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Digital Seminar

Autism Intervention Using a Trauma-Informed Lens: Creating a Foundation of Safety & Trust to Promote Self Awareness & Problem Solving

Laura Sibbald, MA, CCC-SLP, ASDCS, CYMHS
1 Hour 47 Minutes
Audio and Video
Mar 09, 2021
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Since the Covid-19 Pandemic began, children across the country and the world have experienced significant changes within their homes, schools, and communities. Interactions with family members, teachers, therapists have suddenly shifted, and become unfamiliar, resulting in less productive opportunities for learning and growth.

Children with autism are especially vulnerable to negative impacts, as they work to process complex emotions and implement successful coping strategies in their new environment. Through the development of a trusting relationship, children with autism can begin to gain the co-regulation skills necessary to develop self-awareness, and ultimately empower independent problem-solving and self-monitoring skills. The initial development of trust and positive regard within a relationship is crucial when supporting emotional advocacy and communication skills.



Laura Sibbald, MA, CCC-SLP, ASDCS, CYMHS's Profile

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Laura K. Sibbald, MA, CCC-SLP, ASDCS, CYMHS, is a nationally-certified speech-language pathologist who has extensive experience supporting the social-emotional and pragmatic language needs of students and families within the Washington, DC, metropolitan region. She works as an instructional specialist for students with autism in Prince George's County Public Schools, Maryland and has developed and implemented a variety of professional learning opportunities surrounding social-emotional competence at the state and national level.

Laura is a coauthor of the Trauma-Informed Social-Emotional Toolbox for Children & Adolescents: 116 Worksheets & Skill-Building Exercises to Support Safety, Connection & Empowerment (PESI, 2020) and the Parenting Toolbox: 125 Activities Therapies Use to Reduce Meltdowns, Increase Positive Behaviors & Manage Emotions (PESI, 2018). Both workbooks provide practical strategies that can easily transfer into clinical and educational professional practices. Most recently, Laura was a guest speaker and moderator at PESI's 2021 Autism Symposium, where she discussed Navigating Autism through a Trauma Informed Lens. Laura also had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Temple Grandin in the key note Different... Not Less. Laura was an expert panelist for the 2020 Parenting Autism Summit, sponsored by The Behavior Revolution, LLP., and is certified as an Autism Spectrum disorder Clinical Specialist (ASDCS). She is a member of the multicultural affairs committee of the Maryland Speech-Language and Hearing Association, focusing on the promotion of equity practices in diverse communicators. To further support growth and achievement of children with disabilities, Laura earned additional certifications as a Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) Certified Educator and in Educational Leadership and supervision. She graduated from The George Washington University in 2011 with a Master's in speech-language pathology.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Laura Sibbald has an employment relationship with Chestnut Hill College. She is an author for PESI Publishing & Media and receives royalties. Laura Sibbald receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Laura Sibbald serves on the topic committee member for the ASHA 2022 Convention. She is a member of the Maryland Speech-Language Hearing Association and Pennsylvania Speech Language Hearing Association.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

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  1. Choose the trauma-informed lens as an approach to supporting growth areas for children with autism. 
  2. Determine critical elements for building a safe therapeutic and educational environment when working with children with autism.  
  3. Implement a variety of strategies to support self-awareness, emotional advocacy, and problem-solving in children with autism.  


  • Trauma-Informed Practice: Brief Overview 
    • Trauma Response/Window of Tolerance 
    • Emotional regulation and school impact 
    • Academic and cognitive impact 
  • Background on the Critical Challenge Areas of Autism 
    • Trauma impacts and autism growth areas: similarities 
    • Child development and learning joint attention 
    • Breaking down executive function 
  • Creating a Foundation of Safety and Trust 
    • Setting up for success: expectations  
    • Motivation: Avoiding the trap of a relationship based on reinforcement 
    • Making Demands vs Using Declarative Language  
    • The power of being vulnerable: Making mistakes in a safe space 
  • Problem Solving and Resilience Strategies 
    • Opportunities for new learning: Small steps 
    • Effective implementation of visuals:  
      • Emotional Vocabulary (Color Palette) 
      • Emotional Thermometer 
      • Self-Monitoring Scales 
      • Cause and Effect Relationships: Problem Solving Pathways (SOCC Table) 
    • Collaborative communication with families  

Target Audience

  • Speech-Language Pathologists 
  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants 
  • SPED/GENED Teachers 
  • School Administrators 
  • School-Based Personnel 
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors 
  • Social Workers 
  • Psychologists 
  • Case Managers 

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