Funding for Sensory Integration Trauma Occupation Therapy

Article source: The Adopt South West Co-Production Group

Did you know, Paediatric Sensory Integration Trauma Occupation Therapy strategies can be funded and provided through a school special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) budget, Pupil Premium Plus or education, health and care plan (EHCP) funding?

This support can then be threaded through your child’s day by supporting both a trauma-informed sensory timetable teaching and support staff. It can also support you at home where the same strategies work in tandem.

Sensory Integration Occupational Therapy training is not currently provided through the NHS Occupational Therapist teams in the South West, so this individual has to be sought separately by asking the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or Designated Teacher at your child’s school to request the funding.

This can be made to a registered Sensory Integration Occupational Therapist or registered therapy centre of your choice to meet your child’s needs.

It is not accurate for a school to say they cannot do this as they need the funding for something else; they must make reasonable adjustments to meet your child’s specialist needs.

This way ‘Adoption Support Funding’ could be used for other things. 

What is sensory integration?

The term sensory integration, or SI, refers to the processing, integration, and organisation of sensory information from the body and the environment.

Simply put, this means how we experience, interpret and react to (or ignore) information coming from our senses. Sensory integration is important in all the things that we need to do on a daily basis, such as getting dressed, eating, moving around, socialising, learning and working.

Sensory information is received from our senses, which include:

  • Sight (vision)
  • Hearing (auditory system)
  • Touch (tactile system)
  • Taste (gustatory system)
  • Smell (olfactory system)
  • Proprioception (senses of body awareness and position)
  • Vestibular (awareness of movement, balance, and coordination)
  • Interoception (our internal sensory system that tells us what is happening inside our body, for example, hunger, needing the toilet, fatigue, emotions)

For most of us, the development of sensory integration occurs when we are young as part of our normal development and in the things we do such as rolling, crawling, walking and in play; for others, sensory integration is less well developed.

Our understanding of sensory integration was initially developed in the late ’60s and ’70s by Dr A Jean Ayres, an occupational therapist and psychologist with an understanding of neuroscience, working in the USA.

Ayres defined sensory integration as:

“The neurological process that organises sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively with the environment.” (1972)