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Dear Sensational SPD Foundation Friend

What a year 2010 has been! Whew, it just seemed to zoom by!

We said 2008 was going to be great, and 2009, divine. 2010 we focused on zen, but 2011 ... well it'll be heaven! The Foundation along with the STAR Center will all be moving into our new space in the spring. We will be building the most sensational outdoor playground for Occupational Therapy that you have ever seen. And maybe all the staff will stick around after work so we can play there too! Here are some highlights of what the Foundation accomplished in 2010, many of which are FIRSTS for us, and a little about what we plan to do in 2011.


Sensory Processing Scales Development

Assistant Director of Research at the SPD Foundation has been working with Dr. Miller on the development of a performance assessment and inventory for the past six years. In February we are conducting training for researchers who will be helping us to collect validity data on the scale. We will be soliciting a publisher soon . . . so keep your eyes peeled to be on our standardization tester list! For more details see Dr. Schoen's research update in this issue of Sensations.

Uni-Sensory and Multi-Sensory Integration Studies

Senior Neuroscientist at the Foundation has been analyzing EEG (actually event related potentials) data that we gathered in an effort to begin to understand the neurophysiological and behavioral underpinnings of SPD. We will be publishing a series of papers comparing children with SPD to typically developing controls. So keep your eyes peeled on our web site for notifications of when and where those articles come out! See what we have already published in "Our Library" under the

Article accepted for publication

We are thrilled to announce that our paper entitled, Phenotypes within Sensory Modulation Dysfunction was accepted for publication in the journal, Comprehensive Psychiatry. This explores the relationship between Sensory Under-responsivity and Sensory Seeking, a thorny problem with very little solid research available. In our work we have found that children with SUR are different than children seeking sensation. We have evidence suggesting this is true, but this is the first paper (in what we hope will be a series of papers) that explores this empirically. (Authors: James, Katherine, Miller, L.J. Schaaf, R., Nielsen, D.M., & Schoen, S.A.)

Two chapters written

In 2010 (you'll see it in 2011) we completed a chapter, Sensory Processing Disorder: Implications for Multisensory Function for Dr. Barry Stein's classic textbook, The Handbook of Multi-Sensory Integration. What is so exciting about this is that almost every graduate student in neuroscience reads this text. It's an opportunity to interest young neuroscientists who might then guide their careers toward studying SPD. (Authors: Miller, Lucy Jane, Schoen, S.A. & Nielsen, D.M.

Also In 2010 (which you will also see in 2011) we completed a chapter on Sensory Integration Theory and Practice for the revised edition of Murray-Slutsky and Paris' book, Exploring the Spectrum of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. (Authors: Schoen, Sarah A., Miller, L.J. and Nielsen, D.M.

And now I must thank Sarah Schoen, Darci Nielsen, and Anna Legenkaya for their dedication to research and who tenaciously hold on to and make the most to understand the meaning of the data we collect, given our slim resources.


Mentorship Programs

For the first time ever, we conducted a mentorship for professionals other than occupational therapists. The group we had consisted of a social worker, a counselor, a family therapist, a psychologist, a speech and language pathologist, and a teacher. We look forward to further developing the program this year.

The SPD Foundation mentee alumni group has grown so much that we held our first ever "Reunion" of mentorship graduates at our symposium in Seattle. Dr. Sarah Schoen, hosted the event where mentees from our past three years of the mentorship programs came together to network and talk about building the community of SPDF mentees around the globe.

Fellowship Program

Another first for the SPDF was the beginning of our Fellowship Program in 2010. 'Fellows of the Foundation' are graduates of Mentorship Levels 1 and 2 who complete a 12-week Fellowship. This program combines clinical work at the STAR (Sensory Therapies And Research) Center and either research or writing as part of the SPD Foundation team. Lisa Porter, MOT, OTR/L, from Portland, Oregon was our first fellow to successfully complete this program. Read more about Lisa and this program in the last issue of Sensations e-Newsletter. Applications are open for those interested in applying for a Foundation Fellowship (3 months)

The S.O.S. (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding Conferences

I know it doesn't seem possible but we have another first to share. The SPDF is proud to sponsor education programs featuring Kay A. Toomey, PhD, and Erin Ross, PhD, SLP-CCC. Dr. Toomey is a Pediatric Psychologist and the Director of SOS Feeding Solutions at the STAR Center. Dr. Toomey developed the SOS Approach to Feeding as a transdisciplinary program for assessing and treating children with feeding problems and is internationally renowned for her work in this area. We held our first very successful conference this fall in Denver and had over 90 attendees, including SLPs, OTs, psychologists, dietitians, nutritionists, and special educators from the US and Canada.


We were so honored to have Dr. Winnie Dunn as our keynote speaker for the first time at our Colorado conference last spring. Clinicians, parents, and teachers all came together to learn about Sensational living.

Oh wait, there is one more - our first time taking our symposium West ... In fact we went to the beautiful northwest! The Institute and Symposium in Seattle was a smash hit, having the largest parent participation at a symposium ever. Entitled, "New Conversations" the symposium generated out-of-the-box thinking and opened up new ideas and hope for the future.

I want to thank Michelle Clarke, our education program manager, and the amazing team at SPDF for helping us achieve so many "first time evers" in education!


DSM Submission

You have all heard so much about this over the past year. Here is a quick synopsis: In 2007 we submitted an application to the American Psychiatric Association for the diagnostic recognition of SPD in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), which will be published in 2013. Since then we have submitted several appendices containing the most up to date research. Although we still don't know whether or not SPD will be recognized as a new or novel diagnosis, we believe it is quite likely, that two of the SPD subtypes (Sensory Over-Responsivity and Sensory Under-Responsivity) will be included as an associated feature of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. This is very positive news and will be extremely helpful in getting sensory-based services for that group of children! Read all the latest information on the DSM Central page of our website.

Parent Program - SPD-Parent Connections

We will be celebrating 10 years of parent connections in 2011! The SPD Parent Connections group is a grassroots network with active groups in more than 80 U.S. communities and several foreign countries. SPD Parent Connections provides information and resources to anyone dealing with sensory processing issues. We have a new parent coordinator, Carrie Fannin who was instrumental in the inception of this program in 2000. We look forward to growing this program. Our hope is to have at least one PC-Host in every state, to further develop educational resources for the groups and to reach many more families!

Fundraising Activities

We celebrated the Foundation's 30th anniversary in 2010. Fundraisers came up with a host of "30th"-themed events. The total raised was over $20,000. Take a look at some of the details and fun pictures on the Sensation Events page of our website. These funds are critically needed to fund research for diagnosis and treatment of children with SPD.


A special thank you goes out to the business members of our Foundation: SticKids, Affordable Weighted Blankets, Sensory Processing Activities and Information, Soy Craft Kids, Pocket Full of Therapy, SI Focus Magazine, and Prince's Sensory Delights. You can view more information about these members on the Sensory Products page of our website. SticKids and Affordable Weighted Blankets are doubly thanked for donating a portion of their sales to the Foundation. Please support the SPD Foundation by becoming a member today.

We will be re-launching our membership program this year. Watch for an email this spring.

Looking backward, we are truly moving forward. 2011 is a critical year for the DSM effort and for publication of our results thus far. It's exciting but daunting at the same time. I thank all of you for your past and current support as we attempt to change the world!

With warmest regards and hopes flying your way for a Sensational New Year!

Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR
Founder and Executive Director

Save the date - Austin Symposium 2011

The S.O.S. (Sequential Oral Sensory approach to feeding conference

Research Project Survey with the University of Cambridge and the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

SPD Learning campus is now enrolling

Donate Now - Support the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

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