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Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds: Sensory Strategies for Promoting Wellness in Children

presented by Jenny L. Clark, OTR/L

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial— Jenny Clark receives compensation from MedBridge for the production of this course. There are no other relevant financial relationships. Nonfinancial— No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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In this course, therapists learn innovative ideas on how to integrate health and wellness interventions and strategies into the daily lives of youth struggling 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 both physical 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, ASD, and decreased exposure to nature. 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), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and nature-deficit disorder. Therapists are introduced to a variety of wellness strategies focusing on meaningful occupations, including outdoor activities in nature, therapeutic gardening, yoga, deep breathing, and mindfulness activities. These wellness interventions teach children many important skills that can be applied to daily life experiences.

Meet Your Instructor

Jenny L. Clark, OTR/L

Jenny L. Clark, OTR/L, has helped children for the past 30 years as a licensed pediatric occupational therapist, working as a speaker, school-based occupational therapist, consultant, private practitioner at her own clinic (Jenny's Kids, Inc.), independent contractor for early intervention services, author, and inventor. Jenny currently works as an OT supervisor in school-based teletherapy practice.…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Identifying Occupational Wellness Needs in the Pediatric Population Through Evidence-Based Practices

Chapter One discusses AOTA’s "Vision 2025" for the promotion of health and wellness interventions to facilitate participation in meaningful occupations. Therapists learn about the ethical application of complementary health approaches in occupational therapy practice. Research-based evidence will be presented that indicates it is necessary for children and youths to get outside and move, to both promote wellness and prevent health-related problems such as childhood obesity, decreased attention, anxiety, and more. Therapists glean an understanding about why lack of movement contributes to physical, emotional, and behavioral challenges in children with childhood disorders including sensory processing disorder, attention deficit disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. Therapists will learn characteristics of "nature-deficit disorder," a term coined by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, and why getting outside in nature is important for the health and well-being of our youth.

2. Occupation-Based Wellness Interventions for Children and Youth Part One: Nature and Nutrition

Chapter Two provides therapists with a vast array of practical interventions that address wellness-related issues for children. Therapists will learn about the benefits for children of exposure to nature. Therapists will develop a repertoire of fun and creative ways to get kids outside while integrating sensory-rich experiences, such as junior park ranger programs and geocaching with kids. This chapter will discuss agricultural literacy and how this impacts a child’s nutritional health. With this knowledge, therapists will glean intervention strategies to address this issue, such as involving children in therapeutic gardening. These pediatric occupation-based interventions include activities that parents, teachers, and therapists can implement in a variety of settings.

3. Occupation-Based Wellness Interventions for Children and Youth Part Two: Deep Breathing, Meditation, and Mindfulness

Chapter Three discusses wellness-related interventions for children, including deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. It will explore a variety of engaging deep breathing activities for children, such as balloon breath and bee breath. Therapists will learn how meditation is a neurophysiological "brain break" for children that helps to improve attention, emotional regulation, and self-esteem. This chapter provides therapists with mindfulness strategies that can help children develop sensory self-regulation skills.

4. Yoga Poses as Therapeutic Intervention for Children and Youth

Chapter Four discusses the evidence-based therapeutic value of yoga poses for children and youth. Implementing yoga poses into therapy helps to address 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 qualities of yoga as an effective approach to help children overcome deficits so that they can experience quality of life through meaningful and joyful activity.

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