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Creating space and waiting for the ‘adaptive reponse’

Children need to learn skills for life – learning not to jump in too soon to support and scaffold in therapy and supporting parents to step back and wait…

https://patch.com/california/alameda/bp–please-dont-help-my-kids?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=postplanner&utm_source=facebook.com

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Ayres’ Sensory Integration Assessment: Structured Clinical Observations

So what are structured clincial observations? What do they mean?

In the practice of Ayres’ Sensory Integration, structured clinical neurological observations form part of the comprehensive assessment needed to understand the sensory systems and how challenges to sensory registration, sensory processing and sensory integration contribute to difficulties participating in activities of daily life.

In 1972, Ayres, who had worked with adults with traumatic brain injury, described her adaptation of adult neurological observations for the testing of children in her book Sensory Integration and Learning Disorders.

During assessment for sensory integration difficulties, a therapist will use clinical reasoning to start to hypothesise which sensory systems may be contributing to a person’s presentation and current difficulties in participation in everyday life. You can watch a therapist do a version of these tests here. Depending on what a therapist is seeing as they assess, they will choose which are the right ones to do next and in what order.

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A Weekend of Learning at Abbot’s Lea School, Liverpool – Using Sensory Strategies for Mental Health and wellbeing Weekend Workshop

The ASI Wise lecture team have been at Abbot’s Lea School in Liverpool this weekend with a fantastic group of committed and enthusiastic occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and teachers exploring the use of sensory strategies and Ayres’ Sensory Integration therapy to support children, young people and adults mental and wellbeing health.

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Experiential learning opportunities, embedded into the course, help participants to understand their own sensory systems and to experience the challenges that the people they are working with face on a daily basis.

 

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With a mixture of classroom-based and hands-on practical learning, participants explored how to use the spaces and environment available in both school and clinic to support regulation and praxis. The workshop provided an opportunity to hear about the theory and practice of Ayres’ Sensory Integration, it’s application supporting those with autism, ADHD and dyspraxia,  with up to date research and evidence supporting practice.

To find out more about our courses and learning here

 

 

We are so grateful to Abbot’s Lea School who have allowed us to use such a beautiful spacious venue. The three lovely well-lit rooms allowed us to create a pop-up sensory clinic, where participants had space to move about; extra room to break into groups supporting learning and the sharing of ideas. The school staff and local therapist volunteer support team have been incredibly welcoming and supportive, helping the workshop to run smoothly. As a bonus, the sun has shone all weekend which has allowed us to use the outdoor spaces, we have spotted a few daffodils and blossom trees around the city – it feels like spring is on its way.

Thank you to our volunteer therapists who helped to make the weekend such a success.

 

 

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Access to ASI Wise Workshop/Course Materials.

Have you recently attended one of our courses? Some institution and business emails do not allow invitations to our online course resources. Apply below for access to course additional printable resources for the course you attended and we will be in touch.

These applications will be checked against other details we currently hold for you, so access will not be immediate.

 

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Sensory Ladders

The first Sensory Ladders were made in 2001 for adults with sensory integration difficulties receiving help with mental health difficulties in Cornwall. Influenced by the paediatric Alert Program, they offered therapists a way to combine Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Ayres’ Sensory Integration, addressing the development of the person’s self-awareness in collaboration with ward staff on an acute psychiatric inpatient unit.

The need to start with the person where they are at, before introducing learning about new ways of being, including the development of new skills, made it necessary for the Sensory Ladder to remain a very individualised and personalised journey within a close safe therapeutic relationship.

Both Ayres’ Sensory Integration(ASI) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy(DBT) share a common understanding that development and change can only occur within a safe environment. The DBT idea of balancing safety and challenge reverberates strongly with Ayres’ concept of the ‘just right challenge’.

Creating a Sensory Ladder is about creating opportunities for an adult or child to learn to become aware of themselves in a new way – to explore and discover new things about mind, body and brain. It allows the therapist and person to do “curious wondering” together, and for the person to try new things – creating and promoting active but informed risk-taking; testing how we might feel and experience something when we do it differently; new ways of being – new ways of responding.

Making and using a Sensory Ladder is about the journey together within a safe therapeutic relationship. It’s about getting to see and know someone in a very different way, getting underneath the skin of behaviours that are perhaps being described by others as tricky or challenging.

The Sensory Ladder facilitates the reframing of behaviour that are a result of sensory integration challenges, providing the first step of acceptance of the behaviour necessary before strategies and therapy support development and change to happen.

To see more Sensory Ladders, visit our Sensory Ladder FB Page

Pokemon Sensory Ladder copy

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Ayres’ Sensory Integration and the great outdoors

The “just right challenge: for this plucky young lady. She clearly likes the sensory input these activities are providing to her body and brain. These are exactly the outdoor sensory system challenging opportunities afforded by climbing trees and jumping streams that  Jean Ayres’ wanted to recreate in her therapy spaces. For those of us lucky enough to live in rural areas and near great parks and other outdoor spaces, do we think about these natural spaces and resources enough.

I will be sharing this with every family I work with for Easter half term when it is a great time to start to once again out and about, now the snow has gone.

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Research Update: Mobile brain scanners

Is there a place for these in Ayres’ Sensory Integration research studies in the future? Watching the little girl in my last post play outdoors I was thinking it would be great if she could be wearing one of the new mobile brain scanners just reported on yesterday.

It would be fantastic if we could actually see what is going on inside her brain as she jumps and leaps, and then has an adaptive response, as it happens. Will it be possible to capture those magic therapy moments in a discreet person friendly way?

I am imagining we will be able to do this kind of study quite soon, though the look and construction of the scanner will clearly need to be less scary and more robust. They will  need to change somewhat before we can use them safely in ASI studies; I can’t see these somewhat scary face mask type helmets being jumping, swinging, rolling, crawling and crashing safe. However, exciting times I’m sure, for the ASI practitioners and researchers who can get involved in this kind of development and study!

Read more about the wearable brain scanner here.

 

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Ayres’ Sensory Integration and the great outdoors

The “just right challenge: for this plucky young lady. She clearly likes the sensory input these activities are providing to her body and brain. These are exactly the outdoor sensory system challenging opportunities afforded by climbing trees and jumping streams that  Jean Ayres’ wanted to recreate in her therapy spaces. For those of us lucky enough to live in rural areas and near great parks and other outdoor spaces, do we think about these natural spaces and resources enough.

I will be sharing this with every family I work with for Easter half term when it is a great time to start to once again out and about, now the snow has gone.