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2239 – Autism Communication

Intermediate / Half-Day Workshop
Sanibel, FL / Thursday, June 3, 2021 – 1:00-4:00 pm – 2.5 credit hours
(Pool: 1:00-2:15 pm / Classroom: 2:45-4:00 pm)

Faculty: Meredith Morig, MOTR/L, ATRIC

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. The learning, thinking and problem solving abilities of people with autism can range from gifted to severely challenged. In addition, many people with autism demonstrate difficulty processing sensory stimuli, have trouble understating other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings, appear to be unaware when people talk to them, repeat or echo words or phrases spoken to them and have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions.

The water provides 30 times more proprioceptive input than land, giving people with autism, constant deep pressure and input throughout the entire body. This can organize a person’s sensory system, improve attention and processing and ultimately increase communication. In addition, the water is very motivating and provides many opportunities for functional communication. Although communication for people with autism can appear challenging, it is important for them to feel heard and understood, even if it means communicating a little differently.

In this course, we will review communication challenges and differences many people with autism experience and discuss techniques to encourage functional communication and understanding. We will also explore the benefits of using water to increase communication and discuss the use of communication devices/systems to improve processing and safety.

COURSE OBJECTIVES:
Classroom:
1) Review signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
2) Identify communication challenges and differences for people with autism.
3) Discuss the difference between receptive and expressive communication.
4) Recognize sensory implications of the water and how it affects processing.
5) Identify communication techniques and devices commonly used by people with autism.
6) Discuss ways to adaptive communication techniques in the water.

Pool:
1) Review techniques to use water exercises to increase processing and attention.
2) Actively participate in activities increasing receptive communication and following directions.
3) Participate in use of various communication devices and systems in the water. 

FACULTY: Meredith Morig, MOTR/L, ATRIC, is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist specializing in combining sensory integration techniques with aquatic therapy in order to enhance a child’s functional abilities. She has many years of experience working in a specialized sensory integration clinic, providing therapy to children of all ages and diagnoses. She has combined her love for the water with her expertise in sensory integration to provide a more effective therapy modality to enhance a child’s functional abilities. Using her knowledge about sensory integration, along with what she has learned from becoming a certified aquatic therapy instructor, she has developed a successful aquatic program, which has benefitted many children. Meredith also enjoys sharing her knowledge with aspiring students and the community in order to help as many children as possible.