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Sensory Integration and Occupational Therapy


Sensory Integration (SI) and Occupational Therapy
 
What is SI?
What is Sensory Integration?
 

The theory of Sensory Integration comes from work developed by Dr A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR, an Occupational Therapist and Psychologist who worked in the United States of America. As an Occupational Therapist, Dr Ayres was interested in the way in which sensory processing and motor planning disorders interfere with activities of daily living and learning.

Sensory Integration (SI) is the neurological processes that organise sensation from one’s own body and from the environment to make it possible to use the body effectively within the environment (Ayres 1972). Sensory information is received through the integration of vestibular, tactile, auditory, proprioception and visual systems, as a direct result of interactions experienced through the environment.

 

Sensory Integration Difficulties describe the difficulty some people's nervous systems have taking in, integrating and making use of sensory information. It is when the brain is unable to process the sensory information coming from the body or from the environment efficiently. It happens when the brain is not receiving inputs, or the inputs that are received are inconsistent, or the sensory information is consistent but does not integrate properly with the nervous system.

Sensory Integration Difficulties can be seen in isolation but are also frequently seen in combination with other diagnoses including:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

  • Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD)

  • Learning Disabilities (LD)

  • Dyspraxia and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

  • Regulatory and Mood Disorders

  • Specific Learning Difficulties (eg Dyslexia, Dyscalculia)

  • Looked after Children and Young People (LAC)

  • Post Traumatic event, illness or injury


Signs of Sensory Difficulties
 

Some children have difficulties receiving and processing incoming sensations, making tasks at home and school frustrating. We have provided below some examples of signs of sensory difficulties.

Socrates Sensory Integration Assessment
 

We begin with an initial screening in response to individual, parental and/or professional concerns. An assessment tailored to the individual may include: a developmental history including prenatal and peri-natal factors, school observations, questionnaires for home, school or nursery and a Sensory Integration specific assessment, using clinical observations and if appropriate Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) at our well-resourced base.

Each intervention is tailored individually in a playful fun way by our Ayres Sensory Integration Therapist (ICEASI Level 2) with the active participation of the client. Our therapist will work with the child, adolescent or adult to build a therapeutic relationship based on trust.

In order to be able to complete the SIPT the child needs to be able to demonstrate an ability to participate in adult directed activities. However, we can still complete a sensory assessment even if the child cannot participate in the SIPT.

Following the assessment, we will provide a written report and sensory strategies to be used at home and school.

Summary of our assessment process
 

Contact us

1

Questionnaires sent out

4

Quote and Agreement

2

Arrange Assessment

3

School visit

5

Assessment at Cote Royd House

6

Collate results, information and liaison

7

Written report and strategies

8

9

Way forward

Intervention
 

We offer a block of 12 sessions which usually last between 45 mins to 1 hour. The Therapist providing the treatment is a qualified ASI therapist.

SI intervention takes place in the sensory room which is a therapeutic environment which offers the client an intervention which has a sensory rich, playful, fun and supportive atmosphere. The sessions are client led and tailored to the client’s needs. A range of equipment allows therapists to work on customised personal therapeutic goals which are set collaboratively with family/guardian and reviewed at the end of the block.

 

Examples of how we do this include:

  • Swings to address spatial awareness. These can be used in a variety of positions from prone to sitting, challenging balance, posture and movement.

  • The Resistance Tunnel helps to develop body awareness, an object, such as a ball, is pushed through the tunnel by the client who will experience tactile input with varying degrees of resistance requiring greater or less muscle movement.

 

Example of a treatment session

 

The Therapist begins the treatment session with an obstacle course which the client views as a fun challenge. However, the course was carefully designed to provide sensory input to their joints and calming pressure to their body. Large motor, physical activities are organising to the senses, the Therapist may include playing in ball pits to target the tactile system. The purpose of this sensory stimulation is to regulate and prepare their sensory system for the next activity.

ASI is trademarked to help researchers, therapists, and parents identify the core principles which define ASI and to differentiate this evidence-based intervention from other approaches which may use some aspects of sensory-based activities, but do not meet the criteria for ASI. The Therapist providing the treatment should be qualified to ensure that the criteria for ASI is met, learn more from the Collaborative for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration website.

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SENSORY

Rich


Socrates Occupational Therapy Services
 

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a science degree-based, health and social care profession, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. OT takes a "whole-person approach" to both mental and physical health and wellbeing and enables individuals to achieve their full potential.

OT enables people to participate in daily life to improve their health and wellbeing. Daily life is made up of many activities (or occupations). For children or young people this may include self-care (eating a meal, using the toilet), being productive (going to nursery, school or volunteering) and leisure (playing with friends or doing hobbies).

Our additional OT services will develop gross and fine motor skills in a functional, playful manner and functional skills such as dressing skills, cutlery, organisation.

Socrates offers a friendly and warm welcome from the moment you enter the building. We offer a comfortable waiting area along with a children's waiting area where they can play.

Assessments and therapy sessions are conducted in a fully equipped SI room which will help your child to develop their skills through fun and play based activities using sensory rich experiences from learning new skills on suspended equipment to relaxing / hiding in the sensory tent.

Rebecca is an experienced Occupational Therapist with Certification in Ayres' Sensory Integration (ICEASI Level 2) and ADOS 2 trained for assessment in Autism. She has a strong understanding of SI theory and its effectiveness which allows her to treat SI difficulties using specialised equipment and detailed assessments including the gold standard SIPT. She is the first person in the UK to obtain the Certificate in Ayres Sensory Integration (CASI) programme which offers the title of an ASI Practitioner (equivalent to The International Council for Education in Ayres Sensory Integration ICEASI Level 2).

We are also excited that Rebecca is part of the EASI England Team and the deputy lead for the Yorkshire region for developing the Evaluation in Ayres Sensory Integration (EASI). This was an international project which in 2019 to 2022 involved collecting normative data to help to know how typically developing children register, process and integrate sensory information for use. The purpose of the Evaluation in Ayres Sensory Integration (EASI) is to provide a valid and reliable set of tests for assessing key sensory integration functions which underlie learning, behaviour, and participation.

Learn more about Rebecca from our Meet The Team page.

Our Specialist Therapist, Rebecca Mallinson
Our Specialist Therapist, Rebecca Mallinson
 

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