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What is Ayres’ Sensory Integration Therapy all about?

Today I was chatting to another therapist, who remarked on how people think it’s the room and equipment that make the therapy.

Ayres’ Sensory Integration is about how the therapist mindfully uses knowledge gained through thorough assessment to carefully plan and create an environment so interesting, motivating and exciting to their individual client that they will engage in what appears to most people to just be fun and playing about. In most sessions, the skilled ASI Practitioner makes it look easy as they artfully engage with the person so that they ‘accidently’ discover new ways of thinking, planning, moving, doing and being.

Done well ASI looks effortless as if it all just happens, and the therapist has luck on their side.

The ASI Practitioner is using theoretical and clinical knowledge of their client, in concert with exquisite skill and creativity to create the perfect environment to support engagement, participation and the just right moment where, as if by magic, development “just happens”.

Typically when ASI Therapy happens, it looks as if it’s just by chance, when in fact, quite the opposite is true, the therapist has carefully crafted the opportunities and enhanced the chance of the person being able to use these maximally.

“Neuroplasticity is the nervous system’s ability to change in response to environmental input and demands and is one of the key theoretical concepts of the sensory integration frame of reference. ASI is built on research that demonstrated that the nervous system and, subsequently behavior are shaped by environmental and sensory experiences. (Ayres 1979)”

Schaaf and Mailloux, 2015

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ASC/ASD, Mental Health and women- What are you reading for CPD right now, and how does it enhance your clinical reasoning and intervention planning?

I am loving reading this book – it is a fantastic tool for therapy – working with my adult clients as we piece together their complex histories on that sometimes tricky journey to get a diagnosis. The book is written beautifully, with just the right anoint of science and evidence and not too much jargon – this makes it very accessible!

A must for the bookshelf of health and social care professional with adults with mental health difficulties. Especially important for helping us all contribute to the MDT discussions and helping make sure the signs of autism in women don’t get missed!