Working as a Peripatetic Sensory Integration Qualified Therapist

By Sensory Integration Education

Being a peripatetic sensory integration qualified occupational therapist in the UK is a uniquely rewarding and challenging career. It combines the profound satisfaction of using a sensory integration approach to create great client outcomes with the dynamism of working across various settings. This article looks at peripatetic practice for sensory integration qualified therapists and offers tips on choosing the right equipment. 

Why Work as a Peripatetic Therapist?

Peripatetic occupational therapists are those who travel between different locations rather than being based in one fixed place. This could involve working in multiple schools, clinics, community centres, or clients' homes. The peripatetic nature of the job adds an extra layer of complexity and variety, making each day different and engaging.

Constantly moving between locations can be physically demanding and requires excellent time management skills. Working in different settings means adapting to varying levels of resources and equipment availability. On the other hand, no two days are the same, keeping the work interesting and dynamic, and you forego the significant expense of hiring and running your own clinic space. 

Why Qualify in Sensory Integration?

Are you curious about enhancing your therapeutic approach by qualifying as a Sensory Integration Practitioner? Gaining a UK university-accredited postgraduate qualification in sensory integration is accessible and affordable with Sensory Integration Education’s pathway to practice. Adding the ability to assess and carry out Ayres Sensory Integration interventions is transformative both for you as a therapist and for your client outcomes. 

But don’t take our word for it; listen to these experienced therapists, all qualified in sensory integration, talk about the moment the ‘penny dropped’ for them, and they realised the value of sensory to their practice and clients. 

And if we’ve piqued your interest, take a look at Transform Your Practice With Sensory Integration: A Free Course for Therapists. Join two Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioners as they explore Ayres Sensory Integration (ASI), its relevance to clinical practice, and how to integrate it into your work. By the end of this course, you'll have a better understanding of ASI and its relevance to your clinical practice. You'll also learn four practical strategies you can implement immediately in your work.



What Equipment Will You Need as a Peripatetic Therapist?

Choosing equipment that you can safely carry, fit into your car (if necessary), meets ASI fidelity as far as possible and will provide the sensory input required by your client group can be challenging. Here are our suggestions and top tips.

Equipment Ideas for Peripatetic Sensory Practitioner

Portable swing, such as Southpaw’s Itinerant Support Frame with a range of swings relevant to your client’s needs. This frame is collapsable to less than 2m when packed away, meaning it can be transported in an estate car. This Platform Swing is useful for therapists who mostly see clients in their homes, as is Southpaw’s Home Therapy range.

Scooter board

Floor Mat 

Gym ball or peanut ball

Bungee jumper


Floor spots or stepping stones

Lightweight cones

Small hoops or bean bags for target games

Inflatables such as Southpaw’s Walrus (remember you will need a pump) and Inflatable Barrel

Rocking board

Lycra resistance tunnel

Pop-up dark den with light-up toys

Items for tactile input: tactile tiles, kinetic sand (homemade or bought), putty foam clay, slime, small items or toys that can be hidden in the slime for retrieval, therapy putty in a range of resistances, tactile foam or shaving foam, letters and shapes with different textures on them, or mini dusters to create light touch. Use small plastic crates to create different textures (shredded paper, dry rice, water beads etc) and hide small objects within these for clients to retrieve.

Top Tips for the Peripatetic Therapist

Quality Over False Economy: Ensure equipment is fit for purpose and robust enough to withstand rough handling. Buying the cheapest option that may be replaced more often is a false economy. 

UKCA/CE/Kitemarking: Any items you take into a school, hospital, client’s home or residential facility should have a UKCA or CE (or equivalent) safety mark.

Food-Safe: Any items you might reasonably expect your client group to lick or chew should be of food-safe quality. 

Look for Multi-Use Items: Choose items that can be used to target multiple sensory systems and can be used for assessment purposes.

Don’t Underestimate Set-Up Time: Consider the time it takes to set up and take down equipment before and after clients leave. 

Look After Your Back: You should have a manual handling policy and procedures so you know how to safely manage your set-up, take-down and carrying equipment to your vehicle. 

Secure Storage: Ensure you have a secure unit at your house or a venue for your equipment and that you have adequate insurance coverage against theft and accidental damage. 

Hygiene: Look for products that are easy to clean to maintain hygiene between different users and have a cleaning schedule for equipment.

Work Out Working Loads: For suspended equipment, ensure you consider the working load of the individual swings as well as the frame. Check the instructions that come with the equipment.

Make Working Loads Limits Easy: Use a permanent marker to write the working load on each item so you don’t have to keep looking it up. Or put a coloured spot on each item to categorise them by working load limit. 

Take Advantage of Suppliers’ Services: Make use of suppliers’ services to help you compile a suite of products that will fit your and your clients’ needs and the environments you practice in.

Maintain Your Maintenance Routine: Create a maintenance checklist and carry this out every week, paying attention to wear points on equipment. Keep records of these checks. 

What About If You Want to Set Up Your Own ASI Space?

If the peripatetic life isn’t for you, you might be considering setting up your own ASI space within a hired space or creating your own clinic. Designing Your Own ASI Space is an on-demand, online course by Moyna Talcer, an Occupational Therapist with 20 years clinical experience and an Advanced Practitioner in Sensory Integration. It’s designed to give you all the practical advice needed to set up your own ASI clinic. And it includes a bonus video with Mike Brooke, National Sales Manager of Southpaw UK, who discusses the precise requirements of the different kinds of suspension equipment suitable for owned or hired spaces and mobile therapists.

Sensory Integration Education is a not-for-profit organisation pioneering world-class training in sensory integration for professionals for over 30 years. 

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