012 with an emphasis in non-profit management. She has received advanced training in sensory integration (SIPT certification, SPD ProCert1, SPD ProCert2), listening therapy (Therapeutic Listening, iLs), feeding therapy (SOS), DIR and infant massage (CIMI).

    Her work in occupational therapy with children and youth has occurred in a variety of settings including early intervention, school based, clinic based, mental health and private practice. As a social worker she provided case management, program development, and program management. Mim has taught both graduate level and professional continuing education courses since 2013, and has been at the STAR Institute since 2017 at the invitation of Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, FAOTA, OTR.

    Live 2-hour, online lecture on 24 March 2021, 3pm to 5pm UK time: only £25. Find out more and how to book here.

    For those who cannot attend the live date, we are offering a video recording of the live lecture for the same price for a limited time after the event.

    We have some very exciting Masterclass hosts finalising their dates with us: watch our social media for announcements. 

    We hope you enjoy this new series!

  • 05 Nov 2020 11:38 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Many of the national holidays around the world incorporate fireworks. Here in the UK, tonight is Bonfire Night which usually sees a few days of large public and smaller private fireworks displays and bonfires. Even during COVID-19 restrictions, there are expected to be many private displays. But these bright, loud, smoky displays can be overwhelmingly noisy and unpredictable for people with sensory integration and sensory processing difficulties - particularly for children who may not be prepared for the event. We’ve collated some tips and alternatives that you can try to better manage such celebrations.

    Be Prepared

    Ahead of time, explain to your child what happens during fireworks and bonfire displays. There are lots of free, downloadable social stories on the internet: this one, although specific to July 4th celebrations, is very good.

    Younger children might enjoy looking at picture books about fireworks, such as Daniel Tiger’s First Fireworks.

    Ensure your child understands the safety rules around fireworks displays, including not getting close to the fire or where the fireworks are lit and not picking up used fireworks or sparklers from the ground.

    In the days leading up to the event, do lots of physical activities with your child particularly physical exercise that involves resistance activities. Here are some suggestions for heavy work activities

    During the Fireworks

    Plan where to watch the fireworks from, especially if you think your child will be distressed by the loud bangs and screeching noises. This could be from a window inside your home, from a distant vantage point or from the security of the car. All these ideas will help to muffle the sound of the fireworks.

    If your child finds deep pressure touch regulating, they may find it comforting to wear a layer of tight clothes next to the skin; for example, a tight thermal vest, exercise leggings or compression stockings. They may find it calming to carry a weighted backpack too.

    Take a sensory kit packed with favourite, comforting fidgets and sensory toys, a special blanket and drinks and snacks - these will help to reduce the focus on the noise of the fireworks.

    If your child can tolerate ear defenders, wearing these (or ear muffs, ear plugs or headphones if you don’t have ear defenders) will help to dull the sounds of the event.

    Be prepared to leave. If your child becomes overwhelmed, be prepared (and prepare the rest of your family) to calmly leave the situation.

    Recognise that a lot of sensory stimulation will be very tiring to your child: be patient if they struggle with their bedtime routine during fireworks season.

    Alternatives to Fireworks

    You may decide to avoid fireworks all together if your child simply finds them distressing. Make a plan for what you are going to do instead, particularly if there are likely to be local private displays near your home; for example, you could close the curtains and play music or have the tv on.

    Search for a televised fireworks display: you can even watch it with the sound off!

    Apps that allow your child to create and set off animated fireworks are fun and controlled ways to enjoy the evening celebrations, such as this free one iLoveFireworksLite

    You can replicate some of the sensory experiences associated with fireworks at home using glitter sticks , such as these or by making your own sparkly sensory bottles (tutorial here).

    Messy play firework activities are a good way to support tactile sensitivities. This tutorial explains how to make paintbrushes from spaghetti which can them be used to paint firework pictures.

    We like this sensory play activity because it can be linked to a fire safety theme: create a bonfire out of shaving foam and coloured powder and then ask your child to extinguish it with a spray bottle of water. 

    Make a colourful, kinetic display by combining milk, food colouring and soap: tutorial here

    Create colourful, fizzing fireworks with only kitchen cupboard ingredients: tutorial here.

    This activity is fun, self-regulating and uses oral motor skills: squeeze blobs of paint onto a large piece of paper and ask your child to use a straw to blow the paint around the paper creating fireworks from the paint.

  • 29 Oct 2020 21:35 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Learn the sensory analysis benefits of working in the water and how to employ both the principles of sensory integration therapy and sensory attachment therapy within a pool setting during this new live, online workshop: Aquatic Sensory Integration.

    Taught by experienced occupational therapist and accredited Advanced SI Practitioner, Emma Jerman, this exciting new course for therapists is on 7 December 2020.

    The live, interactive presentation will include what happens in an aquatic SI session, videos of games to play in the water and ideas for clients to try themselves.

    What is aquatic sensory integration?

    Aquatic SI uses the principles of sensory integration but in the environment of water. The pool offers extra sensory properties that may not be replicable on land, with the water offering 30 times more pressure than air and providing a unique full-body pressure experience that many clients find calming and organising. Moving around in the water also creates controlled vestibular stimulation and provides opportunities for working on enhanced proprioceptive and tactile feedback.

    Research continues to support the concept that water is an ideal medium in which to rehabilitate the body, as well as develop oral motor and breathing control. Aquatic SI therapy focuses on therapeutic, play-based functional activities in water that can help with many areas of difficulties associated with sensory integration or processing.

    What is aquatic sensory attachment therapy?

    With children who have experienced trauma, have been adopted or are looked after children, Emma uses sensory attachment therapy in the pool environment. In sensory attachment therapy she employs the principles of sensory integration and attachment but encourages the parent to be the lead therapist to strengthen the parent/carer-child bond and co-regulation. It works really well because the child needs the support of the parent in the water. Being in the water helps the child to build up trust with the parent as they aid them in this fun, sensory-rich activity.

    Does a child need to know how to swim to benefit from aquatic SI?

    No, aquatic SI is very accessible. It can work in the shallow part of the pool and build water confidence in a safe, supportive environment.

    Format of the course

    This is a live, interactive, online training day presented over Zoom. Starting at 9.30 am UK time and finishing at 3.00pm UK time on Monday 7 December 2020. It comprises three x 1.5 hour sessions with a 30 minute break between each session. This exciting training day is only £45.

    About your presenter

    Emma Jerman is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, trained in aquatic sensory integration. Emma is an accredited Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner and has an MSc in Advanced OT. She has additional swimming teacher and Halliwick Aquatic Therapy Training qualifications and works with children with a range of disabilities, as well as adopted children with their new parents and carers.

    This workshop is sure to sell out fast: book your place now.

  • 28 Oct 2020 15:31 | SIE News (Administrator)

    For the first time ever, Meg Faure, OT and author of esteemed parenting books including Baby Sense, Sleep Sense, Feeding Sense and Weaning Sense, is presenting her popular Infant Sense Integration Training courses as live, online webinars in collaboration with Sensory Integration Education.

    Open to all and available globally, these three live, online training days will NOW ALSO BE AVAILABLE AS RECORDINGS for those who cannot make the live dates.

    Infancy and the two years beyond are known as ‘The 1001 critical days’. It is during this period that the infant develops the foundations for future learning, relationships and behaviour. Click on the links below to book your place on each course.

    Infant Sense Integration Training Part 1: SI, Relationships and Self-regulation in Infants and Toddlers:

    30 October 2020 (starts 9.30 am UK time)

    At birth, a newborn’s genetic and congenital make-up provides a base for their engagement style, based on the infant’s sensory profile. The way the infant is nurtured, their early relationships and goodness of fit between sensory processing and the environment, strongly influences the baby’s ability to self-regulate. Adaptive self-regulation is the foundation of most aspects of learning and function.

    This course will equip therapists to recognise a baby/toddler’s sensory processing style, assist parents to build constructive early engagement and relationships and in so doing promote self-regulation in the infant and toddler.

    Infant Sense Integration Training Part 2: Infant Regulatory Disorders of Mood, Sleep and Feeding:

    20 November 2020 (starts 9.30 am UK time)

    Starting in utero, the infant begins to establish self-regulation and over the first 5 years of life must self-regulate mood, sleep and feeding. Self-regulation is developed in the context of inherent factors (sensory integration) and extrinsic factors (relationship).

    This course will look at three key areas of self-regulation in infancy and toddlers – mood, sleep and feeding. Therapists will understand how typically developing babies self-regulate these areas and how to recognise infant regulatory disorders of mood, sleep and feeding. The course deals with assessment and management of these areas.

    Infant Sense Integration Training Part 3: Sensory Integration Disorders:

    29 January 2021 (starts 9.30 am UK time)

    The intrinsic contribution of sensory processing has a fundamental effect on all areas of development. Infants with sensory processing deficits may manifest with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties.

    This course will look at sensory integration deficits and social-emotional deficits. Therapists will learn assessment strategies for assessing SI deficits in infants. Treatment approaches, including working through the mother and hands on SI interventions will be explored. Treatment techniques for social-emotional deficits in infancy will be discussed.

    These courses are live, interactive, online workshops direct with Meg, with each day comprising three sessions of 1.5 hours with a break between each session. Please note to proceed to Parts 2 and 3, you must have undertaken Part 1 or purchased the recording of Part 1. The courses are open to all and prior knowledge of sensory integration is not required.

    In continuing recognition of the difficult times due to Covid-19, we have reduced the usual fee of £95 per course to ONLY £65 per course. This is amazing value for 5.5 hours of live CPD training with a world-renowned presenter. Video recordings of the sessions will be available to purchase after the events for a limited period at £65 each.

    Find out more about your trainer Meg Faure click here.

  • 28 Oct 2020 10:43 | SIE Support (Administrator)

    We have renamed our membership categories to help signpost people interested in sensory integration to the best membership category for them, plus we’ve boosted our membership benefits. Here are the new membership categories and below you’ll find a table explaining the benefits of each level.

    Affiliate Members 

    Our Bronze category of membership is now Affiliate Membership and remains and always will be free. We are proud to be a not-for-profit organisation, investing surpluses back into course development, supporting early-career researchers and disseminating curated information on sensory integration and processing. We want as many people as possible to understand and recognise sensory needs and know where to go to seek help and support for sensory needs: if you have an interest, personal or professional, in learning more about sensory integration, you can have free Affiliate Membership with us, always. See the table below for the benefits that you can access.

    Professional Members 

    As part of your working life, do you come into contact with people who may have sensory needs? Would you be able to do your job better if you understood that people may have different sensory needs and to understand how to recognise and make adjustments to accommodate those needs? Open to all, Professional Membership is suited to professionals who will come into contact with people with SI difficulties, for example but not limited to: Allied Health Professionals; education and SEN staff; social workers; adoption agency staff and adoptive parents; care workers; psychologists; GPs; mental health professionals; emergency services staff; prison staff; nursing staff; human resources professionals; people with responsibility for improving accessibility in their workplace, etc. See the table below for the benefits that you can access.

    Therapist Members 

    This level of membership is exclusive to therapists around the world who are eligible to qualify and practice as Sensory Integration Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners on our MSc in Sensory Integration pathway, accredited by Sheffield Hallam University. If you are a qualified Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist or Speech and Language Therapist interested in training in or advancing your practice of sensory integration therapy, this is the category that delivers huge benefits for you. For 25 years, we have provided world-class training in and a community of practice for Ayres’ Sensory Integration® (ASI) theory and therapy. Find out what we can do for your career.

    Membership Badges

    You can now download your SIE membership badge to display on your website and/or social media. Just log in to the My SI section of our website.

    Membership Benefits

    Find out how to join here. If you would like to manage your membership with us, log on to your account and view your profile under My SI.

  • 26 Oct 2020 12:35 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Congratulations to SIE member Lisa Slack, Specialist Occupational Therapist, who has been awarded an Elizabeth Casson Trust Innovation Award for her project which aims to increase awareness and understanding of the fundamental significance of sensory normalisation in critical care and how this might impact on the patient experience.

    Working within Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Lisa will be running a series of co-designed workshops to develop a sensory-based resource with patients, relatives/carers and members of the multidisciplinary team aimed at improving patient experience in critical care.

    Lisa said: “Thanks to the Elizabeth Casson Trust and support of my fantastic colleagues I have been provided with the opportunity to further develop and implement a resource focused on a sensory based approach, within the area of critical care at Newcastle hospitals, whilst also promoting the role of OT.

    “It is estimated that up to 40% of critical care-associated delirium may be preventable. Multifactorial prevention strategies, such as avoidance of sensory deprivation and overload, cognitive and environmental stimulation, engagement in purposeful activity and the provision of visual and hearing aids have been found to reduce the incidence of delirium in the critical Care setting. Occupational Therapists are in a position to both apply this approach to their interventions with critical care patients, and to educate and inform other health professionals to adopt a similar approach to normalising sensory input for their patients.

    “I am very excited to be involved in this project and very much looking forward to sharing the outcomes.”

    We wish Lisa well in her research and look forward to hearing the results.

    If you would like us to share sensory integration related research that you are working on or have published, let us know at support@sensoryintegration.org.uk 

  • 14 Oct 2020 11:52 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Sensory Integration Education (SIE) is delighted to announce that Harkla, provider of high quality special needs products, now has preferred supplier status and offers a 10% discount to SIE members.

    Harkla started in 2015 with the goal of helping those with special needs live happy and healthy lives. Their high-quality products, backed by impressive customer service and a lifetime guarantee, aim to improve sleep and relaxation at home, focus and behaviour in the classroom, and growth and development at therapy.

    Harkla also donates 1% of every sale to the University of Washington Autism Center. This money gets split between funding research focused on autism and covering the expenses of therapy for families in need. Every year they also provide a scholarship to the University of Washington’s APEX Summer Camp, which combines fun camp activities with therapy to help ASD children grow even more.

    All Sensory Integration Education members (and the first tier of membership is free) can now enjoy a 10% discount with Harkla. To discover your discount codes for our preferred suppliers (which also include Southpaw and Chewigem), simply log in to your Sensory Integration Education membership account and click on “My SI”, then "Member Resources".

    You can find out how to join Sensory Integration Education here.

  • 06 Oct 2020 06:00 | SIE News (Administrator)

    On World CP Day (6 October), we're delighted to bring you this guest blog from Georgia Vine: occupational therapy student; CP Teens UK Upcoming Disability Blogger of the Year 2020; Digital Production Director & Global Students ambassador for Occupational Therapist Without Borders; and founder of the Not So Terrible Palsy blog.

    I’m Georgia, I have cerebral palsy and I am a third-year student at Sheffield Hallam University studying occupational therapy. I chose to study occupational therapy because of the significant role my occupational therapists played in my life when I was growing up.

    Due to my disability, I have a lot of physical difficulties, so I knew from day one that I would find the course quite physically demanding. I had a lot of worries when I got a place at university as I knew it wasn’t going to be plain sailing. There were many questions to answer… 'Would I be able to cope with the work?’ ‘Would I be able to do a degree?’ Which I know may seem dramatic; but I had to be real with myself, and face reality even if that was the case.

    However, the questions didn’t come from my head, the questions came from the doctor at my occupational health appointment, which I had to have, to ensure that I was fit to go to university.

    I remember him asking me so many questions like, “What would happen if a patient asks you to do something that you can’t do?’’ and to be fair I do have to be realistic and seriously consider which job I want to go in to within occupational therapy, but I was very distressed after this appointment. This was because I’d been getting so excited about September, so it was really disheartening to hear such negative questions.

    Shortly after this appointment, I had my induction day, on which understandably I was very anxious about because of the previous events. I became so anxious I broke down in tears. But I guess I broke down in the right place, at the right time, because at the end of that day the lecturer that helped me through, came up to me and said ”Georgia, don’t worry, we are going to prepare for the hard parts”. This conversation meant a lot to me and was probably the highlight of my induction day. Following the induction day my lecturers arranged a meeting with my mum and myself, to plan, and discuss my anxieties, and from this meeting a lot of my worries were dealt with.

    Forward planning was put into place with some teaching sessions, as we knew that I would struggle when having manual handling training. But as mentioned, my lecturers had already prepared for this, and my reasonable adjustments in relation to moving and handling lectures had already been put into place. It was decided that I would do the manual handling on my own first, to try it, and then if I couldn’t do it or felt embarrassed I didn’t have to go to the training with everyone. This solution made me feel a lot more at ease, and I was very touched that they’d given this so much thought.

    There are always hurdles along the way- my pre-placement learning agreement changes on a regular basis, as I always find something new that I need support with. Yes, it is hard, and I’ve had some really tough moments on placements and I’m still going through changes that I didn’t think I’d ever need to go through. For example, coming to terms with sometimes needing a communication aid on placement due to my speech impairment has been really hard. But I get through it because I don’t have to go through it alone. I have the support of my parents and lecturers and I never worry too much, because I know that I have an amazing team in my corner.

    My role emerging occupational therapy placement that I completed virtually earlier this year was a turning point for me. It enabled me to feel so much more independent. During this placement I had the most control I had ever had as an occupational therapy student. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was probably the most independent, I have ever been.

    Of course, one of the reasons was because it was my third placement and I knew a lot about my needs, but the biggest factor by far was that I had a great supervisor, who knew my needs well and it worked. This relationship and trust was so essential to me because I just felt so relaxed having someone that knew me so well. Working from home as well as having this relationship with my supervisor was great, because, if I’d had a bad night, I could get up later and it wasn’t an issue. My supervisor knew me so well, and knew that whether I started at 9am or 12pm I would get done what I needed to that day.

    I know that there will be more hurdles along the way, but that’s okay because university and I will continue to work as a team to solve them.

    Happy World CP Day 2020!

    Thank you for reading,


  • 05 Oct 2020 13:02 | SIE News (Administrator)

    We need your help! We’re investigating how the sensory community (including professionals who work with people with sensory integration and processing difficulties, individuals with such difficulties and their families or carers) have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

    It takes less than 10 minutes to share your experiences with us on this brief survey and we’ll share the results in our special report later this Autumn.

    We’d be very grateful if you can help contribute to a greater understanding of how the lockdown and subsequent ongoing pandemic restrictions to work and daily life have affected you.

    Click on the text that best describes you to complete the short, anonymous survey:

    Do you have contact with individuals with sensory integration or processing difficulties as part of your work life? (eg as a therapist, school staff, public service worker, etc).

    Are you an individual with sensory integration or processing difficulties or a family member or carer of an individual sensory integration or processing difficulties?

    Thank you!

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