Sensory Integration (SI) is the neurological process by which we take in, organise and respond sensory information from both inside and outside the body. Sensory processing enables everyday life and in some people this does not develop properly in childhood, leading to problems with – self-regulation, movement, learning and interaction with others. This new partnership provides the opportunity to share information, experience and best practice to benefit of practitioners, families, patients/clients.
The Academy of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) at the University has formed a partnership with the Sensory Integration Network – UK and Ireland (SI Network). This joint venture is the result of collaboration between the SI Network Directors and the Academy team which includes: Dr Greg Kelly (Reader in Teaching and Learning), Jackie Casey (Lecturer in Occupational Therapy), Rosalind Rogers (Head of School of Health Sciences) and Sharon Conway (Coordinator of Postgraduate Academic Affairs).
The partnership, facilitated by Ulster Educational Partnerships, is led by Dr Greg Kelly, from Ulster’s School of Health Sciences.
He said he had learned from his new colleagues in the Sensory Integration Network that: “For most people SI develops in the course of ordinary childhood activities but for some people, it does not develop as efficiently as it should and this can effect academic achievement, personal identity, activities of daily living, behaviour and social participation.
“SI therapy aims to improve the way a person’s brain responds to and makes use of sensory information and how this is used to plan, co-ordinate and organise behaviour and emotional responses, having a positive effect on self-confidence and self esteem.
Through this partnership it is hoped that we can better coordinate and implement research and practice for the benefit of those people who experience SI problems.”
The new collaboration has afforded the opportunity of adding the SI Network modules to the University of Ulster validated, Academy of AHP’s existing Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma/MSc framework.
This has enabled re-structuring of the curriculum for the Sensory Integration modules and development of a Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Integration (subject to validation) which can lead to Postgraduate Diploma and MSc in Advancing Practice in a named profession. This postgraduate certificate (subject to validation) is one of very few to offer professional practitioner-status in Sensory Integration.
Rosalind Rogers, Head of the School of Health Sciences, said: “This is exactly what the Academy of AHPs was set up for, to bring practice and education together to ensure the person with sensory processing problems is managed by practitioners skilled in most current techniques informed by the optimal evidence base.”
The Sensory Integration Network – UK and Ireland, is a not for profit organisation, promoting education, good practice and research into the theory and practice of Ayres' Sensory Integration. The Network offers training in sensory integration theory, assessment and intervention to therapists, offering modular courses leading to Advanced Practitioner Status, as well as a range of courses geared towards other professionals, parents and carers.
As a founding member of the International Coalition for Education in Sensory Integration (ICE-SI), SI-Network – UK and Ireland, is able to demonstrate a common understanding of Sensory Integration and the common standards of the curricula members of ICE-SI have been developing and implementing. This serves as a model of “integrity”, “commitment” and “excellence” to training specifically in Ayres Sensory Integration®.
ICE-SI facilitates collaboration between these and other organizations involved in developing and delivering SI-training including certification in Sensory Integration and the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT).
Sue Allen, Chair of SI Network said: “As a result, the SI Network has been able to develop a locally relevant programme for SI training, SI practice and to promote and support research into SI, strongly rooted in a valid understanding of Ayres’ concepts and current understanding about it’s growing application in clinical practice.”
Further information can be found at the AHP Academy’s website at: www.ulster.ac.uk/ahpacademy or on the Sensory Integration website: www.sensoryintegration.org.uk
Information on Ulster Educational Partnerships is available from: http://www.ulster.ac.uk/uep