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When ‘Mum’ Seems Anxious

I’m Reblogging this post from the blog – It must be Mum, because it is an incredibly powerful description of exactly the experience that many parents including myself face when we try desperately to advocate for services and support for our children.

Unfortunately, it sets up a terrible cycle of disbelief and creates unnecessary stress for families and barriers to children receiving the support they need.

The sense of relief when one professional sees your situation and believes your truth is incredible, it opens doors, allows healing to begin and for a real team around the child and family to be built.

On our own journey, it was occupational therapists who were the first and often the only professionals to bring us this sense of belief and affirmation, and it is exactly this which attracted me to join the profession myself.

Sarah (Parent and Student OT)

via When ‘Mum’ Seems Anxious

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When ‘Mum’ Seems Anxious

I’m Reblogging this post because it is an incredibly powerful description of exactly the experience that many parents including myself face when we try desperately to advocate for services and support for our children.

Unfortunately, it sets up a terrible cycle of disbelief and creates unnecessary stress for families and barriers to children receiving the support they need.

The sense of relief when one professional sees your situation and believes your truth is incredible, it opens doors, allows healing to begin and for a real team around the child and family to be built.

On our own journey, it was occupational therapists who were the first and often the only professionals to bring us this sense of belief and affirmation, and it is exactly this which attracted me to join the profession myself.

Sarah (Parent and Student OT)

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Universal Design: Community Parks and Playgrounds

universal-design.jpgCONGRATULATIONS to our OT Colleagues in Cork!

This is their amazing newly launched website – launched today on Universal Children’s Day, 20 November 2017.

The team in OSOT at UCC are passionate about play: play occupation, playspaces and enabling play for all children.

They have funding for the next six months to study Universal Design for parks and playgrounds: researching community spaces as sites for social inclusion for families and communities, for all children including those with disabilities.

The team includes Helen Lynch, Alice Moore, Claire Edwards and Linda Horgan

For further information about this project please visit: http://universaldesign.ie/News-events/News/NDA-Research-Promotion-Scheme-Universal-Design-2017-Award-of-Funding.html

Their website is: www.ucc.ie/en/ot

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The reality of the importance of the senses to early development

Early development is all about the senses – this amazing video viewed through a child’s eyes is from The Guardian and reminds us why early sensory experiences are so important  – can’t wait to use in VR Goggles.

For more information see:

https://www.facebook.com/theguardian/videos/10156090514526323/

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Sensory Integration in Mental Health

After a busy start to 2017, I am finally finding time to read my new books and catch up on a few journal articles published since March – updating my evidence statements for reports and lecturing… this book and this chapter in particular has been a great read. It is lovely to see this published from South Africa – from the place I first learnt about ASI and it’s application in mental health.

Though this article is paediatric focussed the model applies beyond childhood. I am delighted to see it is written by Annamarie van Jaarsveld, one is South Africa’s great ASI OT’s (see SAISI) – and references to two great names; Crouch and Alers from a chapter in this book’s first edition. This original chapter influenced and inspired my early practice with young people with schizophrenia and psychosis in South Africa from 1990 – 1995. Their work with people was derived from Lorna Jean King’s early work in this field. Nowadays psychiatry recognises that many of those with a schizophrenia diagnosis then probably had autism – she was indeed a pioneer in this field.

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Post SI Network Annual Conference

Hi everyone especially those members who managed to make it to the Annual Conference at Aston University, Birmingham yesterday.

It was so good to be able to catch up with you and network, exchange ideas, evidence, practice – exactly what the SI Network is there for. The presentations were varied and all interesting to listen to with different take-home messages. Many congratulations too to all those of you who were awarded their Advanced SI Practitioner certificates and for those who were unable to make it. There were two new awards which were excellent to applaud.

The Chair also thanked the three Directors who had stood down/resigned from the Board on 31/3/17 – Amanda Adamson, Kathryn Smith and Gemma Cartwright. On a personal note, I would like to record my thanks to each them for their unique contributions, their passion, professionalism and drive in helping take forward occupational therapy and Ayres® Sensory Integration (the theory, assessment and therapy) at every level both nationally and internationally for SI Network. Those of us who have been privileged to be on the Board (and as a fellow lecturers) understand the commitment it has taken and the “Life Long” changes that happen along that journey!

Thank you to SI Network for having organised this day.

The SI Network board graciously invited me to an ‘Open Forum’ after the close of the Conference for a 50 minute facilitated discussion where our concerns could be put to the Board. It was not publicised so many members might not have been aware of this open forum. However, amongst those who attended (approximately 12 members), there were 5 past directors, including a fellow/past chair of the Network. Minutes were taken and will be published.

The discussion focused primarily on the legal basis that the Board is currently operating on. It was made clear that the Board has sought legal advice and, despite there having been the 2009 Articles of Association adopted by Special Resolution at a bona fide AGM and passed by a vote, the Board informed us that the Articles had not been filed at Companies House (which we understood but also had been advised that a properly constituted AGM and members’ vote does mean these 2009 Articles are legal). The current Directors informed us that without proper sign off, the original Constitution and Articles that the Board are now using, are the 2004 original version. We do dispute this – as much because the 2009 Articles of Association encompassed the ‘spirit’ and moral focus of the SI Network.

The reason for having drawn up a more detailed set of Articles in 2009 was to set out the operating detail of the Network –  the assets, management, election/terms of office, number and accountability of the Directors to the members. This was to avoid any ambiguity in the future.  It clearly set out that the Network was a membership organisation run by the members for the members. What the Board at the time had sought to avoid, appears to now be a reality. The current Board have taken these decisions in order that the SI Network is not vulnerable.

Further questions put to the Board tried to establish to whom the Directors and the Chair were accountable to, as the Board are apparently ‘the members’. This question was not clearly answered.

Several of those present gave examples of the lack of communication and explanation to the members about what appeared to be significant changes, the reputation of the SI Network and particularly about the fundamental changes to the Directors and membership of the Board; of particular concern was the lack of communication about the resignations of three Board members in March, and that this had left no occupational therapists on the Board.

The meeting finished at 17h00, due to the room not being available after that time and travel commitments. The opportunity to put concerns to the Board was much appreciated, in the absence of any forum, such as an AGM, since 2014. Clearly, how the Board addresses accountability and two-way communication to the Network ‘members’ needs to be urgently considered.

Update: A follow-up personal letter from the Chair acknowledged that a number of issues had been raised and, with time constraints, there had not been time to fully explore and examine these issues; to be assured that the Board will continue the conversation with us.  I thank the Chair for the open forum initial discussion.

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Occupational Therapy, Ayres’ Sensory Integration and Mental Health

Click here to read this article, and on the last day of OT Week! OT has so much to offer mental health care – we have a unique role using Ayres’ work to inform current practice in inpatient care – proud to be an OT owning the sensory integration frame of reference!

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcap.12174/fullIMG_1088

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SenITA – Parent Survey

Are you a parent of a child who is between the ages of 4 and 11 who has autism and associated sensory processing difficulties, and is in mainstream education?

Please, can you complete the survey below? It is to help us to gather information from across England about the care which children who have autism receive.

https://cardiff.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/senita-parent-survey

SenITA

 

Information from Cardiff University

Survey of usual care for children with ASD who have sensory processing difficulties.

In this survey, we are interested in finding out what is normally available on the NHS throughout the UK for children with autism who have sensory processing difficulties.

This survey forms part of a bigger piece of work taking place in Occupational Therapy (OT) services – the next step will be a randomised controlled trial comparing what we find in this survey with Sensory Integration Therapy. When the randomised controlled trial starts, it will be run in South Wales and Cornwall.

We would like to build an accurate picture of what services are currently offered to families in your area, and would welcome your views in this survey.

You should complete this survey if you have a child who is between the ages of 4 and 11 who has autism and associated sensory processing difficulties, and is in mainstream education. 

Following this survey a discrete number of parents or carers may be contacted to take part in either telephone interviews of focus groups, if you would be interested in being contacted for this purpose please ensure you provide your contact information when asked and indicate your interest at the end of the survey. Please also indicate whether you would be interested in hearing more about the Randomised Controlled Trial if you live in South Wales or Cornwall.

Thank you for your contribution to this research

If you have any problems or questions about the completion of the survey or if you would like more information about the possibility of your child participating in the main study please click to contact the SenITA Team.

Data protection statement

For the purposes of this survey Cardiff University is the data controller. All data collected in this survey will be held securely by the survey software provider (University of Bristol) under contract and then retained by Cardiff University Centre for Trials Research (CTR) in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998). Data from the survey, including answers to questions where personal details are requested, will only be used by the SenITA Study team to inform the SenITA study.

https://cardiff.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/senita-parent-survey