The Big Interview

Sensory Integration Network

Gina Daly, the editor for SensorNet (SN) from the UK and Ireland, spoke to Carolyn Murray Slutsky over skype along with Betty Paris ahead of their trip to the UK for their 4-day workshop. The article is published in collaboration with the SI Network of the UK. Below we have excerpts from the Big Interview published in SensorNet (#49) in March 2017.

The big Interview: Keeping up with Carolyn
Carolyn Murray-Slutsky is a clinical leader, teacher, author and international lecturer and has used her expertise to Lead Excellence in Pediatric Practice Around the Globe. She became a trailblazer in the area of pediatric practice early on. Within her “state of the art” sensory integration clinics and innovative pediatric programs she used cutting edge strategies to help individuals with special needs and their families prosper.

SN: All of us at the SI Network would like to congratulate you on your American Occupational Therapy Association award which you recently received! Can you share more about what this award means?
Carolyn: Why thank you! I was chosen to receive the AOTA Roster of Fellows award at the 2017 Annual American Occupational Therapy Conference in Philadelphia, PA. I am being recognized for “Leading Excellence in Pediatrics Around the Globe”, for my work and teaching, and its profound impact on individuals with special needs, their families, teachers, other professionals and occupational therapists nationally and internationally. I am extremely honored and humble to receive this award and recognition.

SN: Can you tell us about your journey into Sensory integration?
Carolyn: Prior to becoming an OT I was a teacher for children with special needs. I had advanced certification to work with children with emotional and behavior disorders, specialties that I later used as an OT. My early OT career started off in an acute rehabilitation hospital where I eventually became the Director of Rehabilitation. During this time, I became certified in Sensory Integration and Neuro-Developmental Treatment for Adults, children with cerebral palsy and babies.  Upon leaving the hospital I developed a pediatric private practice, Murray Paris Rehabilitative Service, with Betty Paris. It developed into two, large Sensory Integration pediatric clinics offering physical, occupational and speech therapy and a variety of specialized programs including therapeutic horseback riding, summer camps, aquatics and more. It was here that my passion for SI was solidified. When you can directly address a client’s core underlying problem(s), the progress you will see is amazing. It was here that I saw what Sensory Integration could accomplish.
We sold our clinics and developed STAR Services (State of the Art Resource Services) our educational company through which we publish and teach nationally and internationally. I had also been involved in developing and teaching various workshops specializing in Sensory Integration such as: “Integrating NDT and SI”; “Is It Sensory or is it Behavior? Problem Analysis and Intervention” and Autism Spectrum Disorder- Intervention Strategies. During this I time I also became an Adjunct Professor for Occupational Therapy at the Misericordia University in Dallas, PA, designing and implementing their online course on Autism intervention strategies. Treating clients directly has always been important to me. Rehabilitation for Children, Inc., my private practice, allows me to hone my intervention skills for individuals with special needs and to support their families. I am passionate about occupational therapy, sensory integration, the impact we have on clients, and the difference we can make in the lives of families. I share this passion through workshops, seminars and consultations with health care providers, educational professionals, occupational, physical, speech therapists and families nationally and internationally.

SN: You and Betty have written three books focused on ASD – your latest book Autism Interventions: Exploring the Spectrum of Autism, focuses on interventions – can you tell us a bit more about this book and why you wrote it?
Carolyn and Betty: We noticed that there was a huge amount of research on the assessment of ASD, the genetics of ASD, why ASD was occurring, the various traits of ASD and the sensory based problems associated with ASD. However, in our teachings we would be constantly asked for concrete intervention strategies for the sensory, motor and functional problems identified. We wanted to develop a book that outlined these problems and offer information on how to treat them. Our book “Autism Interventions, Exploring the Spectrum of Autism” has a wide range of well renown collaborators. The book is laid out so that there is a chapter describing a particular area of concern for ASD, its research and neurological underpinnings. Among the topics are sensory integration, sensory modulation, sensory discrimination, motor planning, motor control, oral motor, feeding, behavior, communication, play, education. After the content chapter are specific intervention strategies with pictures on how to treat the area of difficulty, translating research and neurological principles directly into treatment, so it is very solution focused.*

Carolyn is a Board Member and co-author of all Sleep’n Sync programs.