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Intervention Strategies for using Ayres Sensory Integration® with ASD

presented by Susan Spitzer, PhD, OTR/L

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

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How can we use Ayres Sensory Integration(R) for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who present unique challenges to implementing this approach? Despite the benefits of a sensory integration approach to meet core sensory needs of children with ASD, the features of ASD often present unique challenges in implementing this approach. This course investigates the sensory integration factors related to disorganization, communication, social interaction, play, and apparently "inconsistent" sensory behaviors. Strategies for each challenge are offered and related clinical reasoning considerations are clarified. This course assumes basic working knowledge of using a sensory integration approach because it focuses on specific application of this knowledge for children with ASD. The content of this course is best understood after taking my course: "Ayres Sensory Integration(R): Application and Individualization for ASD," which provides a foundation for the material in this course.

Meet Your Instructor

Susan Spitzer, PhD, OTR/L

Susan Spitzer is a licensed occupational therapist, author, and lecturer with expertise in sensory integration, play, and autism spectrum disorders. She has operated her own private practice clinic in Pasadena, CA for 15 years. Her highly creative and individualized approach continues to energize her practice after 20 years of experience. Previously, she directed a hospital…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Disorganization and a Sensory Integrative Approach

When a child with ASD is very disorganized, it can be difficult to support intrinsic motivation and internal self-direction. This chapter will identify the sensory integration factors related to this challenge and related strategies.

2. Individualizing a Sensory Integrative Approach for Differences in Communication and Social Interaction

Differences and deficits in communication, thinking, and social abilities often compromise the interaction of the child with ASD and limit therapeutic engagement. Sometimes, these deficits can be directly addressed with a sensory integration approach and others require adaptive strategies to engage the child. Links between challenges and sensory integration as well as targeted strategies for interaction will be shown.

3. Individualizing a Sensory Integrative Approach for Play Deficits

Play is to be included as an essential element in Ayres Sensory Integration® and yet children with ASD tend to have trouble with play. Play deficits will be related to sensory integration. Strategies will be presented for creating play experiences and skills.

4. Sensory “Inconsistencies” in Children with ASD

Children with ASD can present with apparent inconsistencies in sensory-related behaviors. Visual processing strengths and weaknesses are incorporated within Ayres Sensory Integration®. Considerations for unexpected changes in sensory-related behaviors during the course of intervention are reviewed.

5. Clinical Reasoning for Adapting Ayres Sensory Integration® for Children with ASD

Individualizing an Ayres Sensory Integration® approach for children with ASD can be critical to its effective implementation but too much adaptation can dilute its effectiveness. This chapter guides clinicians to determine when and how to make such changes in an Ayres Sensory Integration® approach without losing the benefits of this approach.

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