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SI Network Newsletter 1st May 2016

Sensory Integration and The A Word


Autism has received increased media attention over the past month, in line with World Autism Awareness Week (April 2-8). Here in the UK there have been a number of Autism themed TV programmes, of which one much talked-about programme has been the ‘The A Word’ on the BBC.

Following on from last month’s Asperger Syndrome theme, we are focussing this month on needs related to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) across the lifespan and considering the sensory sensitivities associated with these needs.

This will be the final edition of EmphaSIze in its current format. From June 2016, we plan to bring a more newsy and topical style to this monthly e-publication. You will find a taster below, introducing a section called ‘SI in the News’. We do hope you enjoy reading it.

Editor: Cathy Warne




AOTA 2016

From 7-10th April 2016 over 10,000 delegates gathered in Chicago for the annual AOTA Conference - the largest annual gathering of occupational therapy practitioners and students in the world. One of the key SI news items emerging from this event was that, according to the Council for Exceptional Children’s Evidence Based Practice (EBP) Criteria, Ayres Sensory Integration (ASI) now meets the criteria for EBP when working with children with Autism (Schaaf R, AOTA ‘16). This is great news for all of us who provide ASI services to this particular population group.

Member practice featured in OT News

We like to shout about members’ achievements, yet some rather exciting news seemed to have slipped under the radar when SI Network member and SI 2/3 graduate, Stella Parkinson, was published in ‘OT News’.

The College of Occupational Therapists printed a full page of Stella’s practice, explaining how SI techniques helped a young boy understand his difficulties. The feature is not available online but is on page 43 of the OT News December issue and well worth a read.

Holby’s Jules

Have you seen Jules Robertson - an actor with Autism who has been given a semi-regular role in Holby City? See here for an interview with Jules about his acting career, and his thoughts on “Jason”, the character he is currently playing in this ever-popular TV series. Isn't it great to see autism awareness being raised in this way by Jules? We can’t wait to see if “Jason” talks about sensory issues in forthcoming episodes.

Spreading the SI word

Do you know a colleague or client that needs some introductory help and guidance in sensory integration? Then why not recommend they attend the one-day course of Introduction to Sensory Integration Difficulties taking place in June and October this year? £155 including free SI Network membership.

My friend Sam

Liz Hannah, Steve Lockett

With large print, colour pictures and simple wording, this book is ideal for helping young children, even in groups and school classes, to understand the difficulties experienced by children with ASD. See more


The Parent's Guide to Occupational Therapy for Autism and Other Special Needs

Cara Koscinski

Bring tried and tested occupational therapy activities into your home and encourage your child to succeed with everyday tasks while having fun in the process. This expanded edition of an award-winning book includes new advice on toilet training, coping with changes in routine, repetitive behaviours, self-regulation and more. See more

Sensory Issues for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Diarmuid Heffernan, Luke Beardon

This practical guide enables individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders to begin to understand their sensory difficulties and learn how to create a tailored plan for overcoming specific everyday challenges. See more

Sensory Baby Toddler Game

A visually stimulating cause-and-effect game with instant visual, tactile and auditory feedback. As the toddler reaches to touch the screen, bubbles appear, fish swim between spots touched on the screen, vibration and sound effects are activated. See more

ASD Planner

This app supports people with an ASD by simply allowing them to organise daily tasks in a step by step manner and add advice, reminders or instructions for each step. The tasks are then linked with a calendar feature allowing activities to be planned ahead and reminders can be set if needed. The app is fully integrated with GPS functionality enabling a user to make full use Google maps and tasks can also be shared via email to others using the app. See more

The Zones of Regulation

Developed with input from an occupational therapist, this award winning app is a game that helps teach self-regulation, using colour coded ‘zones’. See more

Sensory Experiences of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: In Their Own Words

Anne V Kirby; Virginia A Dickie; Grace T Baranek - Autism, 19(3), April 2015, pp 316-326

Twelve children with ASD aged 4-13 years gave first-person perspectives through interviews about their sensory experiences. The interviews revealed the importance of context, and the multisensory nature of children’s experiences. These findings contribute towards understanding the sensory experiences of children with autism spectrum disorder and highlight implications for practice and future research. See more

Sensory Pattern Contributions to Developmental Performance in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Scott D. Tomchek; Lauren M. Little; Winnie Dunn - American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 69, September 2015

A sample of charts of 400 preschool-aged children with ASD was used to investigate the extent to which specific sensory processing patterns relate to aspects of development. Results suggest that sensory processing patterns differentially affect children’s developmental skills and adaptive behaviour. Certain sensory processing patterns predicted children’s development of language, motor, and adaptive skills. See more

Designing living environments with adults with autism

C.Lowe; K.Gaudion; C.McGinley; Alex Kew - Tizard Learning Disability Review, 2014, 19(2), pp 63-72

The purpose of this paper was to explore how a people-centred, design-led approach to the different needs and aspirations of adults with autism could help inform the design of space, objects and activities for individuals in their own homes to enhance everyday life experiences. Participatory observation, co-design workshops, interviews, visual probes and mapping tools were created to gather insights about how a person perceives and engages with the physical environment, with a particular focus on their sensory sensitivities and special interests. 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

See the SI Network's unique range of specialised Sensory Integration books & videos in our Webshop. 10% discount for Silver and Gold members! Join today.

Also see our specially selected recommendations and SI Modular Pathway text books available from Amazon.

Tangle Therapy by Tangle

Keep fidgety hands occupied, gain tactile and proprioceptive feedback, and visually explore the many possibilities available through twisting, turning, coiling and bending this Tangle. See more

Air Element Giant Wobble Cushion

Put the air element inside the cover (options are available) and your child can have fun while developing balance skills. See more

Super Chewy Tube

Help people who seek intense oral proprioception and tactile sensations, and reduce incidents of biting, with this chew toy. See more

Too Much Information

“I’m not naughty”. The National Autistic Society are inviting supporters to ‘put themselves on the map’ in recognition of sensory overload. Watch a film describing the experience of sensory overload in a shopping centre, pick up ‘Top Tips’, read results of a recent survey and much more. See more

Iris Grace Painting


Iris Grace is a young girl with a diagnosis of Autism. She was given a
support cat to help her become more involved in everyday activities and
this has been a great success. She also has considerable talent for art,
and a website. See more

I Spy printables

Themed activities for visual sensory seekers, which can help develop a child's visual tracking ability and improve visual discrimination, and are free to download. 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

    Sensory integration courses for everyone:



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    No 1 Therapist Job Board!

    New Job Vacancies

    Paediatric Occupational Therapist - The Ed Psych Practice, London

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    Cathy Warne +44( 0)118 324 1588

    This edition has been developed though teamwork with Cathy Maguire, Suzanne Leyland and Alex McArthur. We would also like to thank Tina Champagne for contributions. 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

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    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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