Disorder focus of university course
A pioneering new university programme hopes to help sufferers of a disorder that can affect how they relate to other people.
The University of Ulster has unveiled the initiative on the treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).
SPD is a condition that prevents sensory messages in the brain from being organised into appropriate responses, and affects everyday activity such as behaviour, learning and movement.
The university's Dr Greg Kelly said: "Sensory Integration influences every aspect of our development, from the sense of touch required in early bonding to the development of play skills and the impact of the brain and movement systems on emotional security, balance, speed and timing skills."
The new degree aims to expand and enhance management of SPD by occupational therapists and other health practitioners.
The university said the new qualification is thought to be the only one of its kind in Europe and perhaps even worldwide.
Dr Kelly said: "We have already had enquiries from therapists in Russia, Iran and India who are excited about studying for a Masters in sensory integration at the University of Ulster."
The new degree is based on a series of modules conducted in partnership with the not-for-profit educational organisation Sensory Integration Network (UK and Ireland).
Sue Allen, chair of the Sensory Integration Network, said: "Recent advances in neuroscience support the application of the theory of sensory integration as a treatment approach with children, adolescents, adults and with older adults."