Today’s post was submitted by Liani Austin.  Liani works in private practice at Therapy Factory and has two beautiful children.  She loves guiding concerned parents and educators, so that children can reach their full potential by means of a sensory integration approach.

“Knowledge is power.” We are all familiar with this quote from Frances Bacon, an English philosopher born in 1561. Interestingly, Francis is best known for his promotion of the scientific method, reveals a quick Wikipedia search.

Science. Evidence. Facts. Research. These come to mind first. But what about philosophy? Dreams. Hope. Goals. Expansion. Improvement. These two terms, seemingly on the opposite ends of the spectrum, yet gently and subtly connected by the human brain.

I believe occupational therapists are some of the kindest, wisest souls on planet earth. The everyday “Mother Teresa’s and Florence Nightingale’s” of the world. Most of us are naturally drawn into the philosophical side of life, in which we can (as clichéd as it sounds) express our deep yearning to help others. Perhaps waking up at night, fretting about the child who is falling apart at school. Or blinking away tears when triggered by a song in the car and feeling the pain of your stroke patient whose whole world came tumbling down today.

“If you don’t move forwards, you move backwards” (author unknown). I eventually learned this as I navigated my way through my early days as an occupational therapist. Now I have to be honest, studying occupational therapy straight after giving it my all for years at school, felt like it took its toll on my learning tank. I remember the feeling of freedom during my community service days. Relief that filled my heart when I returned home after a rewarding day at the hospital and plopping down onto the couch instead of opening a textbook. I was a little bit over studying… There, I’ve said it.

So when the HPCSA implemented stricter measures on tracking CPD and everyone around me was being “audited”, I rolled my eyes in despair. But I complied and made sure to go on a few courses, workshops and seminars.

It happened slowly, but one day, I suddenly realised, that what I had previously rolled my eyes at, became part of the highlights of my year: attending seminars, learning, and best of all, the feeling of complete inspiration afterwards.  I wasn’t necessarily able to explain perfectly in words what I had learnt, but I could feel it in my hands and heart during therapy the next day. It made me a better OT.

When SAISI put forward the awesome idea of structured journal clubs, I jumped at the opportunity when I was invited by Stefanie Kruger. The name of our journal club in Pretoria East? “Sensory Inspiration”. How fitting!

I love meeting therapists in the area, putting smiles to names, and my favourite part of journal club is the bits of discussion and brainstorming in between. We share ideas,so that next time we will look at a situation from a different angle. Not even Covid-19 lockdown could deter us as we continued our monthly meetups online via Zoom.

I’m sure everyone has their individual favourite topics, and for me my ears prick when we discuss articles about sensory modulation and linking this to behaviour. A few standout articles for me were:

  1. Atypical Sensory Modulation and Psychological Distress in the General Population, Bar-Shalita & Cermak (2016).
  2. Sensory Integration Therapies for Children With Developmental and Behavioral Disorders, Zimmer & Desch (2012).
  3. Sensory Over-Responsivity as an Added Dimension in ADHD, Lane & Reynolds (2019).

No one has ever failed (or not that I know of in any case) the quick multiple-choice questionnaire completed after each article discussion.

Journal clubs are an easy and cost-effective way, to not only get loads of CPD points, but also to keep up with the latest research, especially in the field of Sensory Integration. Plus, we stay connected to our colleagues. After all, isn’t a journal club really like a book club (with or without wine)? We make friends, we chat, we listen, we connect. Oh yes, and we learn!

Time to sign up. Free to SAISI members.

What you need: 3 like-minded SAISI members / 6 hours per year / you can meet in person or over zoom.

What you get: earn up to 18 CPD points for the year / time to reflect with colleagues / expand yourself as and ASI ®️ therapist

Contact the SAISI office


Bar-Shalita, T & Cermak, SA 2016, ‘Atypical Sensory Modulation and Psychological Distress in the General Population’, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol.70, 7004250010. (

Zimmer, M &Desch, L 2012, ‘Sensory Integration Therapies for Children With Developmental and Behavioural Disorders’, Section on complementary and integrative medicine and disorders council on children with disabilities pediatrics,  vol. 129, no. 10. (

Lane, SJ & Reynolds, S 2019, ‘Sensory Over-Responsivity as an Added Dimension in ADHD’, Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, vol. 13, article 40.