Using Exercise as a Change Agent for Enhancing Sensory Processing and Regulation for Enhanced Occupations and Functional Outcomes

Presented By: Dr. Amy Wheadon, OT, OTD, OTR, CPT, YES

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Presenter Biography:

Amy is a pediatric occupational therapist with over 22 years of experience working with children and families. Amy is a board-certified, practicing occupational therapist who is licensed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Amy has extensive clinical experience working with children with developmental disorders, including Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Executive Functioning Disorder.  Amy uses an eclectic, individualized, and strengths-based approach to facilitate each child’s success and independence, by targeting strength (including core strength), fine motor skills, visual motor integration skills, sensory processing skills, organizational skills, cooperative peer interaction, and confidence-building.  Amy has been trained in and has experience using specific intervention traditional techniques such as the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol, the ALERT Program, the Astronaut Program, and Handwriting Without Tears.  Amy also has previous experience using ILS and The Listening Program. Amy founded, developed, and refined the EXERSHINEkids POWER Bootcamp Program in 2015, which now has its headquarters at kidSHINE, with 10-15 high-intensity exercise-based classes offered weekly for all age groups and ability levels. Amy also runs an EXERSHINEkids clinician training and certification program quart-annually.

Amy is an active member of AOTA and MAOT, and she is an AOTA Approved Provider for Professional Development Activities. In 2020, Amy completed research on the efficacy of high-intensity exercise as a change agent for improved sensory processing skills in children.  Amy has presented this research at the AOTA Children and Youth Conference, and the Georgia Alliance of School-Based OTs and PTs, and had her poster presentation accepted for the 2020 AOTA National Conference.  In addition, Amy is a guest lecturer at universities and collaborative e-learning conferences and she provides in-person and virtual continuing education for several area preschools and elementary schools, including participating in a post-COVID educational support grant program to bring her BOOST program to two area schools.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify three reasons why OTs are seeing an influx of pediatric clients with sensory processing challenges.
  2. Identify how and why high-intensity exercise can be used in OT treatment for pediatric clients.
  3. Identify how high-intensity exercise can be considered a complementary approach for the treatment of sensory processing challenges.
  4. Learn how to incorporate high-intensity exercise in your daily pediatric treatment sessions.

Intended Audience: Occupational Therapists, (Informational for parents)

Presentation Length: 1 hour

Certificate: Included