Thursday, April 29, 2010

First morning at the 2010 AOTA Conference!

Hi All!

I (Maura) just got in from a relaxing morning lounging by the pool and floating down the lazy river!

Just kidding!  All my professors who are reading this, can now pick up their jaws...
I just returned from the first session that I attended this morning- the Role of Occupational Therapy in Addressing Sensory Needs, presented by Sandra Schefkind, MS, OTR/L, the Pediatric Coordinator for the AOTA, and Renee Watling, PhD, OTR/L, the SISIS (Sensory Integration Special Interest Session) Chairperson from Tacoma, Washington. 

They discussed the AOTA goals: disseminate, support, advocate, collaborate, and translate, and how these goals can be applied to Sensory Integration.  Ms. Schefkind and Dr. Walting talked about the SISIS goals and mission and expressed how important it was to clarify what SI intervention is and is not, the need to increase awareness of OTs as experts in providing SI information, the need to increase awareness of SI across the lifespan (so much of it focuses on the pediatric population, but it is important to understand that sensory processing disorders impact the lives of adults and their ability to successfully function in their every day lives), and the need to link research to practice.

Dr. Walting and Ms. Schefkind wanted to develop a presentation that practitioners could use to explain what Sensory Integration is, what the intervention looks like and what it does.  Their hope is that practitioners use this powerpoint presentation for in-services to teach others about Sensory Integration.  The powerpoint will be available within the next month on the AOTA website.  They really want to hear back from people about what they think about the powerpoint- is it good or is it missing anything?  So check out the AOTA website within this next month for the presentation!! I will also post a link to the powerpoint on this blog when it becomes available. 

Other than wanting to immediately write down everything I learned this morning...I also wanted to run to the fabric store right away because I got a new idea on how to make a new fabric tunnel!  (Tyler, I promise our whole house will not be filled with tunnels or other things I have made...)

Anyway, some interesting points from the presentation that I thought were interesting, think everyone should know or understand, or may help clarify something:
  • The AOTA has identified Autisum as a primary area to address and focus on
  • Sensory Integration is both a theory and an approach
  • Sensory Integration supports the child to: organize himself and organize himself in the world around him
  • For those still confused about what the proprioceptive system is...I really liked the way they explained the proprioceptive vs. vestibular system, which may help some understand it a little better.  They explained proprioception as the "pressure sense" (not to get this confused with deep pressure addressing the tactile system) so anything that you move against resistance (crawling, throwing, walking, etc.) activates the proprioceptive system. 

Here are some more resources and information they gave us:

Please let me know if you want any more information about any of this- I have a lot more information about the presentation and the specific resources they provided.

Ms. Schefkind is a fellow Bethesda, MD resident and after the presentation we had a great discussion about life in Bethesda, Walt Whitman High School, Burning Tree Elementary, and how small this world is!  She provided me with some more information and ideas and I am really looking forward to taking the information to the next step!

Until later...



  1. So, if I'm at a park with my toddler and he wants to get on the tire swing, and another parent spins him too fast (because that parent's duaghter likes to spin really fast), but my child gets sick from that because his vestibular system got too activated?? ...just hypothetical of course...although this might have happened last week in Dallas...on Tuesday afternoon...

  2. Glad to hear that you were not lounging by the pool while we were taking exams! ;) Wonderful post, Maura! HKB

  3. Dear Keith,

    If this wasn't a hypothetical situation and if something like this did occur, let's just say... last Tuesday around 12:30pm in advice to you is to hope that one of your family members is/is going to be an OT!

    1 of 2 OT Students

  4. This is Maura's anonymous number ONE fan (outside of Tyler and her Dad) who thinks the blog is fascinating and really helpful. You deserve time at the pool. Your head needs to digest all this important info.

  5. To HKB,
    don't worry, I was definitely not at the pool while you all were taking your exams...I hope they went well! :)

    To Mom...opps I mean "Anonymous",
    I'm glad that you like our blog so much (of course, in your completely unbiased opinion :) ).
    Just 3 more days and then it can be pool time for a week and a half! Thank you for being my #1 fan!