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The next step in my learning journey starts this week…

IMG_E8636I’m so excited that 3 years after starting my postgraduate training in Ayres Sensory Integration, I have finally been able to take the next step in my journey and this week I have started to study the materials for ASI WISE CLASI CASI Module 2 online, with face to face M3 later in August.

Next year will mark 20 years since I completed my Master’s degree in medicinal chemistry and I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to return to academia by studying occupational therapy. I love the parallels and overlaps between the theory in chemistry and neuroscience, and how both subjects challenge me to understand how microscopic unseen worlds impact on everyday life in tangible ways.

I am enjoying all the fresh challenges and the immense opportunities which the new ASI WISE CLASI CASI offers; blended learning combining digital and online learning (including the chance to be part of an international global community) alongside face to face hands on learning – putting the theory into practice, while thinking about local, regional and national challenges with lectures from the U.K. and Ireland. At university, the research and evidence-based practice modules give me the opportunity to reflect on how far I have come and I am inspired to use both my upcoming final year projects and my learning and work with ASI WISE to both explore and contribute to the latest most up to date research in ASI – including development of the EASI.

I have a long way to go and a lot to learn, I am so thankful to everyone who has supported me so far and for those who continue to guide me especially my mentor Kathryn Smith and the teams at Ayres’ Sensory Integration WISE and Collaborative for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration – CLASI for making all this possible.

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Right now, just to match the beautiful colour scheme, I’m celebrating with a new purple folder and some yummy purple chocolates!

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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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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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Follow up to SI Network Position statement – pondering …

Thanks to a number of your queries, I have been pondering what I understand the SI Network position is with regards to its current structure and governance. I have checked with ex Committee and Board members and this has helped clarify and confirm with me,  that we believe the 2009 Articles of Association – Sensory Integration Network reported in May 2010 SensorNet (accessed online), are the most current Articles, superseding the 2004 Memorandum and Articles filed at Companies House

Here is a copy of the 2009 Articles of Association – Sensory Integration Network, which I hope help to answer the queries and concerns many of you have raised. As members, please do take the opportunity to contact the Chair for clarification regarding any queries you might have with regard to the Position Statement published on 3rd November 2017.

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Do you know about The OT Hub?

At Sensory Project we support and champion innovation for developing OT practice… The OT Hub is a new resource for Occupational Therapy, which a small team near Bristol in the UK have recently launched. This introduction comes from Jamie and the rest of their team.

www.theothub.com

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A new collaborative online platform for the exploration, collaboration, and promotion of the occupational therapy profession. Our service is for the public, Occupational Therapists (qualified + student) and other healthcare disciplines.
We are greater than the sum of our parts and believe that, by sharing resources, we can all achieve great things for OT.