BANISTER – Baltic Nordic Sensory Integration
Sensory Integration theory, developed by A. Jean Ayres, is well known and recognized in pediatric occupational therapy and rehabilitation in Finland. It is a worldwide known theory, but despite that it is still not widely developed in Europe, nor has it been integrated into practitioners’ curricula.
The origin of this theory is from the US, where Ayres was studying the connection between sensory processing in the brain and the behavior of children with learning and behavior disorders already in the 1960´s and 70´s.
Ayres’ observed that learning disabilities in children often considered with difficulties in interpreting sensory information from their bodies and surroundings. To understand sensory integration, Ayres designed and adapted standardized tests that evaluated the elements of SI.
Now after many decades there is a new test EASI (Evaluation Ayres Sensory Integration) in development which is taken into account in BANISTER. BANISTER is a collaborative project coordinated between Estonia, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
The objectives of the BANISTER project
- to develop a Baltic-Nordic Higher Education curriculum for the promotion of knowledge and professional skills within the field of sensory integration
- to lay the foundations for future Baltic-Nordic cooperation in the field of sensory integration
- validation of the evaluation tool EASI (Evaluation in Ayres Sensory Integration) to be the first reliable assessment instrument in Baltic-Nordic countries for sensory integration
- translation of the EASI manual and test sheets into the languages of the participating countries
- development of test equipment to be used in data collection for the validation of EASI
The objectives will be met through
- the development and arrangement of a basic sensory integration course for occupational therapy students and therapists in the participating project countries
- standardization and validation of EASI (data collection)
- development of study materials based on EASI for the train of professionals
- arrangement of the first Baltic-Nordic Sensory Integration Congress
The ultimate goal of this project is to help children with special needs. Through providing occupational therapists with a reliable evaluation tool, they will be able to create the best therapy plan possible for these children.