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Tackling Mental Health Head On

SI Network Newsletter 1st June 2016

Many of you will be aware that Mental Health Awareness Week took place 16-22 May with events around the country, and a focus on relationships. The BBC ran a ‘Mental Health Week’ on Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine programme 9-17 May, exploring conditions such as anorexia, bipolar disorder, depression and self-harm, and looking at politics regarding mental health services. It is worth listening to.

For those that want to find out more about the relationship between SI and Mental Health, there are still a few places left on next month’s SI Mental Health and Wellbeing course

This month’s EmphaSIze takes a look at how SI is mentioned in the news and popular culture as well as in the world of SI from around the globe.

Have a great month!

SI Talk at OT Show

Congratulations to SI Network member Kylie Holdback, who will, at The OT Show this November, present the findings of her research study, 'What is the impact of Sensory Integration Therapy on families of children with Sensory Integration Dysfunction?' Kylie was a successful recipient of an SI Research Award earlier this year.

Scottish Speech and Language Therapists focus on SI

The Learning Disabilities Clinical Excellence Network (LD CEN) held an event in Stirling this month, with main speaker, Highly Specialist SLT Amy Stephens. Module 2/3 student and SLT Judy Goodfellow gave two short presentations, showcasing the SI Network’s modular pathway, and sharing her evolving case study. The presentations were well received on a day that attracted delegates predominantly from SLT, plus other professions including Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Community LD nursing. Amanda Adamson from the SI Network was welcomed to the day. It is great to see more SLTs becoming enthused by SI and the modular pathway.

Content Creators Required for SIN Publications

We are currently seeking Deputy Editors to help deliver SensorNet and EmphaSIze. The Deputy Editor is responsible to support the Editor in the planning, organisation, writing, editing and provision of material for each publication.  See more

Autism's Got Talent

The Autism’s Got Talent annual contest took place during May, showcasing impressive abilities. In a piece for the BBC Breakfast Show, a drummer named Nick talked about how he in fact ‘hates’ noise.


SI is used in the UK, across the lifespan, including with dementia populations, which is covered in the news more and more. Two good programmes include The Truth About Dementia and an episode of Horizon on Alzheimer's. Sleep is now considered important in disease prevention - an area in which sensory processing awareness might help.

At times, sensory stimulation can be overwhelming, albeit some people do seek high intensity sensory stimuli. Here, a journalist describes how multimodal sensory stimuli at a spin class was, for her, sensory overload.

ASI 2020 Vision

The ASI 2020 Vision continues to progress. Thirty-two papers have been internationally reviewed and considered to further the understanding and evidence for Ayres Sensory Integration. Keep updated with live developments on Facebook. Find out more or join the effort.

Our congratulations go to one of the ASI 2020 leaders, Roseann Schaaf, who has been inducted in to the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Academy of Research.

New Sensory Processing Measures

In the USA, the team who brought us the Sensory Processing Measure and Pre-School SPM, are developing a SPM for Teens and a SPM for Infants and Toddlers (SPM IT). The SPM IT has been piloted and is now going through the process of standardisation. The SPM for Teens, which will include some mental health items, will be piloted soon. See more: The SPM IT will have two forms: One for the parent/caregiver to complete on the infant and one for the parent/caregiver to complete on themselves regarding their own sensory preferences and challenges. This will be to look at "goodness of fit" related to engagement and co-occupation.

The SPM Teen has three forms: One for the teen as a self-questionnaire, one for parent/caregiver, and one for teacher(s), or coach, vocational trainer or other significant adult in the teen's life.

Diana Henry invites SI Network members to join her on Free SPM Quick Tips Virtual Tour Webinars – contact marketing@wpspublish.com where she will be happy to respond to questions.

Topics with the most engagement on the Sensory Integration Network Facebook page this month have included: Baby development, the Brain’s ‘delete button’, How the brain fills in the gaps of how we visually perceive the world around us, Animals at play, and a short video clip of a Gigantic adult sized outdoor swing. If you haven’t already, check it out here.

We also have an active community of closed groups available to those meeting specific skill or interest profiles including:

For anyone seeking extra help these are a great place for that confidential and professional shared support. If you are new to Facebook, see How to join a closed group.

COT SS-PLD Conference 7th October 2016

The College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section – People with Learning Disabilities - announced a Call for Abstracts for their October 2016 conference, entitled ‘The Value of Occupational Therapy from Evidence from Practice’. Don’t delay! – the abstract deadline is June 3rd. Conference details are available through the COT website  or the COT–SS-PLD Facebook page. Please keep our research director, Gemma Cartwright, copied in if you decide to submit an abstract.

Create Your Clinical Vision

Allied Health Professionals, from within and outside of the NHS, are being urged to take part through an online workshop, in shaping the future direction of services, by Suzanne Rastrick, NHS England’s Chief Allied Health Professions Officer. Find out more on their website or online platform

Useful Resource Identifying Public Toilets

Some people who have sensory processing difficulties also have physical and learning disabilities. We found this useful website, Changing Places, which maps and provides information about public toilets and changing places, whilst campaigning for more.

As usual our team has been busy reviewing the latest resources available. See our latest round-up of books and apps below including a book outlining the notion of a dysregulated adult, and a unique Emoodjii app.

Sensory-Based Intervention for Children with Behavioral Problems: A Systematic Review

Farahiyah Wan Yunus; Karen P Liu; Michelle Bissett; Stefania Penkala - Publication and Date: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders45.11 (Nov 2015): 3565-3579.

This review examined the effectiveness and ideal types of sensory-based interventions for children with behavioral problems. 132 studies were identified; 14 met the selection criteria and were reviewed. Seven of the studies were tactile-based interventions, four were proprioceptive-based intervention and three were vestibular-based interventions. Tactile-based interventions such as massage therapy were the most promising intervention in reducing behavioral problems.

Why We Need Research about Autism and Ageing

Cos Michael - Autism, published online before printing 2 May 206

The author, who has autism, discusses the paucity of research regarding ageing with autism, and how this translates into health care provision.

Are Sensory Processing Features Associated with Depressive Symptoms in Boys with an ASD?

Vicki Bitsika, Christopher F Sharpley, Christopher, Richard Mill -  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(1), January 2016, pp 242-252

The association between Sensory Processing Features (SPF) and depressive symptoms was investigated in 150 young males (6–18 years) with an ASD. Significant correlation was found between SPF and total depressive symptom scores. Different aspects of SPF significantly predicted different depressive symptom factors. Implications for assessment and treatment of SPF-related depressive symptoms were discussed.

Emoodji, by 3 Sided Cube


Sensory processing dysfunction can be a factor in some mental health conditions. This app, developed in collaboration with the mental health charity Mind and aimed at students, enables people to track their mood and let friends know how they are doing with just an Emoji.

Mandala Adults Coloring Book, by GoodSoftTech


Colouring is now widely acknowledged to support relaxation, an important tool in mental health. The developers of this book claim that it can help develop imagination, help attention and concentration, allow expression of feelings, fears and thoughts, develop eye-hand coordination, and help to calm and relax.

Cathy Warne +44( 0)118 324 1588

Thanks to Diana Henry, Kylie Holdback, Judy Goodfellow and Jenny Gregory who have via our Facebook networks, all contributed to content; and to the publications team Cathy Maguire, Alex McArthur 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.

Help! I’ve Got An Alarm Bell Going Off In My Head!


Designed for children aged 9 years and above, this picture-based book explains how fight, flight and freeze reactions in the body contribute to behaviour, which is a factor in sensory modulation.

Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents: How to Foster Resilience through Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency

Margaret E. Blaustein, Kristine M. Kinniburgh

Grounded in theory and research on complex childhood trauma, this book provides a comprehensive framework for intervention with children and adolescents and their caregivers. It is packed with practical clinical tools; and includes a chapter on modulation.

The Dysregulated Adult

Georgia DiGangi

People experiencing disorders in regulation are highly sensitive to stimulation from the environment, emotionally reactive, and have difficulty maintaining an organized and calm life style, often seen as part of the picture of mental health disorders. This book encompasses sensory integration therapy and mind-body techniques for the therapist to guide the client toward self-calming.


A card game that encourages exploration of the sensory qualities of the environment you are in whenever you play it.

Itinerant Support Frame

This portable suspension frame, which enables SI trained therapists to offer SI interventions on-the-go, proved popular at a SI Network training event in May. It is also an option for use in settings where a frame cannot be left in-situ between sessions.

A Teach About

Diana Henry (OT) hosts this website dedicated to promoting understanding and awareness of sensory processing, sensory integration and the sensory systems.

Jack of the Red Hearts

Film maker Janet Grillo has made a feature film driven by her desire, as a parent of a child with autism, to spread the message that autism is not always as portrayed in Rain Man. The film tells the story of a streetwise teen who cons her way in to a support work role for a child with autism and through this comes to terms with who she really is. There is a website, a Facebook page, and an interview with the Director.

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