Sensory Health in Early Childhood - Presentation Details

$129 Early Bird Registration
Through November 16

November 2, 9, & 16, 2023

Thursdays | 8:00AM-12:00PM MT

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Presentation Details
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AOTA CEUs will be available as an add-on of $45.

Day 1 | Thursday | November 2nd - 8am - 12pm MT

Sensory Health, Relationships & Co-occupation: Promoting Self-regulation through Early Shared Experiences | Dr. Kris Pizur-Barnekow

Sensory health is the ability to process sensory information in an adaptive way that results in physical and emotional well-being. In addition, sensory health impacts relational dynamics between caregivers and young children through attachment and attunement processes that occur during engagement in occupation or meaningful shared activities. Research findings help us understand that nurturing responsive care, that occurs during daily shared activities, fosters co-regulation which eventually leads to self-regulation. As such, thinking about the role that sensory processing plays in attunement, co-regulation and self-regulation can help us understand the significance of meaningful shared activities when a child is at risk for sensory processing difficulties. At the end of this session, participants will develop an action plan that helps integrate concepts that are presented.

Learning Objectives:

  • Apply a sensory health framework to co-occupational engagement.
  • Integrate aspects of sensory health, co-occupation and self-regulation into clinical reasoning when serving families of infants and toddlers.
  • Understand the role that sensory health and neurodiversity have on self-regulation.
  • Create an action plan that integrates concepts learned.

Enriching Environments for Young Children: A Look at Sensory, Regulation, and Relational Strategies | Ariel Harris & Kaitlyn Darbe

We all know how important the first 5 years of life is in terms of setting children up for success. We can take an active role in creating supportive physical, relational and emotional environments that facilitate thriving, not just surviving. During this 1 hour workshop, participants will be introduced to the foundational developmental domains of sensory processing, regulation and relationship and how these domains impact early childhood. Through breakout discussion materials, participants will identify a specific environment they wish to enhance and the strategies they can use in all 3 foundational domains to do so.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the role sensory processing, regulation and relationship has on early childhood development.
  • Identify 3 strategies that can be implemented immediately to support sensory, regulation and relational development in a context specific to the participant.

Sensory, Speech, and Play: Considerations for 0-5 years | Carrie Dishlip

Communication challenges are often the first pattern of developmental delay identified in the early childhood population. This presentation will review communication needs and common diagnoses of early childhood. It will review the key developmental milestones of sensory-motor and communication development through the first years of life. Additionally, the presentation will explore the impact of sensory processing challenges on communication and play development. It will conclude with important considerations for early intervention therapists from all disciplines when supporting the early childhood population.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify key milestones and age markers for sensory motor and communication development
  • Recognize the impact of sensory motor development on gestural communication
  • Explain how sensory and communication can impact play development
  • Describe how regulation work will support early intervention across disciplines

Toilet Learning In Neurodivergent Children | Anna Miller

This presentation will discuss the differences of toilet learning in neurodivergent children versus neuro-majority children. The impacts of disordered sensory processing and other biological and neurological considerations on toileting for this population will be discussed. An overview of precursory strategies to support toilet learning for neurodivergent children will be provided.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the developmental trajectory of toileting readiness for both neuro-majority and neuro-divergent populations.
  • Identify 5 strategies for supporting toilet readiness for neurodivergent children.
  • Summarize how gut health in neuro-divergent populations impacts toileting.

Day 2 | Thursday | November 9th - 8am - 12pm MT

Anxiety in Early Childhood and Sensory Processing Disorders | Dr. Lori Annes

The purpose of this presentation is to educate allied health professionals, pediatricians, mental health professionals and parents as to how anxiety presents in early infancy and toddler years. The presentation is designed to identify the symptoms of sensory processing dysfunction in early infancy and its potential correlation to infant anxiety. There are biological and environmental risk factors for anxiety that are being recognized in the mental health literature. Health care providers need to ask "different" questions and affirm parent observations of infant struggles in order to ensure the infant's development the first year of life is optimized.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participant will be able to differentiate developmental anxiety markers versus indications of true anxiety in infants and toddlers
  • Participant will be able to identify five red flags for early anxiety in infants and toddlers
  • Student will be able to identify 3 types of sensory processing dysfunction which may correlate/contribute to anxiety in infants and children.

Shall We Dance?: Using the DIR Framework to Understand the Power of Parent-child Play and Interaction Eunice Lee

The back-and-forth interaction between parent and child plays a pivotal role in development. Using the DIR framework, this presentation outlines how co-regulation, engagement, and reciprocity can be harnessed to expand on a child’s interests, play preferences, and ideas. Case examples allow participants to learn about a variety of interactions that can be applied to their child, client, or student.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the importance of play and interaction for a child 0-5 years old
  • Describe how a child’s developmental capacities impact their play and interaction
  • List 2-3 examples of how to expand on a child’s play and interaction in a meaningful and supportive way

The Fundamentals of Feeding in Infants | Erin Ross

Infant feeding is very different from feeding toddlers and young children. Whether the infant is in the hospital or home, caregivers need to understand why they are not eating well before creating a feeding plan. This presentation will discuss the factors that influence the successful development of eating skills, and highlight how feeding aversions develop. Generalized intervention strategies will be shared to help the caregiver support the infant’s skill development.

Learning Objectives

  • List three areas that might influence eating in the infant
  • Explain how feeding aversions develop
  • List one intervention strategy that may be used to improve feeding skill development

Insights from Parent Advocates: Nurturing Sensory Well-being in Young Children Erin Schneider, Nic King, and Meghan Ashburn

Day 3 | Thursday | November 16th - 8am - 12pm MT

Supporting Early Development Using an Interoception LensRenee Allen

This presentation introduces the audience to the concept of interoception - the capacity to read and understand your body's internal signals - and it's role as an essential building block for body-concept, self-identity, emotions relationship and regulation. Opportunities for incorporating interoceptive awareness into early childhood development will be shared.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define interoception and its role in development.
  • Understand the relationship between the dual coding of sensory information (internal and external) and emotional experiences as it pertains to early child development.
  • Identify no less than 3 strategies to support overall sensory health and wellness in early childhood development using a focus on interoceptive understanding.

Sensory Emotional Personalities: A Sensory Motor Lens to Attachment and Goodness of Fit | Michele Parkins & AnnMarie Murphy

The way one acts and reacts impacts the relationships developed with others and these reactions and interactions in early childhood are the hallmark of attachment. Temperament is understood as the tendencies that a person has to react and act in specific ways. Understanding different temperaments can serve as a guide to develop expectations for one’s behavior. This presentation will present five distinct personality styles, or temperaments, of children with sensory motor differences. Through understanding the five Sensory Emotional Personalities, participants will understand the ways a child with sensory motor differences may act or react within relationships with others and how this may impact attachment patterns. Positive attachment patterns occur when there is a goodness of fit between a child and their caregiver(s). Goodness of fit occurs when a caregiver’s expectations are matched by the child’s behaviors or tendencies and ultimately how a caregiver reacts and interacts with the child based on these expectations. Based on the expectations for behavior outlined by the Sensory Emotional Personality types, participants will gain strategies to support goodness of fit through positive relationship based interaction styles with children demonstrating each of the five Sensory Emotional Personalities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the connection between sensation, action and emotion with regard to personality and temperament styles.
  • Identify five behavior patterns that co-occur with differences in sensory motor capacities.
  • Define ways in which sensory motor related behavior patterns impact the development of attachment between children and caregivers.
  • Develop strategies for therapeutic use of self in interactions with children demonstrating differences in

EXPERT PANEL - Using the Clinical Lens: Examining Importance of Sensory Health for the Young Child | Mim Ochsenbein, Dr. Virginia Spielmann, Maura Mooneyham, Renee Allen, and Michele Parkins