Individuals interested in becoming official certified sensory integration (SI) specialists must first be registered occupational or physical therapists. A certified sensory integration specialist possesses skills to deal with the specific needs of a child who has been diagnosed with sensory integration disorder. A therapist choosing to become certified in SI does not have far to reach to obtain the certification. Dr. A. Jean Ayres developed the theory, and offers courses to obtain the certification.
Obtain course information through Western Psychological Services. Currently, this institution in California is the only organization offering certification, but they offer classes throughout the continental United States and Canada.
Learn to conduct the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests, which are specific tests used to determine the type and severity of the child's sensory integration issues.
Complete the course work to receive the certificate, and apply through the program to have your name added to the list of SI-certified occupational or physical therapists. The University of Southern California awards certificates for those who have completed the training course through the University.
Sensory Integration (SI) refers to a dysfunction of the senses, when the brain misinterprets signals coming from the five senses. For example, individuals suffering from SI may insist on cotton socks only, as other types of linen tickle or scratch their skin. The sense of touch in their feet is misinterpreted in the brain, causing an irritating sensation with polyester or nylon materials on the feet. The sock analogy is the simplest explanation of the dysfunction, but brain misinterpretation can happen with any of the five senses, causing strong reactions in sufferers.
Make sure the sensory integration certificate is awarded through the University of Southern California (USC). In 2010, a certification program, Sensory Integration International, which was working in coordination with USC, was ordered to cease and desist practice and certification awards because their program did not fully train therapists in SI practices. USC has ended relations with this certification program, and individuals who were in the program are able to finish their training with USC. Check with an USC adviser if you are unsure regarding your program requirements.