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 News and Updates

  • 26 Nov 2019 13:17 | SIE News (Administrator)

    The 2019 Legacy Awards, celebrating achievement and nurturing talent in the sensory integration community, were announced at the SIE Autumn Conference, held in Birmingham in November.

    Part of our Legacy Project, in acknowledgement of and gratitude to those who introduced Ayres’ Sensory Integration to the UK and Ireland in the 1970s and those who have worked to shape training and practice since that time, the Legacy Awards this year honoured:

    Honorary Fellowship Award - Dr Greg Kelly

    Course Director for the Ulster University PGCert, PGDip and MSc Pathway, Ulster University

    Dr Greg Kelly received an SIE Honorary Fellowship for sustained commitment to developing SI theory and practice in the UK, Ireland and beyond, over a 40-year period and for his outstanding leadership in providing university-accredited SI training, since the MSc in SI was launched in 2011.

    Greg’s interest in SI dates back to 1979 when he was working as an OT in a psychiatric hospital and read an article by King (1977). A year later when working with children in a speech and language assessment unit, he began to explore using SI with the support of his speech and language therapist colleagues. No formal SI courses were available locally at that time though so he developed his own knowledge by reading widely and practising delivering SI using home-made equipment.

    Spurred on by some amazing results, he purchased the Southern California SI tests and Post Rotary Tests, writing to Jean Ayres to ask permission to use them without any formal training. Jean Ayres wrote back saying he didn’t need permission and wished him luck.

    Greg then formed an SI study group with others (including Eadaoin Breathnach) to teach himself the basics. This then became affiliated with the Scottish-based study group on perception and then in 1990 the Irish SI Association was formed. And as courses and workshops became available, he took every opportunity to attend these, in the UK and beyond.

    Greg also completed a degree in psychology and an MSc, and in 1987 became a lecturer in OT at Ulster University. His published works inspired others to begin learning about SI principles and to go on to develop theory and practice further for themselves. His dedication to promoting SI theory and practice continued throughout the 1990s with the different study groups eventually merging to form the organisation we are all part of today, the SI Network UK and Ireland (now branded Sensory Integration Education).

    For a while, Greg stepped back from SI to complete a PhD, but in 2010, when we invited higher education institutions to tender for accreditation of our SI course, his passion for SI was reignited and he led a team to submit a bid proposing that the SI training pathway would no longer end with the award of PG Cert, but would also reach PG Diploma and Masters levels too. The bid was successful and in 2011 the MSc pathway was initiated.

    Greg remains the Course Director of the MSc in SI Pathway today, supporting students from all over the world, to complete university-accredited SI training. The Ulster/SIE joint pathway is the only one of its kind in Europe, attracting students worldwide. He is an outstanding pioneer, innovator and change-maker for SI in the UK, Ireland and beyond and a very deserving recipient of an honorary SIE Fellowship Award.

    Outstanding students from the 2018/19 academic year

    When the Legacy Project was initiated, it was agreed that in honour of two of the early pioneers of ASI in the UK and Ireland, bursaries will be awarded annually to the PGCert and PGDip Outstanding Students of the Year. This year we added a third award for MSc Outstanding Student of the Year.

    The Elizabeth Fairgrieve Award for the Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Integration Outstanding Student of the Year - Tania Slavin

    The Elizabeth Stephenson Award for the PG Dip in SI Outstanding Student of the Year - Laura Osman

    The Dr Greg Kelly Award for the MSc in Sensory integration Outstanding Student of the Year - Claire Stokes

    Advanced Practitioner certificates

    We were delighted to convey Advanced Practitioner status and certificates to 35 SI students at the Autumn Conference.

    Remember, you can use the Association of SI Practitioners' Register to search for who have gained SI qualifications on SIE’s UK-university-accredited SI Modular Pathway. 

  • 21 Nov 2019 13:46 | SIE News (Administrator)

    We’ve collated some of the best sensory gifts, to suit all budgets, for your wish list this year.

    Remember that if you are an SIE Member, you can enjoy a 10% discount on Rompa, Chewigem and Southpaw products - to discover your discount codes for these suppliers, simply log in to your Sensory Integration Education membership account and click on “My SI”, then "Member Resources".


    Robo-Board trains weight transfer and dynamic balance, as well as providing proprioceptive stimulation. Move the board by transferring weight from side to side, it rotates when the weight is on four of the wheels on one side, and locks when the load is centred over the four central wheels. Allows rotation in a circular movement of up to F6. For users 4 years and over. Maximum load: 75kg. Weight: 1.25kg

    Available from Rompa.

    Weighted Sensory Snake

    Meet Noodles your weighted, twisty, bendy, tactile friendly snake buddy who will sit comfortably on your shoulders or lap, leaving you hands free to concentrate and stay on task. Perfect for busy minds, who require deep pressure touch for proprioceptive and vestibular senses management, as part of a sensory diet.

    Available from Sensory Direct.

    Weighted Cuddly Unicorn

    A weighted cuddly unicorn is ideal for young ones that require that weight to help calm them. The weighted unicorn cuddly toy helps with attention span and reduces fidgeting. Other animals are available too.

    Available from Sensory Direct.

    Sensory Stackers – Set of 6

    Multi-use blocks, each with its own colour, texture and size. Use to encourage early maths concepts, motor skills, reasoning, hand-eye co-ordination, visual discrimination and logical thinking. Great for a wide range of ages and abilities. For 6 months and over.

    Available from Rompa.

    Construction Cutlery - Front Loader Spoon

    Marry fun with function and create one of a kind mealtime experiences with this award winning mealtime resource. Used by many OTs to promote motor development. This cleverly designed utensil is easy to grip and easy to clean. Dishwasher safe.

    Available from Rompa.

    3-in-1 Rocking Boat

    The 3-in-1 Rocking Boat is three products in one - it can be a rocking boat, turn on its side to become a counter, and turn upside down to make a slide. ​​​​​​​It is sustainably manufactured in the UK using durable beech plywood, which is finished with a child-friendly, water-based lacquer which helps maintain the natural wood appearance and allows for easy cleaning.

    Available from Sensory Education.*

    Super Sorting Pie

    ​​​​​​​The Super sorting pie contains 60 X 4cm fruits and there are seven types of fruit in five different colours. The Super Sorting pie is made from durable plastic and has a removable divider. There are three double-sided sorting cards for children to follow and they can be placed into the pie base to add visual clues for smaller children.

    Available from Sensory Education.*

    Pop Toobs - set of 3

    Pop Toobs are connectable bendable tubes that make silly popping sounds. They are a great source of tactile and auditory feedback and also help promote bilateral skills. They can be used in lots of imaginative and creative ways.

    Available from TFH.

    Pictionary Air

    This new take on the classic Pictionary game challenges body and spatial awareness. Download the app to get started, then use the Pictionary Air pen to draw in the air. Your sketches appear on your smart device when you point the in-app camera at the player drawing in the air.

    Available from Amazon.

    Dobble Kids

    Dobble is a fast pace competitive game that puts your visual scanning and discrimination skills to the test. Race to find the one matching image between one card and another. Every card is different and has only one picture in common with every other card in the deck. Contains five mini quick and easy games for ages 4+ years.

    Available from Amazon.

    The Colour Monster

    This delightful book is a gentle exploration of feelings for young and old alike. One day, Colour Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through colour.

    Available from Amazon.

    Whirly Squigz

    Whirly Squigz are big, bright, and full of tactile fun! Hold them, explore their contours, chomp on them and let them soothe sore gums. Then, stick them to any smooth, non-porous surface and give them a spin. Great for those that find small fidget spinners too fiddly. Set of three. Made from Food-Grade silicone with plastic, non-rusting bearings - great for the bathtub! BPA-free, fully safety tested.

    Available from Amazon.

    *Sensory Education is not affiliated with Sensory Integration Education.

  • 19 Nov 2019 12:00 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Cathy Maguire, Director of Member Services and Conference Chair for the SIE Autumn Conference extends her gratitude to all the delegates, those who followed the event via social media, the speakers, staff and everyone who helped make the event another sell-out success:

    “Sensory Integration Education has been delivering high quality, sensory integration training for 25 years now and this weekend we celebrated our silver jubilee birthday with an action-packed Sensory Integration Education Conference held at Aston University Conference Centre in Birmingham, UK.

    “My take-home messages from the day are many and include:

    “We have an amazingly strong, vibrant, knowledgeable and inclusive community of practice that people value greatly and are proud to be part of.

    “We have huge talent within our professional community and wonderful work is being carried out by clinicians and researchers in the UK.

    “There is immense energy within this community – people want to connect, share interprofessional dialogue and support, and to feel well-supported by others in the community of practice too.

    “Undertaking the accredited SI practitioner training pathway has opened up some inspiring career and research opportunities for speakers and conference delegates alike, as evidenced by the content of the presentations and conversations held with delegates throughout the day.

    “Students are appreciative of the Outstanding Student Bursary Awards.

    “The research grants offered are enabling members to complete projects and attend conferences they would not be able to do otherwise.

    “We all have a responsibility to work, both individually and collectively, to build on the wonderful legacy of the early SI pioneers, advance the evidence base, and pass on our own knowledge to those with whom we come into contact.

    “Sensory integration really does change people’s lives as evidenced by the case studies and powerful testimonies from service users shared in the presentations.

    “Finally, thank you to all the speakers and attendees for making this year’s conference such a memorable learning and networking experience. We are already starting to think about next year’s conference so watch out for announcements!”

    Best wishes

    Cathy Maguire

    Director of Member Services and Conference Chair

    Sensory Integration Education

  • 19 Nov 2019 10:03 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Delegates at the SIE Autumn Conference 2019, held in Birmingham, were updated on the EASI normative data collection project by the UK and Ireland regional lead Kath Smith. You can read more on the presentation here

    The development and distribution of the new EASI (Evaluation in Ayres Sensory Integration) test is one of the transformational Ayres’ Sensory Integration (ASI) 2020 Vision goals. Next year marks what would have been the 100th birthday of the pioneer of sensory integration, Dr A Jean Ayres. To commemorate this milestone, the international SI community proposed this ASI 2020 Vision:

    “Ayres Sensory Integration will have a strong, international presence with demonstrated scholarship, means for valid, comprehensive assessment and pathways for training to ensure the ongoing development, standards of excellence and effective implementation of this important work.”

    Ensuring effective intervention through comprehensive assessment in ASI

    The purpose of the EASI is to provide a valid and reliable set of tests for assessing key sensory integration functions which underlie learning, behaviour, and participation. The EASI measures sensory perception, postural/ocular/bilateral motor integration, praxis, and sensory reactivity, in a manner that minimises the influences of culture, language comprehension, and prior experience. The EASI tests are designed for children 3-12 years of age and will be made available to appropriately trained professionals in a low-cost and accessible format.

    Delegates at the SIE Autumn Conference had the opportunity to examine and try out the contents of an EASI Kit, which, with the exception of the specialist 3D pieces, are all available from the high street and online stores.

    The initial development plan for the EASI is to collect international normative data on children 3-12 years of age. The long-range plan is to expand the items and normative sample so that the EASI can be used to assess sensory integration across the lifespan, in a low-cost and accessible format.

    Therapists interested in supporting the data collection project in their local area can find out more here

    The UK and Ireland teams are listed here  and information on the international leads are available from the Ayres 2020 Vision Facebook page .

  • 18 Nov 2019 11:25 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Sensory Integration Education launched its latest Impact Report, charting progress against its founding not-for-profit aims, at the SIE Autumn Conference 2019.

    Rosalid Rogers, Chair of Board of Directors, SIE, commented:

    “Our watchword this year has been ‘investment’: investment in enhancing the provision of a university-accredited, fully-accessible MSc pathway to SI Practitioner status and Advanced Practitioner status; investment in researchers working at the coalface of SI therapy; and investment in getting more articles, research, first-person stories and resources out to the global SI community of practitioners, students, end-users, parents, carers and teachers than ever before.”

    “We may be 25 years old but we hold fast to the original purpose upon which we were founded: to promote education, good practice and research into the theory and practice of Ayres' Sensory Integration (ASI).”

    You can read the full report here.

  • 31 Oct 2019 15:32 | SIE Support (Administrator)

    In celebration of our Silver Jubilee Year, we are delighted to announce the launch of an online register of all our students who have gained qualifications on our sensory integration modular pathway.

    Check your free entry

    The Association of SI Practitioners’ Register is free, searchable, and will enable the public and potential employers to check who has attained a UK-university-accredited qualification in Ayres’ Sensory Integration (PGCert and above). You can search by SI qualification and practitioner-status, name, country and occupation.

    You can check your listing here. Your contact details are not made public unless you choose this option. If you need to amend your details, please email us at support@sensoryintegration.org.uk.

    With each SI Module you complete, we will automatically update your listing on the register with your latest qualification.

    As a special bonus, our Gold Members can also add their website, contact number and photo to their listing for free - something members in private practice may be particularly interested in. See instructions on how to do this below.*

    The direct link to the Association of SI Practitioners’ Register is: https://www.sensoryintegration.org.uk/ASIP-Register and can also be found on the main menu at the top of our website.

    The Association of SI Practitioners is a clinical community offering additional professional benefits to SI practitioners who qualify via the SIE Sensory Integration Modular Pathway. We’ll be announcing more details in 2020.

    *For SIE Gold Members: Instructions on how to add contact details to your listing on the Association of SI Practitioners’ Register

    • Log in to the www.sensoryintegration.org.uk as normal.
    • Click on the person icon on the top right of the page and choose ‘View profile’.
    • At the very bottom of the profile details list, add in your contact number and/or website/photo. These will then show on the SI Practitioner Register.
  • 17 Oct 2019 13:58 | SIE News (Administrator)

    We are delighted to host paediatric occupational therapist Emma Jerman, who will be sharing her knowledge of Aquatic SI and Attachment Play in Water at the Sensory Integration Education Autumn Conference in Birmingham, UK (16 November 2019).

    Emma is an experienced occupational therapist and accredited Advanced SI Practitioner. She has additionally completed Halliwick Aquatic Therapy Training and works with children with a range of disabilities, as well as looked-after children and newly adopted children with their new parents and carers.

    Delegates at the SIE Autumn Conference will hear how Emma employs both the principles of sensory integration therapy and sensory attachment therapy within the pool setting. 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. Why not come along to this event to listen to her speak?

    See the full conference programme here with details of how to book your place.

  • 17 Oct 2019 11:45 | SIE News (Administrator)

    A: There is a clear relationship between ADHD and poor sleep. Individuals with ADHD often experience difficulties with falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up in the morning.

    The website Understood lists the following tendencies amongst children with ADHD that can stop them from getting a good night’s sleep:

    • Difficulties with self-regulation can stop children with ADHD from moving from ‘active mode’ to ‘wind-down mode’ at the end of the day
    • Children with ADHD can be more prone to nightmares, bedwetting and sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome
    • Tasks, such as homework, may have been put off until the last minute, creating a hectic evening
    • Teenagers with ADHD may report feeling more productive during quiet nighttime hours and so can easily fall into the habit of staying up too late too often
    • Many children with ADHD also have anxiety problems. Their anxious feelings can emerge at night when there are fewer activities to distract them. This causes them to have trouble falling or staying asleep

    Here are some tips on supporting the sleeping pattern of your child with ADHD:

    Keep track of your child’s sleep patterns

    By monitoring your child’s individual sleep patterns, feeling tired during the day, etc, you may be able to spot specific triggers.

    Encourage physical activity after school

    Whether it’s sports, physical play, sensory-based play or an active hobby, getting enough exercise contributes to better sleeping habits. Be sure that you leave enough time after physical activities to allow the body to calm down before beginning the bedtime routine.

    Help your child plan and prioritise homework tasks

    The team at Understood suggest using checklists for homework to help your child keep on top of their homework and complete it well before bedtime.

    Create and maintain a bedtime routine

    This appears like an obvious idea, however, it is very successful when put in place effectively. A consistent routine assists in prompting the brain to feel relaxed and ready for sleep. A sleep routine includes getting ready in sleepwear, going to bed at typically the same time each weeknight, doing a calming, wind-down activity and then bedtime. Some children find bedtime checklists helpful.

    Maintain a consistent bedtime

    In her guide on improving sleep for children with ADHD, OT Alescia Ford-Lanza recommends keeping bedtime within a half hour time period each night. For example, setting bedtime between 9 and 9:30pm each night (or whatever is appropriate to your child) gives some room for flexibility but maintains the routine, which is critical.

    Limit screen time

    Set limits on how late your child is allowed to use a screen. There are concerns that the blue light emitted from screens on phones and tablets can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin.

    Find a calming strategy that works for your child

    Calming strategies are a supportive way to enable your body to relax and settle before sleep. Everyone will have their own activity that works for them, for example, taking a warm bath, reading, listening to calming music, etc.

    Avoid caffeine

    Avoid food and drink that contains caffeine (eg, chocolate) as far as possible and particularly from the late afternoon onwards.

    Consider the sensory experience of the environment

    Environmental modification can support your child’s sleep. This can include using blackout blinds to keep the bedroom dark; using a white noise machine to block out distracting sounds; using a thermostat to steady the room temperature; perhaps using a weighted blanket or heavier blankets at the foot of the bed, etc . These preferences will be individual to your child’s preferences.

    Include any sleep problems when discussing your child’s diagnosis with their doctor or therapist. This is where your notes on your child’s sleeping and waking habits will be very useful.

  • 11 Oct 2019 11:07 | SIE News (Administrator)

    Would you like to learn more about the shared ground of yoga and sensory integration therapy? And how yoga poses and exercises can complement SI therapy to help improve the lives of children with difficulties with sensory processing and integration? We’re thrilled to have Mel Campbell, Occupational Therapist and an Advanced SI Practitioner speaking on this topic at the Sensory Integration Education Autumn Conference in Birmingham, UK (16 November 2019).

    Mel Campbell has been an Occupational Therapist for over 20 years. During her journey, she took some time out to bring up her children and found herself studying yoga as a way of developing her own self-practice. This led her to becoming a teacher in yoga.

    Returning to her profession as an OT after her break, she found herself drawn to the study of sensory integration. She has always been interested in neurology and fascinated by the brain and this approach seemed to make so much sense to her. The more she studied the theory of sensory integration, the more she found her two worlds of being a yoga teacher and an advanced sensory integration practitioner merging.

    Mel has completed Sensory Integration Education’s MSc in Sensory Integration with Ulster University and chose “Exploring Yoga as a Sensory Based Intervention for Children with Sensory Processing Difficulties: A Systematic Literature Review” for her MSc dissertation topic

    She is also a published author of the book “The Yoga of Pregnancy” and has created a Sensory Processing Yoga DVD which shows yoga techniques for alerting, calming, motor planning, postural stability, breathing and guided relaxation.

    See the full conference programme here with details of how to book your place.

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