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Neurologic Occupational Therapy: Upper Extremity Motor Rehabilitation

Acquire an in-depth understanding of the neuroscience, assessment, principles underlying skill acquisition, and treatment of commonly encountered motor impairments encountered in occupational therapy practice.

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About this Certificate Program

Neurological deficits are the most commonly encountered impairments in occupational therapy, and the prevalence is rapidly-increasing. Despite a widely-appreciated impact, few resources and no certifications are available for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. This rigorous certificate program provides unique and specific focus on evaluation, treatment, and neurological underpinnings. Focus areas include neuroscience/neuroanatomy, assessment and treatment of specific conditions (e.g., spasticity), modalities (e.g., orthotics/prosthetics for the paretic upper extremity), and optimal learning conditions for people with neurological impairments. This certificate is provided in two modules that must be taken sequentially. In section one, learners are exposed to foundational concepts in neurologic motor rehabilitation, including neuroanatomy, neuroplasticity, and motor learning in neurologically-impaired populations. In section two, users learn the assessment of specific impairments and participation deficits encountered in neurologic occupational therapy practice.

Target Audience

This series is designed for occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants interested in learning rigorous strategies for treating patients with neurological conditions.

Goals & Objectives

  • Identify and describe the functional anatomy of brain regions and specific brain areas.
  • Define neuroplasticity and explain in detail the conditions under which it occurs.
  • Explain the prerequisites for effective learning to occur in neurologically-impaired populations.
  • Identify and describe the administration of three assessments of upper extremity function and impairment.

What's Included in the Certificate Program

Accredited Online Courses*

21 hours of online video lectures and patient demonstrations.

Interactive Learning Assessments

Case-based quizzes to evaluate and improve clinical reasoning.

Case Study Interviews

Recorded Q&A sessions between instructors and practice managers.

Section 1: Foundational Concepts

6 Chapters

Motor Learning Strategies: Interventions at the Environment Levelkeyboard_arrow_down

  • Strategies at the Environment LevelChapter 1

    In this chapter, J.J. Mowder-Tinney discusses the appropriateness of integrating variability into the plan of care. Variability is discussed through problem solving and the challenge point framework to keep the learner actively involved in problem solving during the process of finding movement solutions. Two different options for feedback are discussed along with their impact on function.

  • Focus of AttentionChapter 2

    A learner’s focus of attention can be either internal, monitoring the way they move, or external, focusing on the actions of their movements and if the goal was achieved. J.J. Mowder-Tinney explores a comparison of two different cueing options to switch from internal to external focus of attention to increase effectiveness and efficiency of movement.

  • Intensity and Mobility TrainingChapter 3

    Intensity incorporated into mobility training provides four benefits, which will be discussed throughout this chapter. Learners will be able to gauge the level of intensity based on a patient’s heart rate, as well as use seven dimensions of challenge to adapt a mobility-training program.

  • Practice Session: Self-CueingChapter 4

    J.J. Mowder-Tinney explains the importance of self-control cueing to keep your patient engaged and challenge themselves in motor learning. This practice session gives you quick and easy steps to facilitate your patient's involvement in their therapy. Starting from the beginning, keep your patient engaged and allow them to challenge themselves throughout the rehabilitation process.

  • View full course details »

Treating Patients with Neurological Deficitskeyboard_arrow_down


Therapeutic Neural Correlates of Motor Learningkeyboard_arrow_down


Motor Rehabilitation Post-Stroke: Principles of Neuroplasticity and Motor Learningkeyboard_arrow_down

  • Neuroanatomy, Neural Mechanisms, and StrokeChapter 1

    Basic physiological and anatomical information about disabling condition forms the background knowledge for therapists. This chapter will remind the attendee of the neuroanatomy and neural mechanisms associated with stroke.

  • Principles of Practice for Motor RehabilitationChapter 2

    Recovery of motor function after stroke is believed to rely on neural re-organization. The basis for motor rehabilitation approaches comes from basic animal and human studies of how behavioral experience influences neuroplasticity. This chapter will review the literature that has led to the development of basic principles of practice structure and the greatest neuroplasticity.

  • Evidence for Post-Stroke Motor Rehabilitation ApproachesChapter 3

    Rehabilitation needs to be evidence-based so that the most efficacious and effective interventions are provided to individuals with stroke. This chapter will present the evidence for the most-studied motor rehabilitation approaches for hemiparesis post-stroke.

  • Experimental ApproachesChapter 4

    It is clear from research conducted over the past 20 years that therapy facilitates motor recovery from stroke. Despite such rehabilitation however, individuals with stroke continue to experience long-term reduced motor function that interferes with successful engagement in daily activities. More effective interventions are needed. This chapter will describe some new approaches, mostly interventions to be used as instigators of motor practice, that offer promise for enhancing the brain’s ability to re-organize in response to motor practice.

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Neuroanatomy for Rehabilitation Professionalskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Major Divisions of the Nervous SystemChapter 1

    This chapter will provide a distinction between the CNS and the PNS to set the stage for deeper explorations of both systems.

  • Major Cell TypesChapter 2

    This chapter will begin with an explanation of the distinction between neurons and nerves, and review basic cellular anatomy and cell function. The remainder of the chapter will identify the types of cells found in the CNS and the basic function of each cell type.

  • Major NeurotransmittersChapter 3

    This chapter will review the main neurotransmitters found in the brain. The two key functions of neurotransmitters (rapid communication vs. neuromodulation) will be discussed. Major locations of cells producing different types of neurotransmitters will be identified.

  • Brain Organization Part 1: Spinal Cord and Brain StemChapter 4

    This chapter will introduce and discuss the functions of the spinal cord and brain stem. The main types of spinal nerves will be reviewed, followed by a review of the twelve cranial nerves.

  • Brain Organization Part 2: Cerebellum, Thalamus, & Basal GangliaChapter 5

    This chapter will continue the discussion of major brain regions and functions, focusing on the cerebellum and subcortical structures. The main divisions of the cerebellum will be identified, and the function of the cerebellum will be reviewed. The key role of the thalamus will be discussed. Some of the major deficits resulting from damage to the thalamus and basal ganglia will be reviewed.

  • Brain Organization Part 3: Limbic SystemChapter 6

    This chapter reviews the structural components and function of the limbic system. The interactions between the limbic system and other brain regions is vital in the regulation of emotion and memory.

  • Brain Organization Part 4: Cerebral CortexChapter 7

    The cerebral cortex, or neocortex, is the newest and most complex part of the brain. It is comprised of four lobes. This part of the brain is critical in higher-level cognitive processes. In this chapter, the organization and function of the cortex will be discussed.

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Section 1 Quiz


Section 2: Treatment and Assessment of the Neurologic Upper Extremity

7 Chapters

Introduction to Modified Constraint-Induced Therapykeyboard_arrow_down

  • Therapy Rationale and EvidenceChapter 1

    Chapter one will describe the phenomenon of learned nonuse in neurologic populations, its relationship to neuroplasticity, the rationale and development of CIT, and challenges associated with its practical clinical administration.

  • Getting StartedChapter 2

    This chapter details the techniques and outcome measures that are used to initiate mCIT in the clinic, including how to screen for the right candidates, the outcome measures that are used.

  • Clinical ApplicationChapter 3

    The last chapter of this course will introduce the user to the practical implementation of mCIT in the clinic and at home. Demonstrations will be shown to explain how the therapy is implemented and adjunctive tools used to increase its efficacy.

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Upper Extremity Strategies Along the Post-Stroke Recovery Continuumkeyboard_arrow_down


Getting a Grip on Upper Extremity Spasticity Assessment and Managementkeyboard_arrow_down


Understanding Recovery and Evolution of Impairments in the Arm and Handkeyboard_arrow_down

  • Recovery after a Stroke or Brain InjuryChapter 1

    This chapter will cover the process of neurological and functional recovery for persons who have acquired brain injury or stroke and their implications on the rehabilitation process. Dr. Bondoc will also explain the nature of spasticity and its impact on movement, functional recovery, and the development of secondary impairments.

  • Spasticity and Movement ImpairmentChapter 2

    This chapter will review neurophysiology of the motor unit and discuss the definition of spasticity and its impact on movement and posture of the arm and hand.

  • Sensory ImpairmentsChapter 3

    In this chapter Salvador Bondoc will review the somatosensory system and sub-modalities of somatosensation and describe pain and sensory impairments associated with the neurological UE following brain injury.

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Physical Agent Modalities for Neurologic Occupational Therapykeyboard_arrow_down

  • Rationale and Introduction to Physical Agent ModalitiesChapter 1

    This chapter will introduce the rationale for the use of physical agent modalities (PAMs) in occupational therapist practice, including the theoretical foundations of PAMs, their relationship to the occupational therapist practice framework, and consideration of state laws and regulations regarding the use of PAMs in occupational therapy practice.

  • Electrical Stimulation for Neurological Applications: An IntroductionChapter 2

    Electrical stimulation is commonly used to mitigate pain, reduce spasticity, and increase range of motion in people with neurological impairments. This chapter will review the basic attributes and parameters of electrical stimulation that can be modified by OT professionals, describe the hypothesized mechanisms of electrical stimulation, describe the rationale and evidence supporting its use in clients with neurological impairments, and demonstrate the basic use of electrical stimulation in several basic applications.

  • CryotherapyChapter 3

    Cryotherapy is commonly used to mitigate pain, reduce spasticity, and ameliorate other symptoms in people with neurological impairments. This chapter will review the basic attributes of cold, describe its hypothesized mechanisms, describe the rationale and evidence supporting its use in clients with neurological impairments, and demonstrate the basic use of cryotherapy in several basic applications.

  • ThermotherapyChapter 4

    Thermotherapy is commonly used to mitigate pain, reduce spasticity, and ameliorate other symptoms in people with neurological impairments. This chapter will review the basic attributes of heat, describe its hypothesized mechanisms, describe the rationale and evidence supporting its use in clients with neurological impairments, and demonstrate the use of thermotherapy in several basic applications.

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Specific Orthoses for Neurological Conditionskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Specific Orthoses for Neurological Conditions: The ElbowChapter 1

    This chapter will cover conditions of the elbow that would benefit from positioning in an orthosis to maintain tissue length and prevent joint contractures. This volar based elbow orthosis will be described in detail regarding the appropriate thermoplastic material selection, pattern making, and fabrication techniques. Additional tips and tricks will be offered in an easy to follow format.

  • Specific Orthoses for Neurological Conditions: The Anterior Based Elbow OrthosisChapter 2

    Many conditions require using an Anterior Elbow Orthosis as an intervention.  This chapter details these conditions and offers an easy method for fabrication of an Anterior Elbow Orthosis along with information on appropriate thermoplastic materials.

  • Specific Orthoses for Neurological Conditions: The Anti- Spasticity OrthosisChapter 3

    This chapter will cover conditions of the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers that would benefit from positioning in an orthosis to maintain tissue length and prevent joint contractures. This anti- spasticity orthosis will be described in detail regarding the appropriate thermoplastic material selection, pattern making, and fabrication techniques. Additional tips and tricks will be offered in an easy to follow format.

  • View full course details »

Section 2 Quiz

J.J. Mowder-Tinney


Stephen Page


Salvador Bondoc


Deborah A. Schwartz


Dorian Rose


Dustin R. Grooms


Lorie Richards


Howard A. Lloyd


CEU Approved

21 total hours* of accredited coursework.
MedBridge accredits each course individually so you can earn CEUs as you progress.

      Our clinic could not be happier with MedBridge.

Amy Lee, MPT, OCS
Physical Therapy Central

       MedBridge has allowed us to create a culture of learning that we were previously unable to attain with traditional coursework.

Zach Steele, PT, DPT, OCS
Outpatient Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Services

    MedBridge has created a cost-effective and quality platform that is the future of online education.

Grant R. Koster, PT, ATC, FACHE
Vice President of Clinical Operations, Athletico Physical Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get CEU credit?
Each course is individually accredited. Please check each course for your state and discipline. You can receive CEU credit after each course is completed.

When do I get my certificate?
You will receive accredited certificates of completion for each course as you complete them. Once you have completed the entire Certificate Program you will receive your certificate for the program.

*Accreditation Hours
Each course is individually accredited and exact hours will vary by state and discipline. Check each course for specific accreditation for your license.

Do I have to complete the courses in order?
It is not required that you complete the courses in order. Each Certificate Program's content is built to be completed sequentially but it is not forced to be completed this way.

How long do I have access to the Certificate Program?
You will have access to this Certificate Program for as long as you are a subscriber. Your initial subscription will last for one year from the date you purchase.

Sample Certificate

Sample Certificate

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