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SI Network Newsletter 1st April 2016

Sensory Integration and Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome, also known as High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder or Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder, affects many people living in the UK and across the Globe. Many highly successful and famous people are said to have Asperger Syndrome - Bill Gates, Temple Grandin and Albert Einstein among them.

People with Asperger Syndrome often have difficulty processing everyday sensations. Sensory differences may include problems with balance, body awareness and motor planning and/or sensitivities to sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch. These can affect behaviour and impact significantly upon a person’s life.

Understanding the links between Asperger Syndrome and sensory sensitivities and addressing difficulties through sensory integration therapy, sensory strategies and/or modifications to the environment, can make a real difference to everyday living. This month's EmphaSIze considers literature, resources and equipment relating to the needs of children, adolescents and adults with Asperger Syndrome.

Editor: Cathy Warne

Martian In The Playground


In this award-winning book, the author draws on her own experience of schooling, and that of a network of friends and correspondents who share her way of thinking and responding, to help readers understand what it means to be a person who has Asperger Syndrome. Includes a chapter entitled, ‘In the Lunch Queue: the sensory and motor environment’. See more

Asperger Syndrome Pocketbook

Ronnie Young

Accompanied by cartoons, and illustrations, ‘The Asperger Syndrome Pocketbook’ helps teachers and support staff to understand the difficulties faced by pupils with Asperger Syndrome and provides strategies for overcoming the challenges it poses in the classroom. It includes a chapter entitled ‘Whirling Mind and Unusual Sensitivities’. See more


Rudy Simone

Written by an ‘Aspergirl’, Rudy Simone guides Aspergirls of wide ranging ages, through every aspect of both personal and professional life. The book includes a practical, first-hand chapter about ‘Sensory Overload’. See more

Freaks, Geeks and Aspergers Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence

Luke Jackson, Tony Attwood

Written specifically for adolescents with Asperger Syndrome, this book addresses the minefield of emotions, transitions and decisions of adolescence and teenage years for a child who has Asperger Syndrome. This book includes a chapter on ‘Sense and Sense Abilities’. See more

Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome

Tony Attwood

A comprehensive guide to understanding Asperger Syndrome, written by a respected expert on the subject. Chapter 11 is dedicated to ‘Sensory Sensitivity’. See more

Talking Tom Cat 2

Encourage social interaction, acceptance of touch, and clothing tolerance through the virtual-friend, Tom Cat. See more

Snoop for Lego

Ever popular, Lego is great for developing fine motor and construction skills. This app helps match up Lego pieces and designs. See more

Birdhouse - for special needs

Parents and carers of people with Autism Spectrum conditions or other special needs, can organise helpful information, including advice from therapy sessions, with this innovative app. See more

Sleep Ambience

A white noise app that allows you to customise background sounds to listen to while relaxing or going to sleep, such as the soothing sound of a river, or the beautiful songs of birds. See more

Irlen coloured lenses

Irlen® Colored Overlays can increase visual comfort, fluency and accuracy when reading, for people who have visual processing difficulties. The app version can allow reading and working on a device for longer periods of time without strain or fatigue. See more

Sensory Processing in People with Asperger Syndrome

Rohit Shankar, Kath Smith, Virupakshi Jalihal - Learning Disability Practice, 01 March 2013, 16(2), pp 22-27

Rohit Shanker, together with psychiatry colleagues and SI Network’s Director of Learning and Development, Kath Smith (OT) explain why many people with developmental difficulties respond to stimuli differently from the ‘neurotypical’ population. See more

Atypical Movement Performance and Sensory Integration in Asperger’s Syndrome

Panagiotis Siaperas, Howard A. Ring, Catherine J. McAllister, Sheila Henderson, Anna Barnett, Peter Watson, Anthony J. Holland - Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, May 2012, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 718-725

Motor abilities and sensorimotor processing, were examined using the MABC and SIPT. Fifty boys with AS aged 7–14 years old were compared with typically developing boys. Overall, children with AS showed significant impairment of movement performance as well as proprioceptive and vestibular processing. See more

Sensory Responsiveness as a Predictor of Social Severity in Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders

Claudia L. Hilton, Jacquelyn D. Harper, Rachel Holmes Kueker, Andrea Runzi Lang, Anna M. Abbacchi, Alexandre Todorov, Patricia D. LaVesser - Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. August 2010, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 937-945

This study examined the relationship between sensory responsiveness and social severity in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders and age-matched controls between 6 and 10 years old. Findings suggest that the relationship between sensory responsiveness and other autistic traits is more important than previously recognized and addressing sensory modulation issues in children with HFASD may be more critical than previously understood. See more

A Pilot Study Examining Activity Participation, Sensory Responsiveness, and Competence in Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder

Stacey Reynolds , Roxanna M. Bendixen, Tami Lawrence, Shelly J. Lane - Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, November 2011, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 1496-1506

This pilot study explored activity patterns in children with and without ASD and examined the role of sensory responsiveness in determining children’s level of competence in activity performance. Children demonstrating more frequent Sensory Sensitivity and Sensory Avoiding had significantly lower competence scores than children with fewer behaviors in these domains, suggesting that sensory responsiveness may impact the ability to participate successfully. See more

Fascination and Isolation: A Grounded Theory Exploration of Unusual Sensory Experiences in Adults with Asperger Syndrome

Richard S. Smith, Jonathan Sharp - Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, April 2013, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 891-910

This study investigated how unusual sensory experiences, commonly seen in people with Asperger syndrome (AS) affected the lives of nine adults with AS. See more

Are you a therapist looking for a formal Postgraduate qualification in Sensory Integration?

The Postgraduate SI Modular Pathway for Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech and Language Therapists offers a pathway to recognition as a Practitioner or Advanced Practitioner of Sensory Integration, with the opportunity to credit the awards towards a Masters qualification. See more

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Sensory Diet Cards

People with Level 1 ASD are often very capable. It could be that they can learn to self-regulate their sensory systems with these Sensory Diet Cards. Colourful illustrations help children understand when their sensory systems have had "Too Much" or "Too Little" and show easy activities to help them get "Just Right". See more

Camelbak Water Bottles

With a ‘Just the Right Bite’ valve, this water bottle offers the opportunity to bite the valve to open it and suck through the tube – calming sensory properties combined with healthy refreshment breaks. The featured item also has an appealing shark print cover. See more

Tactile Tiger Hand Fidget

Tactile hypersensitivity is frequently identified in people with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism. This brush is an alternative to others on the market, potentially more appealing for children. It can be used by children as a fidget, a tactile calming agent or even a chewy toy, as it has been FDA approved to be used as an oral motor device. See more

Diall Comfort Folding Ear Defenders

To help compensate auditory hypersensitivity, these ear defenders have soft ear cushions for comfort, fold away easily, and can be worn by people of various ages. See more

Time Timer

People who become anxious about time can benefit from this clock which shows time-remaining – so you can concentrate on your sensory integration session rather than the time. See more

Create2learn Radio

A free radio channel with interviews about creative play set up by 2 Occupational Therapists, the latest of which is an interview with esteemed SI-OT Sue Allen about Sensory Integration. Features that may be associated with Autism, are discussed. See more

Changes to Autism and Asperger syndrome diagnostic criteria

Information regarding the DSM-5, from The National Autistic Society. See more

Does Asperger Syndrome Still Exist?

Information regarding the changes to the diagnostic categories in the DSM-5. See more


With pages on Facebook and Pinterest, Asperkids offers forums for people growing up with Asperger Syndrome, links to YouTube resources, and purchasable resources. See more

Finding Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists and Physiotherapists is easy with the SI Network's No 1 Therapist directory.

Special Offer! Therapists can join for only £50 for 12 months.

NEW COURSE! Using Ayres' Sensory Integration with Children with ASD

This 2 day course explores using Ayres sensory integration therapy with children with autistic spectrum disorder. See more

  • Date: 12-13 May 2016
  • Venue: Birmingham
  • Fee: £370

Baby Sense

This two day course will cover the assessment and treatment of infants with sensory integration problems and disorders of regulation. See more

  • Date: 23-24 May 2016
  • Venue: Birmingham
  • Fee: £370

School Sensory Strategies for Children with Motor Coordination Difficulties

This one-day course will provide an overview of the link between sensory processing and motor coordination. Participants will learn about strategies to support this group of children. See more

  • Date: 16 April 2016
  • Venue: Birmingham
  • Fee: £155

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    Cathy Warne +44( 0)118 324 1588

    Thanks for the teamwork that created this edition, to Cathy Maguire, Sue Allen and Suzanne Leyland. If you would be interested to be a contact, potentially contributing to EmphaSIze, please send your name and any area(s) of particular interest in SI to catherine.warne@sensoryintegration.org.uk.

    Copyright © 2016 SI Network (UK & Ireland) Ltd. All rights reserved. You are receiving this newsletter as you are a member of the SI Network. Our mailing address is: SI Network, 27A High Street, Theale, RG7 5AH, UK. support@sensoryintegration.org.uk www.sensoryintegration.org.uk


    emphaSIze disclaimer

    • The information provided in this newsletter is designed to provide helpful information on sensory integration and related difficulties.
    • This is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to treat any sensory integration difficulties, unless this is by an allied health professional with recognised advanced postgraduate education in sensory integration (SI AHP), who does so at their own discretion.
    • For diagnosis of sensory integration difficulties or other medical problems please consult your own GP or SI AHP.
    • The publisher and authors are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision or other interventions and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this newsletter including SI AHPs who use this information at their own discretion and within existing professional specific guidelines and local policy and protocols.
    • Links, resource ideas and references are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any product, website or other sources. Readers should be aware that information on any websites listed in this newsletter may change.

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