Balance Retraining: Creating Effective Interventions through Sensory Weighting

presented by Laurie Swan

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Elderly patients often present with impaired integration and use of somatosensory, visual, and vestibular information, even when these systems are providing normal input to the central nervous system. This course introduces the concept of sensory weighting during real-world, functional activities with analysis of how people use somatosensory and visual information to keep their balance during everyday tasks. Common abnormal patterns of sensory weighting are described. Several treatment interventions that target retraining of the appropriate balance system in a given environmental context are described for each of the abnormal patterns. Case studies are used to illustrate examples of each of the common abnormal patterns of sensory weighting.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Laurie Swan, PhD, DPT, PT, CEEAA

    Laurie Swan, PhD, DPT, PT, CEEAA, is recognized nationally for providing high quality continuing education courses that focus on vestibular rehabilitation, balance training, and fall prevention in the elderly. Laurie received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Puget Sound, as well as a PhD in Applied Experimental Psychology from Central Michigan University. She has experience as an academic faculty member teaching neurologic and geriatric courses in physical therapy programs in Michigan and California. More recently, she has gained expertise in marketing and management in the corporate sector by establishing and managing a fall prevention program for the elderly in Pierce County, Washington. Laurie has worked closely with the Washington Department of Health, to disseminate a fall prevention program called “Stay Active & Independent for Life” (SAIL) in the public health sector and this program is now recognized as one of the leading evidence-based programs in the country. Laurie has several publications in peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at national and international conferences. Laurie has completed the competency-based course in vestibular rehabilitation at Emory University, as well as the vestibular function and test interpretation course. She is recognized as a "Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults" through the Geriatrics Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. Laurie received the Award for Clinical Excellence from the Physical Therapy Association of Washington (PTWA) in 2014.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Matching Environmental Context to Sensory Organization

    1. Matching Environmental Context to Sensory Organization

    Dr. Swan provides a real-world example of an activity that matches each of the six sensory conditions of the Clinical Test for Sensory Interaction on Balance. Photographs of people performing different tasks are used to illustrate how somatosensory, visual, and vestibular information is used in differing environments.

  2. Developing Treatment Interventions for Patients with Impaired Sensory Weighting

    2. Developing Treatment Interventions for Patients with Impaired Sensory Weighting

    The participant will learn how to identify the common abnormal patterns that emerge from assessment of sensory weighting. Dr. Swan demonstrates a minimum of two treatment interventions for each of the common abnormal patterns.

  3. Sensory Weighting Case Studies

    3. Sensory Weighting Case Studies

    Dr. Swan presents six case studies to illustrate the principles of sensory weighting. For each of the case studies, results of the somatosensory, visual, and vestibular system assessment are presented, as well as results from the Clinical Test for Sensory Interaction on Balance. After identifying the abnormal pattern, treatment ideas are described.