A. Jean Ayres and the development of sensory integration: a case study in the development and fragmentation of a scientific therapy network

Social Epistemology 31 (2):107-129 (2017)
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Jean Ayres invented Sensory Integration for children experiencing learning and social difficulties because, according to Ayres, they could not adequately integrate information from multiple sensory modalities. She established a scientific basis for her identification of children with sensory integrative difficulties, using statistical techniques to identify symptoms and neuroscience to determine a cause. She was an unusually reflective practitioner who catalyzed a community of practice around SI without becoming a guru—indeed, she encouraged her students to come up with their own ideas and test them empirically. She felt isolated from the growing field of Occupational Therapy yet is viewed as one of its greatest pioneers. After her death in 1988, the SI community gradually began to argue about fundamental issues like what should constitute an appropriate diagnosis and set of tests for SI. At present, the network is fragmented to the point where some of the opposing positions may be incommensurable with each other, which would require a trading zone.



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Verbal behavior.Noam Chomsky & B. F. Skinner - 1959 - Language 35 (1):26.
Simulating social epistemology.Michael Gorman & Robert Rosenwein - 1995 - Social Epistemology 9 (1):71 – 79.

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