This page is intended to outline the compentencies for a clinician to professionally and ethically apply sensory integration.
GUIDELINES FOR COMPETENCY IN THE APPLICATION OF SENSORY INTEGRATION THEORY*
The following statement reflects the position of Sensory Integration Global Network ( SIGN) regarding the minimum qualifications needed for the use of the sensory integrative frame of reference in therapeutic practice.
This statement is intended to promote uniformly high standards of practice in the delivery of services for clients with sensory integrative disorders in order to:
Inform consumers seeking such services
Promote the understanding and appropriate application of sensory integrative theory
Support best practice within the field of occupational therapy
The sensory integration frame of reference is used primarily by occupational therapists in the area of pediatrics. Other professions have adapted this information for use with their clients, however SIGN’s position is that provisions of Ayres SI Intervention TM is restricted to professionally qualified occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and language pathologists. While paraprofessionals such as occupational therapy assistants or physical therapy assistants may apply sensory integration principles in their practice area, it is always done under the direct supervision of a professional in their discipline who specializes in sensory integration according to the guidelines established with their professional license/registration.
Competencies in the use of sensory integration theory and its application are developed through postgraduate continuing education, mentoring, and clinical experience. Advanced training in sensory integration may be provided through university curricula, clinical practica, and mentorship by occupational therapists certified and experienced in sensory integration theory and practice.
Certification in Sensory Integration, including administering and interpreting the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT) is highly recommended when using sensory integration in occupational therapy. In order to support these aims, USC and WPS in collaboration offer the Comprehensive Program in Sensory Integration leading to certification in sensory integration including administering and interpreting the Sensory Integration and Practice Tests. Additionally, USC provides a 4-month clinical training program in sensory integration. Upon completion of the Comprehensive Program in Sensory Integration and related requirements, USC/WPS awards a numbered certificate that indicates that the therapist has obtained Certification in Sensory Integration including the Administration and Interpretation of the SIPT. Sensory integration certification programs also exist in Finland, South Africa, Austria and United Kingdom and Ireland. Sensory Integration Certification is the minimum requirement for developing competencies in sensory integration.
In order to maintain competencies in the application of sensory integration theory, the following is required to ensure that skills learned through certification are honed and continually advanced: experience applying sensory integration methods especially in the format of clinic based services is strongly recommended for a minimum of two years mentorship, through supervision, consultation, and professional guidance by a therapist certified in sensory integration ongoing study and review of the literature that supports sensory integrative theory and its application as the therapist refines their expertise in sensory integration, ongoing feedback from professional peers who are also involved in using sensory integration as a frame of reference, as a check and balance for best practice.