A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR, FAOTA The Pioneer Behind Sensory Integration Reference Blanche Kiefer, D. Surfas, S. (2010). A. Jean Ayres: The Pioneer Behind Sensory Integration. Torrance, CA: Pediatric Therapy Network (DVD) Every field of study has founding and influential theorists and leaders Developmental Psychology ~ Piaget Psychoanalysis ~ Freud Neuro-Developmental Treatment/ The Bobath Concept ~ Berta and Karel Bobath Examples of Founders, Leaders & Theorists in Occupational Therapy Eleanor Clarke Slagle Margaret Rood Anne Mosey Mary Reilly Why learn more about the leaders in occupational therapy? Helps us to understand the foundations of core knowledge and skills in OT Guides us to have a greater understanding of the depth and breadth of the OT profession Inspires us! A. Jean Ayres~ Who is she in the world of OT? Developed the theory of sensory integration One of the first occupational therapists to use “evidence based practice” Conducted systematic research to build constructs and demonstrate efficacy Invented tests, equipment, and intervention methods that have become one of the most common OT frameworks Leadership Touch Points What qualities do you think Dr. Ayres must have had in order to be able to come up with a new and innovative theory? We hear a lot about “evidenced based practice” now. What do you think would have motivated Dr. Ayres to conduct her research? Her Early Years She grew up on a farm in central California Her father was scientific (a chemist) and her mother was sensitive and artistic Her family had a strong work ethic Her Struggles She spoke about having some learning difficulties Visual tasks were easier for her than verbal language activities She had some health challenges throughout her life Her Personal Side Many artistic skills ~ painted in water color made charcoal drawings accomplished seamstress (made many of her own clothes) enjoyed Tai’chi and dance appreciated nature and outdoors Her Personal Side Married late in life (in her 50’s) to Franklin Baker Spoke of Franklin as her biological soul mate Never had children of her own, but was close to nieces and nephews Leadership Touch Points How do you think Dr. Ayres’ early life affected her goals, plans and dreams in life? In what ways might the personal health and learning difficulties Dr. Ayres’ experienced influenced her professional work? Early Training and Professional Work BS in OT from USC ~ 1945 MA in OT from USC ~ 1954 PhD in Psychology from USC ~ 1961 Post-Doctoral study at Brain Research Institute at UCLA ~ 1964-1966 Worked with children with cerebral palsy and war veterans in the 1950’s and 60’s Sensory Integration Theory First paper- AJOT 1954 Ontogenetic principles in the development of arm and hand functions Developed tests and conducted studies to understand patterns of sensory integration problems between 1950’s and 1980’s Described several main patterns based on numerous factor analysis studies Published Sensory Integration & Praxis Tests (SIPT) January 1989 Professional Challenges Not initially accepted within OT Was unable to find funding & OTs willing to help with first test standardization Work was criticized by people outside the profession of OT Sensory integration often confused with other methods/interventions Leadership Touch Points How do you think being a woman in the 1950’s affected Dr. Ayres’ professional aspirations and plans? Why do you think that the OT profession did not initially embrace sensory integration theory? Major Accomplishments Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship 19 One of the first occupational therapists to receive grant funding for research One of 3 first inductees into the AOTF Academy of Research Author of more than 60 publications Sensory integration is one of the most widely used theories and interventions in OT Final Years Spent her last 15 years at her private practice in Torrance CA where she continued to develop assessment and intervention innovations Trained hundreds of therapists in her 4 month hands-on course in collaboration with USC~ OT610 Developed and standardized the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test in collaboration with Western Psychological Services Leading a Completely Meaningful Life Her work ethic evident to the end of her life Dr Ayres passed away in December 1988 SIPT published January 1989 Her husband, Franklin, although previously in good health, experience a quick decline and passed away in 1989 At her memorial service, hundreds of people recounted stories of Dr. Ayres’ mentorship, support and guidance Leadership Touch Points What qualities and attributes are required to become a leader? How do you think Dr. Ayres’ work has influenced the profession of OT? Do you think Dr. Ayres ideas have had an influence outside of OT? If so, how?
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