The first in Profectum Foundation’s conference webcast series presents the recorded sessions from Profectum Foundation’s inaugural regional training conference held in New York City on September 25, 2011. The conference welcomed parents, clinicians, educators, early intervention specialists and others interested in broadening their understanding of DIR® and the Floortime model, with other integrated treatment approaches. Lecture, dialogue, video clips, case presentations and workshops illustrated real life challenges and how parents and professionals use real world solutions to realize each child’s potential. The morning Plenary Sessions featured acclaimed leaders in the autism treatment community, including Serena Wieder, PhD (coauthored Engaging Autism and The Child with Special Needs with Stanley Greenspan, MD) and Ricki Robinson, MD MPH (author of Autism Solutions). Fourteen Workshops in the afternoon featured a variety of introductory and advanced topics geared for parents and professionals, featuring nationally and internationally known clinicians and educators.
This Conference is available as Webcast Series here.
Welcome & Introduction to Profectum
Developing Development: Foundational Capacities and Skills
Development builds upon a structure of foundational capacities and skills that support relating, communicating, functioning, and thinking. The building blocks of this foundation must be tailored to individual profi les as each child develops along unique pathways and at different rates. It is important to understand the relative strengths and the relative hurdles each child faces in order to understand the developmental change processes that lead to progress and life-long learning and functioning. The spontaneous and organized experiences offered through interactive relationships as part of a comprehensive intervention program will illustrate how to develop and strengthen the foundational capacities necessary to advance progress.
Autism Solutions: What is the child really telling you?
Part of seeking real world solutions to real problems is how we think about the child and the questions we ask to determine what the treatment should look like for that child and family. The team treatment wheel, with the child and family at the center will be discussed to illustrate this formulation. One of the more diffi cult issues facing parents and team members are the behaviors their child may have. These behaviors, such as social withdrawal, aggression, bolting and extreme irritability may come in patterns, some persisting over time, some changing as the individual grows and develops. Using these behaviors as a communication that there could be a disturbance in the external or internal environment for a child allows the team to problem solve and work out whatever issues are stimulating this response. This approach of “getting behind” the child’s behavior to understand the derailed comprehension and communication related to defi cits in foundational capacities and skills and the anxiety that this causes will be demonstrated through real case presentations.
Pathways to Progress: Integrated Perspectives
Case presentations of children illustrating different developmental courses and various “bumps in the road” will be viewed by multidisciplinary Profectum faculty who will provide their perspectives on how they formulate the developmental challenges, view the foundational capacities, consider the rate of progress and identify the various components of intervention that will best help the children realize their developmental potential.
Advanced Clinical Thinking – Part 1: Sensory Processing and Psychodynamics : An Integration of Theory,Thinking and Technique for Advanced Practice Across Disciplines
Conducted by an Occupational Therapist and Psychologist, this cross-disciplinary theory-to-practice presentation will aim to demonstrate the relevance of psychodynamic thinking to enriched relationship based developmental interventions. The presenters will identify psychodynamic constructs and strategies that marry well with sensory-processing ones and have relevance to clinicians across disciplines helping children with ASD and other developmental disorders. The deconstruction and analysis of a case on which the presenters collaborated will bring the material vitally alive and accessible by defi ning “what we did” and the clinical reasoning that informed it. The participants will then have the opportunity to bring up clinical questions relevant to the material presented.
This workshop will provide an overview of how to use Profectum’s Foundational Capacities and Skills as a framework for working with parents and their children. We see the methods of coaching families as central to the progress of the child and the quality of family life. Parents want to experience themselves as creative players and effective caregivers. This happens when we help them to think about the big picture of what they are hoping to accomplish, rather than just telling them what to do in the moment. Basic principles of parent coaching will be provided and the application of this important process will be explored and illustrated through narrative stories and video clips. Consideration of children with a range of strengths and challenges over the lifespan will be considered in the context of parents’ experiences and needs. We will look at vignettes from sessions and think together about how to make the best use of our coaching in the moment.
Education: Using an Integrated Approach in Pre-school and Elementary School Programs
This workshop will provide an overview of how to use Profectum’s Foundational Capacities and Skills as the framework for school programs for young children. How developmental programs differ from other educational models and how these programs integrate the use of other approaches when needed will be demonstrated through video examples. This workshop will illustrate the foundation of how schools have to change to integrate the understanding and respect of individual differences, development and emotional thinking, motor planning and sequencing, and visual spatial abilities. Clear examples of how learning requires both the mind and body working together will be shared. Key principles and strategies will be reviewed as a toolbox for professionals working in educational settings
Emotional Development and Symbolic Thinking
Every child on the autism spectrum, just like every other child, has an emotional life and experiences a widening range of emotions as s/he develops, represented by various symbols used in play, conversations, drama, and arts. But climbing the symbolic ladder to abstract levels, as well as the full range of emotions and refl ective function requires the integration of auditory/language and visual spatial knowledge and sequencing, the integration of affects and theory of mind. How perceptions turn into symbols, how the common symbols of childhood in play stories, books, dramas and ideas refl ect the emotional levels of children, and the experiences which promote symbolic development will be discussed
Sensory Integration and Individual Differences: Synchrony of the Sensory, Emotional, Social Triad
This workshop will provide a view into treatment of children who experience challenges in relating and communicating from the perspective of an Occupational Therapist as interactions are tailored to support the child’s individual sensory processing and motor planning profi le. This session will review the development of treatment as it has changed from a primary focus on sensory processing to integrating this into the fl ow of a session to support emotional and social development of the child
The Paths to Language: Knowing When To Teach What
The question of what to teach when to children with challenges in the development of speech, language, and/or communication can be complicated. However, with an understanding of how development typically proceeds, parents and professionals can determine what aspect of language acquisition should take center stage at a particular point in the child’s development and when to move on to other capacities. The best way to facilitate the child’s development of language, which is a symbolic system for communicating ideas and feelings, is knowing where the child is relative to engagement ĺ intention ĺ meaning ĺ comprehension ĺ production. Participants will be given a list of questions which will guide their thinking about each child and help them determine intervention priorities.
Getting and Staying Connected through Floortime™ – Part 1
This Part 1 workshop introduces parents and professionals to Floortime, the developmentally based interactive “play” therapy approach pioneered by Drs. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder. Floortime interventions strengthen and expand the parent:child relationship and the ability to “get and stay connected” by targeting challenges that derail relational capacities, communication and sustained emotional connections with caregivers. Presenters will review the six core DIR® Functional Social-Emotional Capacities and explore the impact of individual differences in developing competence in these critical capacities. Part 1 of this workshop will concentrate on DIR® Levels I-III, creating opportunities to develop the ability to attend and focus, to engage warmly and trustingly with others across a range of emotions, and to communicate intentionally with both simple and complex gestures needed for social problem solving. Through video clips and discussion, specifi c Floortime strategies for working with avoidant, passive, aimless, reactive and other profi les will be highlighted. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of a multidisciplinary team to promotes skills of optimal regulation and availability, intentionality, joint attention, emotional sharing and communication, so vital for deeper parent-child bonding. (For parents and professionals. Followed by Floortime, Part 2, which will focus on problem solving, creating symbolic ideas and abstract thinking.)
Staying Connected through Floortime™ ~ Part 2
In Floortime, Part 2, we will briefly review the content of Part 1 for newcomers, and then concentrate on developing DIR® Levels IV – VI, which include the abilities to problem solve through social interactions in a continuous fl ow, to represent or symbolize intentions and feelings in imaginative play and/or language, and to think in logical and abstract ways. The emphasis will be on how to tailor interactions to individual differences to assist the child to elaborate on his interests, create sequential dialogues, and represent and understand experience given the widening range of emotions and expectations development poses. Deepening the child’s emotionally- charged themes through pretend play and conversations will be underlined as a chief means of building richer and prolonged interactions to build empathy and deal with anxiety and constrictions. We will also introduce ways parents can integrate Floortime moments naturally during the course their child’s day, plus tips on working with a child’s avoidant, rigid and perseverative behaviors, and when and how to raise the bar to move the child forward and integrating peers into the play. (For parents and professionals.)
Communication: Pathways to Progress
This workshop will build on Communication: Pathways to Progress Part 1 and will focus on Profectum’s Foundational Capacities and Skills as a framework for communication. The workshop will address how we look at a child’s communication through a developmental lens and how we formulate our intervention plan based on our knowledge of the individual and his/her speech/ language and communication profi le. This workshop will also focus on the questions we should ask ourselves and the issues we should consider as we conceptualize intervention for the child.
The Dyadic Space - Where Affect and Sensory Merge
In this workshop we will explore the possibilities for developmental change and growth offered by relational dyadic work. We will use concepts from Infant Mental Health literature, mainly the idea of Coordinated Interpersonal Timing, to better understand the regulatory mechanisms which are used by parents to regulate their typically developing babies. We will then look at therapeutic case studies to see how we might apply these ideas to dyadic work done with children with Regulatory Disorders.
Understanding the Use of Medications for Individuals with Autism Spectum Disorders (ASD)
“Medication for my child? No way - no how!” is the typical response of many parents and professionals when thinking about treatment. This workshop will present the science and the art of medication use for children with ASD in the context of the key behaviors that interfere with an individual’s ability to sustain interactions and make developmental progress. This will include consideration of appropriate medication use as supplemental support for mood, anxiety, aggression, and attention. Additionally, a systematic approach for follow up of medication use will be presented to help parents and professionals determine whether this course of treatment is benefi cial.
Education: Using an Integrated Approach in Middle School, High School and Young Adult Programs
This workshop will provide an overview of how to use Profectum’s Foundational Capacities and Skills as the framework for school programs for older children and young adults. All components of part 1 will be continued while addressing the principles of working with children at higher developmental levels while continuing to support the foundations at lower developmental levels. Case studies will be used to illustrate how to truly address the core foundations of “thinking” to maximize social, emotional, academic and refl ective processes to reduce anxiety and stereotypical behaviors and to maximize refl ective, analytic, and critical thinking capacities and personal independence
The Importance Of Working With Families
This workshop will provide an overview of Profectum’s Foundational Capacities and Skills as the framework for what families living with autism want and need over the developmental lifespan for themselves as individuals, the family as a system and the dynamics and processes that impact their functioning and formation. We will explore how to help families support the experiences of their child so as to maximize the child’s devlopmental and adaptational capacities, the generalization of these skills across contexts, the management of transitions and meeting the meeds of parents and siblings. The emotional life of the child in the environment of the family and their emotional needs will be discussed. Video case examples will be shared
Advanced Clinical Thinking – Part 2: What does a baby want: Advanced clinical workshop about intention and communication in young children
This workshop, conducted by a speech-language-pathologist and a clinical psychologist, will examine challenges that impact on progress at different developmental levels. The focus on how communicative-intent, comprehension, and emotional thinking dynamically interact to promote or derail progress will have relevance to clinicians and educators across disciplines. Strategies will be proposed to facilitate greater identifi cation of communicative intent in pre-verbal children, enhance mutual reciprocity between parent and child at early communication levels, support comprehension of language, and facilitate deeper emotional thinking. Participants are invited to present questions about challenging cases.