Clinical Dilemma: The theory of Sensory Integration and how it is currently informing practice in young people with trauma. But what about Fidelity?

An interesting video about how this therapist is applying learning about sensory integration to inform her practice in young people with trauma. It is really important to the growing application of Ayres’ Sensory Integration in the field of trauma that we clearly define what we are doing and how we practice, how we work in a way that meets Fidelity or not. We need to describe what we do – and if it is according to Fidelity so that what we describe is clear – when is it the use of the theory of sensory integration to inform clinical reasoning and develop and implement sensory informed cognitive behavioural approaches and when is it Ayres’ Sensory Integration. This is an important and critical distinction. This does not mean either approach is not valid or useful – but just that we are clear about what we are delivering so our intervention and outcomes can be measured and reported clearly.

Can we use the assessments from ASI and then deliver sensory approaches, sensory strategies and not one to one therapy according to Fidelity to Ayres’ Sensory Integration? Yes, sometimes this is all we might be funded or able to do. It is the best we are able to offer given local resources, commissioning and geographical challenges.

I work with young people with trauma and I use Ayres’ Sensory Integration that meets Fidelity, but I can also sometimes only deliver consultation post assessment – but my strategies and clinical reasoning are deeply embedded in the theory of Ayres. When I do this the results can make a significant impact on the person’s ability to be safe, takes less medication or self-harm less, as my theoretical knowledge is sound and robust, grounded in current neuroscience and Ayres’ theory. Now we need the research to eveidence this way of working when funds and time is limited.

How do you practice if you work with trauma using Ayres’ theory, and how do you record what you do?

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