Healthy Bodies & Healthy Minds: Therapeutic Strategies for Promoting Wellness in Children
Experience an exciting and fun new course by Jenny L. Clark, OTR/L as she teaches therapists innovative ideas to integrate health and wellness strategies into the daily lives of children and youth who struggle with childhood disorders that impact emotional regulation, attention span, problem solving skills, social interactions, and physical health.
The American Occupational Therapy Association’s ‘Vision 2025’ identifies health and wellness as a focused key practice area for therapists in the 21st century. Because health is an important component of physical, mental, and emotional well-being, there is an increased need for wellness-related services. Research studies examining health-related interventions indicate promising results for children’s well-being. Implementing these interventions into daily life improves a child’s neurophysiological symptoms resulting from SPD, ADHD, and ASD. As the number of children with SPD increases and the correlation between nature-deficit disorder and prevalent childhood disorders is established, it is imperative for therapists to incorporate wellness interventions into their therapeutic strategies.
This course identifies a decrease in physical activity as a key problem in children with sensory processing disorder (SPD), attention deficit disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Therapists will learn why lack of movement contributes to physical, emotional, and behavioral challenges in children with childhood disorders as they are introduced to a variety of wellness strategies focusing on meaningful occupations, including outdoor activities in nature, healthy foods, yoga, deep breathing, and mindfulness activities.
In this course therapists will learn about the evidence-based therapeutic value of yoga for children and youth. Yoga addresses a wide spectrum of a child’s developmental needs, from emotional regulation and attention span to motor planning and coordination. Individual yoga poses are selected for discussion of sensory and musculoskeletal benefits. Therapists learn the assets of yoga as an effective approach to help children overcome deficits so that they can experience quality of life through meaningful and joyful activity.
This course will also examine the neuroscientific evidence about the benefits of exposure to nature. Therapists will learn to identify characteristics of ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’, a term coined by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, and discover why getting outside in nature is important for the health and well-being of children and youth. Jenny will present evidence-based information about physical activity in nature, the benefits of ‘blue space’, and agricultural literature and its impact on a child’s nutrition. Participants will develop a repertoire of fun and practical activities to connect children with nature, ideas on how to bring the outdoors inside to schools and clinics, therapeutic gardening for children, geocaching, animal-assisted therapy, and more. These pediatric health and wellness strategies and interventions include activities that parents, teachers, and therapists can implement in a variety
Course Title: Every Brain is Different: How to Help Children with Dysgraphia
Illegible handwriting, also known as dysgraphia, is the primary reason for referrals to therapists practicing in school-based settings. Although handwriting instruction is the responsibility of teachers, the therapist’s role is in the identification of the motor, sensory, and perceptual deficits underlying dysgraphia. In this course you will learn signs and symptoms of the three different types of dysgraphia, dyslexic dysgraphia, motor dysgraphia, and spatial dysgraphia, and be able to identify functional handwriting challenges in school-age children. Assessment tools used to determine identification of dysgraphia will be discussed. Attendees will ascertain a variety of remedial interventions and compensatory adaptations that can be used to assist children with success in functional written communication skills for scholastic achievement. Case studies will be presented to demonstrate a progressive plan of care from dysgraphia identification to treatment outcomes.