Sensory Health in Schools - Presentation Details

Day 1 | Thursday | November 3rd | 8am - 12pm MT

Intersection of Trauma and Sensory in the Schools | Dr. Colleen Whiting & Rachel Ashcraft

This course invites participants to consider the ways that trauma and sensory needs intersect within a school environment. Introduction to multifaceted considerations and programming will be discussed. Resources for next steps and practical tools will be provided to all participants. This course is appropriate for practitioners, administrators, educators, and parents.


  • Explain how trauma and sensory intersect
  • Identify theories that apply to the intersection of trauma and sensory
  • Identify multifaceted programming that can support participation and performance for this population in the school setting

Promoting Student Participation: Collecting Data to Identify Effective Interventions | Dr. Gloria Frolek Clark

EXPERT PANEL - Interdisciplinary Team Insights | Dr. Colleen Whiting, Andrea Stafford, Stephanie Patrick, Kara Muirhead and Alicia Whitehead

Day 2 | Thursday | November 10th | 8am - 12pm MT

Happy Teacher, Happy Students: Social Emotional Wellness for Educators | Ashford Duffy

Nature + Schools = Health | Dr. Amy Wagenfeld

Nature is a powerful teacher.  While the COVID-19 pandemic may have wreaked havoc on in person learning and provision of related services, some school districts deemed in person learning, being, and doing as a necessity. Classrooms moved outside. Therapy moved outside. And for many, it worked. And it worked well, because nature teaches, and nature heals.

As we return to traditional, inside learning and provision of related services, we need not undo the lessons learned from moving classrooms and therapies outside and the benefits that children and staff alike reaped. For the sake of our children and those who educate and provide therapy services for them, we need nature to remain front and center as a vital partner in the overall educational process, whether in the classroom or outside. The focus of this session is to explore ways to incorporate nature into school settings and understand the evidence that finds it supports sensory health, mental health, physical health, and subsequently, learning.

Why Sensory Integration Intervention in the School Setting? | Dr. Colleen Whiting and Dr. Sarah Schoen

This session will discuss how laws and guidelines apply to the decision regarding school-based service delivery for children whose sensory integration and processing is impacting their participation and performance in the school setting. Relevant research will be reviewed regarding current evidence-based practice that supports sensory integrative intervention in schools. Finally, a model will be discussed for use of sensory integration intervention in the school setting that aligns with laws, guidelines, and implementation of an evidence-based practice. 


  • Explain the legislation that surrounds service delivery in the school setting and how it impacts decisions
  • Report evidence supporting a pull-model
  • Conceptualize a pull-out model in the school setting

EXPERT PANEL - Through the Advocate Lens | Dan Rosien, Noah Seback, Kieran Rose, Matt Hayes, Meghan Ashburn & Rebecca Mercer  

Day 3 | Thursday | November 17th | 8am - 12pm MT

Utilizing Sensory Awareness to Create a Compassionate Classroom | Amy Lewis and Heather Spann

This course will describe the foundations of creating a compassionate classroom and will provide you with simple interventions that you can use with individuals, in groups, or with a whole class.  These easy-to-implement interventions draw on sensory awareness and create a connection between students that builds compassion in the classroom.  Specifically, we will look at the concepts of felt safety, body sensing, connection, and self-compassion. We will discuss why these tools work and why creating a compassionate classroom is so important.


  • Identify what is a compassionate classroom and why is it important.
  • Relate why the concepts of felt safety, body sensing, connection, and self-compassion are key to self-regulation and developing a compassionate classroom.
  • Identify activities that encourage connection, felt safety and compassion.

Promoting Participation and Health During Lunch and Recess: Comfortable Cafeteria and Refreshing Recess Programs | Dr. Sue Bayzk

Non-academic times of the school day, can be significant contributors to student mental and physical health. Conditions that promote positive mental health include participation in enjoyable activities within caring environments that foster positive emotions (Fredrickson & Joiner, 2018). When students enjoy lunch and recess, have good friends, and perceive school personnel to be supportive, they feel more connected to school which, in turn, enhances academic performance (Blum, 2005).
The aim of this session is to provide detailed information about how to implement the Comfortable Cafeteria (CC) and Refreshing Recess (RR) programs emphasizing inclusive participation, friendship promotion, mealtime conversations, healthy eating, and active play. Strategies for embedding universal trauma informed care (TIC) for communities with trauma will be shared to support the success of the CC and RR programs. Success stories of how related service providers (OT, PT, SLP) collaborate with relevant school personnel in creative ways to implement these programs in urban, suburban, and rural schools will be described.

  • Describe how to implement the Comfortable Cafeteria and Refreshing Recess programs focusing on inclusive participation, friendship promotion, mealtime conversations, healthy food choices, active play, and trauma informed care in order to foster mental and physical health and build capacity of supervisors;
  • Describe success stories for how to adapt implement the Comfortable Cafeteria and Refreshing Recess programs in order to meet the distinct needs of diverse school settings including urban, rural, and suburban.

How to Respectfully and Effectively Support Big Feelings and Big Behaviors in the Classroom | Shelley Carnes

INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP - The IEP Process: Strategies for Enhancing Collaboration | Jan Hollenbeck


  • At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to describe the IEP process under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, including the collaborative team approach.
  • At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to identify real or potential barriers to effective collaboration for students with sensory challenges and possible strategies and solutions to address these barriers.
  • At the conclusion of this session, participants will reflect on personal experience and, using the presented strategies, identify a specific plan that they can employ to facilitate a more collaborative IEP process.