My name is Steph Simpson and I am the proud mother of Thomas who is 7 years old and has Williams Syndrome. By profession I’m a Chartered Engineer and had no awareness of SI, but when Thomas was a baby, I met a new friend at a local Parent and Toddler Group. Although I didn’t know it at the time, she is an SI-qualified OT. This serendipitous friendship was the start of my SI journey. It’s not been a straightforward one, but, in spite of SI Therapy not being commissioned by my local NHS Trust, my Son’s need for a Sensory Diet and weekly SI Therapy now appears in his EHCP. He is happy, he is making good progress at school and life is so much better than it would have been without this essential support.
Immediately after Thomas’ sensory needs were assessed, we were given a Sensory Diet for him. Simply following this diet made a life-changing difference to my family. I was struck by the enormous impact that even a small amount of SI knowledge could have in the hands of the people who live with and support Thomas. Since then, I have read – lots and I have attended many SI Therapy sessions with my son. It was last year that my friend mentioned the Sensory Integration Education’s Autumn Conference and reassured me that it was indeed for everyone – not just therapists. So I booked my place early and it was well worth the wait.
In my professional life, I gauge the value of a conference not just by how much I learn on the day, but by how much more I want to learn afterwards. After all, I don’t know what I don’t know until I attend an event like this. The Autumn Conference was simply the most compelling event that I have ever attended. I don’t pretend to have understood every word that I heard, but that’s the fun of it – there is so much more to learn and I came away feeling certain that I should enrol on the Module 1 Course.
My other reflection is a more melancholy one: Every single day, my family benefits from the world of SI that was only opened to us by a single, chance friendship. In the county where I live, there is no easily accessible means by which other children (or adults) with SI needs can even have these identified, let alone met. Knowledge is truly powerful - it is a catalyst for change - and that is why the work of the SIE is so critically important.
Sensory Integration Education have appointed a new lead for video production to lead on our filming project
What is the Project?
Our exciting and ambitious filming project aims to develop a large database of up to date video material that will include therapists and service users talking about experiences and providing advice for our students, lectures on key concepts, as well as assessments and intervention sessions. The video material will be used in our modules and CPD courses to demonstrate practice and support our students to develop clinical reasoning skills.
Who is our new Lead for Video Production?
Sensory Integration Education are delighted to welcome Cathy Warne to our online learning team as Lead for Video Production. Cathy is an experienced advanced SI occupational therapist practitioner with a wealth of SI knowledge and skills. She has held a number of other contracts within Sensory Integration Education including EmphaSIze editor where her strong academic and superb time manage skills have been evident.
Cathy’s role will include sourcing videoing opportunities, managing the process and most importantly supporting practitioners, their clients and our filming team to ensure production of relevant, high quality material is gathered within a safe environment and process.
How can you get involved?
If you are interested in becoming part of this project you can find more information about the project, remuneration rates and how to apply here. We also have information for parents / carers here and if you would like to see a copy of our consent form please contact us.
As an organisation, Sensory Integration Education is committed to supporting the development of early career SI researchers by providing financial, recruitment and dissemination support.
With this goal in mind, we are delighted to announce that we are making £500 bursary awards available for students who have been or who are enrolled on the Ulster University Masters Module in Sensory Integration in the academic year of 2017/18 and/or 2018/19 and who have their abstracts accepted by the ESIC 2019 Scientific Committee. But, hurry, the deadline for submission to ESIC is 10 December.
ESIC 2019 will focus on how sensory processing translates into everyday activities and quality of life. The ESIC 2019 Scientific Committee has issued a call for individual papers, roundtable submissions and posters. Proposals are accepted in English and Greek and should address the conference theme.
Students submitting abstracts must be able to attend the conference, held in Thessaloniki in June 2019, to present their paper in person.
Students can only submit one paper proposal per individual. Send your proposal (maximum of 250 words) and a one-page CV to: email@example.com by Monday 10 December 2018.
To be eligible for the Sensory Integration Education £500 bursary, you must have been or are enrolled on the Ulster University Masters Module in SI in the academic year of 2017/18 and/or 2018/19 AND have your abstract accepted by the ESIC 2019 Scientific Committee. Successful students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for the bursary.
EUROPEAN SENSORY INTEGRATION CONGRESS (ESIC)
20-22 June 2019
"Translating Sensory Processing into Quality of Life in Various Environments"
Hosted by: The Hellenic Scientific Society for Sensory Integration
Venue: Macedonia Palace Hotel, Thessaloniki.
On the 10th November 2018, at Sensory Integration Education’s Autumn Conference, Sue Delport, (EASI Lead for Wales), shared with delegates the latest Update on the EASI Normative Data Collection Project for the UK and Ireland.
For those unable to attend this event, here is a brief summary of the update, sent out to the Country Leads, from Kath Smith, the Regional Lead for the British Isles EASI INDC Team:
“The EASI has a strong foundation in the history and research that underpins Ayres' Sensory Integration, with the development of the test being led by Dr Zoe Mailloux, Dr A Jean Ayres’ Research Assistant for the development of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests, published in 1989.
Like the EASI, the SIPT was developed with reference to an earlier set of tests, these original tests, the Southern Californian Sensory Integration Tests (SCSIT) were Ayres' original tests for identifying sensory integration difficulties.
Part of the development of the EASI includes the collection of normative data across the globe. This global project includes the establishment of EASI British Isles normative data collection team.
Currently, research and developments in Ayres' Sensory Integration are very exciting, as a new test the EASI is being developed.
To date the team have helped to review items in development, creating a social media space to gather therapists trained in or learning ASI from across the UK and Ireland and most recently in developing the British Isles contribution to helping international testers learn the EASI so normative data collection can happen.
There is a copy of a slide from a presentation by Dr Smith Roley explaining the process of the EASI Test Development. The green arrow indicates where the project is at right now – there is a still a way to go and the test won’t be ready to use until 2020. (Click here for the whole presentation.)
The EASI Testing Regions for the UK and Ireland have been defined by EU NUTS - https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/nuts/background
England - North East
England - North West
England - Yorkshire and the Humber
England - West Midlands
England - East Midlands
England - East Anglia
England - South West
England - South East
England - Greater London
To carry out the data collection in the UK and Ireland, ethics applications are required.
The process for doing this is underway for Scotland as the first UK region, so that we can then easily replicate this process across the UK. Dr Sinead Rhodes Deputy Director of SMC Research Centre, University of Edinburgh is helping support the project, working with the EASI Lead for Scotland, Amanda Adamson and Kath Smith, Region Lead for UK and Ireland to ensure that the relevant ethics is in place for the project. Dr Helen Lynch is the EASI Lead for Ireland and an ethics application process is also underway for the data collection in Ireland.
ICO and GDPR require that the data of our volunteers is securely stored and that everyone agrees to receive further emails. Please help us ensure we are GDPR compliant by completing a regional signup here.
Everyone is welcome, we need people who are familiar with standardised tests, and people who can support the children and families volunteering to be tested – from meeting and greeting, to making cups of tea and entering data. We have a job for anyone who wants to help.
Please share this link with others who might want to volunteer via the website”.
See our progress against our founding aims and our contribution to this inspiring SI community over the last year, as well as looking forward to our future endeavours in promoting the benefits and practice of Ayres’ Sensory Integration Therapy.
Welcome to the November edition of EmphaSIze. Autumn is in full flow here in the UK and Ireland, so we are thinking about indoor and seasonal activities, such as Bonfire Night.
Also, with Occupational Therapy Week (in the UK and Ireland) on 5 - 11 November, and World OT Day having just passed, we celebrate occupational therapy in sensory integration. We would love to hear your stories and see pictures of anything you have done to publicly celebrate sensory integration here, or on Facebook and Twitter.
A number of you answered last month’s firework question and all gave good advice. Thank you everyone. We particularly liked Maureen’s answer which we thought was most personalised to the parent who asked the question. Can you answer this month’s question about regulating sleep patterns? Send us your suggestions and you could win a £25 Amazon voucher.
Open the EmphaSIze Newsletter here. No need to log in!
I am an Occupational Therapist and an Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner, completing my MSc in Sensory Integration last year.
I work for Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and am the Occupational Therapy professional lead for the specialist learning disability services, working across in patient and community services.
Over the last few years, I have worked to introduce and develop a sensory pathway in the service, using a sensory integration approach. As much of our work is community based we do not have access to a sensory integration clinic space so have worked to use the theories and philosophies of Ayres sensory Integration and incorporate them into individual client centred programmes that are practical, available and most importantly beneficial. We work with people with a learning disability who have sensory processing difficulties that affect their function and look at creative ways to increase participation and functional performance through meaningful activities – very OT!
I am also an e mentor on the module 2 course, which I find fascinating and very rewarding, particularly seeing how students develop through the course and begin to consider how to implement their learning into their different service areas and client groups.
The Royal College of Occupational Therapy’s OT week is an annual event and an opportunity for us to celebrate our profession- something we don’t do enough! This year’s theme of is 'Securing the future of occupational therapy', and we are asked to make individual pledges to support our profession. My pledge is to continue developing the sensory integration approach with the people I work with, ensuring and contributing to the evidence base that is available and continuing to demonstrate the link between sensory processing difficulties and function.
My journey into sensory integration (SI) began in 2013 whilst working in the Western Isles, Scotland. I had previously worked with SI trained therapists in Philadelphia which had peaked my interest, so when the opportunity arose for me to go to Birmingham to complete module 1, I jumped at the chance.
At this time I was working in the Western Isles, across a number of different islands. The caseload was therefore varied, but I worked with a large number of children who had various sensory integration deficits and needs.
I was lucky enough to be able to continue my journey through to SI module 4 while working in Scotland, and found that the learning really changed the way that I practiced, and the lens through which I was able to see children’s difficulties. It definitely helped my clinical reasoning skills to develop and evolve. I then decided to continue through the MSc pathway, eventually completing my dissertation while on maternity leave last year. I have always loved the energy, creativity and fun involved in working with children.
I have worked for the NHS for six years now. I spent five years working in the Western Isles, before moving closer to my family last year. I now work in Northern Ireland, in a fascinating new role on a neonatal intensive & special care unit. My post is split between neonatal and complex health needs, which tie in nicely together as I can follow up on the babies following discharge, where they have complex health needs.
Principles of SI theory and practice guide my clinical reasoning and decision making on a daily basis, and I find the link between sensory integration and development within the neonatal unit particularly fascinating and interesting. The sensory experiences of baby in the NICU are very different from a baby in-utero, or from a baby born at full term. One of our key roles in the neonatal setting is to minimize as much as possible the impact of sensory experiences (light, noise, painful procedures, positioning, touch, smell) on a baby’s underdeveloped sensory system, and to promote appropriate sensory input for each individual baby’s gestational age and situation.
My SI journey continues as a mentor on the online module 2 course, which keeps me on my toes, and up-to-date with new models and concepts. I have also recently taken on the role of Communications Lead for the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Northern Ireland Region. I am always keen to promote our profession, and especially so coming up to Occupational Therapy Week!
Welcome to the October edition of EmphaSIze.
Recently we have been contacted by a number of readers enquiring about sensory integration and acquired / traumatic brain injury (ABI/TBI), so we decided that this month we would focus on sensory difficulties in these populations and have collated resources that we hope will be of benefit to those with an interest in this area. If you think we have missed a good resource or link then please get in touch, we would love to hear from you and share ideas!
Thank you to Hannah for answering last month's question, and to others who submitted answers and questions. With Fireworks' night approaching, can you assist this reader with his difficulties? Send us your suggestions and you could win a £25 Amazon voucher.
My SI journey began with my desire as a physiotherapist to have a positive impact on public health in my community by encouraging people to be more physically active.
Exercise is one of the four pillars of physiotherapy and is well evidenced to play an important role in the prevention and management of many different conditions from depression to breast cancer. I began to work with local primary schools and different community groups to find ways of encouraging people to overcome some of the barriers to them living a physically active lifestyle.
Barriers such as lack of time, pain or motivation were the obvious hurdles I had considered, but I soon realised that for many people the barriers were more complex.
Sensory and motor problems were, for many people, impacting their ability to participate and enjoy physical activity. Asking the child with sensory issues, who dreaded PE lessons every week, to find a sport or type of exercise they could enjoy and access themselves regularly, was an almost impossible task without first addressing their whole needs.
I realised that I needed to extend my knowledge to be able to fully do my job properly, and I embarked on SI practitioner training. I’ve just recently completed module 2 and am looking forward to beginning module 3 next year. Through my studies I’m beginning to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of really looking at the bigger picture of somebody’s life, considering participation challenges, as well as looking at the detail, to help me think about the neuroscience and patterns of SI.
On September 8th Sensory Integration Education supported World Physical Therapy Day. This year’s theme was raising awareness of the importance of physiotherapy and particularly exercise for positive mental health. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health condition of some sort in their lifetime. There is now strong evidence that physical activity can both protect against the emergence of depression and treat depression.
As bestselling author Matt Haig says in his latest book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, “Mental health is intricately related to the whole body. And the whole body is intricately related to mental health. You can’t draw a line between a body and a mind anymore than you can draw a line between oceans. They are entwined…We are mental. We are physical. We are not split up into unrelated sections. We are not an existential department store. We are everything at once. Brains are physical”.
I am learning just how entwined physical and mental health are when thinking about SI. It’s impossible to ignore feelings such as anxiety, that many of the people we work with can experience as a result of SI difficulties. Recognising sensory and motor problems that impact on a person's motivation and ability to take part in play, exercise and acts of daily life is an important part of an SI trained physio’s skill set. Looking after physical and mental health (or maybe just health!) is important across the whole lifespan. Whether we work with children or older people, it’s important for us to be aware of the opportunity we have by addressing sensory needs, to support people to live longer, healthier lives.
Sensory Integration Education, Old Breedon School, 8 Reading Road, Pangbourne, RG8 7LY, 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 2019