Autism Movement Therapy – New Video CE Course

By Joanne Lara, MA

Autism Movement TherapyAutism Movement Therapy is a new 2-hour online video-based continuing education (CE/CEU) course that was developed in partnership with Joanne Lara, MA of Autism Movement Therapy, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on serving the autism community by supporting autism research, environmental organizations, and providing community outreach. Joanne Lara is an adjunct professor at National University in the department of Special Education in Los Angeles, California. She earned her master’s in Special Education; Moderate/Severe & Multiple Disabilities from California State University, Northridge and a B.A. in Dance from the University of South Florida. She holds a California Moderate/Severe Education Specialist K-12 teaching credential and taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over 10 years, where she worked exclusively with students with autism.

“Autism Movement Therapy® (AMT),” according to Lara, “is an emerging therapy that combines movement and music with positive behavior support strategies to assist individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in meeting and achieving their speech and language, social and academic goals. Its purpose is to connect left and right hemisphere brain functioning by combining patterning, visual movement calculation, audile receptive processing, rhythm and sequencing into a ‘whole brain’ cognitive thinking approach that can significantly improve behavioral, emotional, academic, social, and speech and language skills.”

The course, Autism Movement Therapy, is presented in two parts. Part 1 summarizes what is known about the brain functioning of individuals with ASD and illustrates how participation in dance, music and the arts can render the brain more amenable to learning social and language skills. Part 2 is a documentary created by Joanne Lara – Generation A: Portraits of Autism and the Arts, which spotlights – from a strikingly positive perspective – the challenges and accomplishments of eight individuals with ASD.

Generation A is a documentary about young people with autism using creative therapies and the arts to reach their highest potential. The perspective taken in the video is that autism can be viewed not only as a disability but also as a gift. Through these gifts, individuals are able to make pathways into their communities. The goal is to help families with children on the spectrum and the public-in-general to envision a better quality of life for individuals with autism.

Viewers are led through the film by the internationally-renowned Dr. Temple Grandin (Professor at the Colorado State University, best-selling author, and the subject of the recent award-winning HBO movie) and Dr. Stephen Shore (Professor of Special Education at Adelphi University in N.Y. whose expertise is the therapeutic aspects of music and movement on autism.) They are both highly evolved individuals who, as children, were themselves diagnosed with autism. They are inspirational role models who defied the low expectations placed on them at an early age by “professionals” (during the 50s). In both cases, their parents chose to ignore the recommendation to institutionalize, and instead searched successfully for more creative and humane solutions such as those presented in the film.

Those who complete this course will learn to identify the parts and functions of the brain relevant to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), explain ways in which music and independent movement can help strengthen the four lobes of the brain, identify the elements involved in the program design and intent of Autism Movement Therapy®, and name ways in which the arts can play a positive role in the lives and functionality of individuals with ASD.

About Professional Development Resources, Inc.

Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) – as well as many other national and state boards – has focused its efforts on making accredited continuing education units more cost-effective and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.

Bullying Prevention – New Video CE Course

Bullying Prevention: Raising Strong Kids by Responding to Hurtful & Harmful BehaviorBullying Prevention: Raising Strong Kids by Responding to Hurtful & Harmful Behavior is a new 3-hour VIDEO course that starts with a thoughtful definition of “bullying” and goes on to illustrate the functional roles of the three participant groups: the targeted individuals, the bullies, and the bystanders. The speaker discusses the concepts of resiliency, empathy, and growth/fixed mindsets, and considers the pros and cons of alternative responses to harmful behavior. Included also are a variety of effective responses adults can use when they become aware of bullying behavior, as well as an examination of the questionable utility of zero tolerance policies.

The speaker, Amy Burzinski, is a Licensed Independent Social Worker who utilizes multiple examples and scenarios to propose strategies and techniques intended to offer connection, support and reframing to targeted individuals, motivation to change in the form of progressive, escalating consequences to bullies, and multiple intervention options to bystanders. Further segments discuss ways in which schools can create safe, pro-social climates.

Those who complete this course will learn a functional definition of bullying, describe and illustrate effective strategies for reducing and managing bullying behavior, explain the critical role of resilience in addressing bullying, list best practices to use with targeted youth, aggressive youth, and bystanders, and – finally – discuss ways in which schools can create safer environments.

The presentation was developed in partnership with A+ Solutions, a practice group specializing in educational services to schools and families. Specialties include psychology, school psychology, social work, special education, speech-language pathology, professional counseling, and parent outreach.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), bullying, particularly among school-age children, is a major public health problem both domestically and internationally. Current estimates suggest that nearly 30% of American adolescents reported at least moderate bullying experiences as the bully, the victim, or both. Specifically, of a nationally representative sample of adolescents, 13% reported being a bully, 11% reported being a victim of bullying, and 6% reported being both a bully and a victim.

While many researchers continue to examine the risk and protective factors associated with bullying experiences, others are working to design, implement, and evaluate bully prevention interventions aimed at reducing bully victimization and perpetration, as well as increasing prosocial bystander involvement in bullying situations. This new video course falls into the latter category.

“Among all of the topics for which we have published CE courses for health and mental health professionals, this one stands out in my mind as one of the most important training experiences clinicians and teachers can have,” says Leo Christie, PhD, CEO of Professional Development Resources. “The problem of bullying is pervasive and growing, and professionals, teachers, and parents need to have effective strategies at their fingertips. Those strategies are taught and illustrated in this course.

“The bonus is that this course is a streamed video course that can be taken on one’s computer or mobile device. The “new CE” is the ultimate in convenience and accessibility because you can take it with you anywhere there is Internet. If I have a small slot of time available somewhere in my busy day, I can pull out my iPad and start viewing this course.”

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

Using Structural MRI to Map the Functional Anatomy of Language and Reading

Free Video Resource from the NIH

Using structural MRI to map the functional anatomy of language and reading [electronic resource] / Cathy Price.

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Dr. Price’s research program aims to establish a functional anatomical model of language that predicts how speech and reading are lost and recovered following neurological damage or developmental delay. The hypothesis is that there are multiple ways that the brain can perform each language task (degeneracy). If this is true, then the effect of damage or developmental delay will depend on whether there is a surviving system available to sustain the task.

To dissociate the neuronal systems for the same task, they use structural and functional MRI of subjects who vary in their cognitive abilities, demographics and neurological status. This allows them to characterize individual variability in the neuronal networks of neurologically normal populations and to examine how brain damage affects cognitive abilities in patient populations. In particular, Dr. Price’s lab aims to determine how the impact of damage to one system depends on the integrity of another.

The language tasks they use are designed to tap various aspects of reading, speech perception, speech production and language control (e.g. in bilinguals). Their studies typically compare the neuronal networks for verbal stimuli to those involved in perceptual, conceptual or motor processing of non-verbal stimuli such as music, environmental sounds, numerals and pictures of objects.

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Evidence-Based Education: Preventing Reading Failure in America

NIH Clinical Center's 2004 Medicine for the Public lecture series

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Free Video Resource from the NIH

Reading proficiency is critical to academic learning and success in school. Studies show that children who learn to read in the early grades are more likely to become better students. In the United States, about 40 percent of children are left behind in reading. Scientists are researching how children learn to read and why some children have difficulty reading. Learn about the progress to date of a comprehensive study that examines children’s reading abilities during the early years, including the efforts to understand how to prevent reading failure.