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Digital Seminar

Sensorimotor Interventions to Improve Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Functioning: Neurological Approaches for Children and Adolescents with Autism

Varleisha D. Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS
2 Hours 03 Minutes
Audio and Video
Apr 22, 2021
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Digital Seminar
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Join author and expert Varleisha Gibbs PhD, OTD, OTR/L, as she teaches you how to skillfully apply strength-based sensorimotor interventions for improving social, emotional, and cognitive function in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, Dr. Gibbs will guide you through the underlying neuroanatomical connections to help you better select and develop appropriate interventions.

You’ll learn: 

  • Activation of the Vagus nerve, music and movement techniques, and breathwork for emotional regulation and social participation 
  • New self-regulation and mindfulness techniques to support arousal levels along with new assessments and treatments to organize daily interventions 
  • Environmental modifications to support optimal function of children with autism 

Dr. Gibbs will share techniques from her books Self-Regulation and Mindfulness (PESI Publishing & Media, Summer 2017) and from her latest book on Trauma Treatment in ACTION (PESI Publishing & Media, 2021). 



Varleisha D. Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS's Profile

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Varleisha D. Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS, is an occupational therapist and author with over 18 years of experience working with children and adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing disorders, and Neurological disorders. She is the vice president of practice engagement and capacity building at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Dr. Gibbs is the former scientific programs officer at the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. She also served as the inaugural chair and director of the master's programs in occupational therapy at Wesley College in Dover, DE, where she was a tenured associate professor. Prior to joining Wesley, Dr. Gibbs worked at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA, where she served as the director of the doctoral programs in occupational therapy.

Dr. Gibbs is steadfast and an expert in the field of neurology, cognition, and pediatric therapeutic intervention. She lectures and provides training on sensory processing strategies and self-regulation to practitioners, parents, and teachers throughout the country and internationally. Dr. Gibbs is the developer of the self-regulation and mindfulness program and author of the best-selling Self-Regulation and Mindfulness: Exercise and Worksheets for Sensory Processing Disorder, 85 Activities to Move Clients Toward Healing, Growth and Improved Functioning (PESI Publishing & Media, May 2021). As co-author of Raising Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders, she has provided families with strategies to understand and care for their children. Dr. Gibbs is certified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist (ASDCS).


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dr. Varleisha Gibbs has employment relationships with the American Occupational Therapy Association and Wesley College. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording and book royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Dr. Varleisha Gibbs serves on the Commission on Practice committee for the American Occupational Therapy Association. and is a member of the Freelee Foundation Executive Board of Directors. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the National Black Occupational Therapy Caucus.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Demonstrate the neurological connection to the various sensory strategies for treating children and adolescents diagnosed with autism.
  2. Employ treatment techniques such as mindfulness, activation of the Vagus nerve, music and movement, and respiratory-based techniques to improve client level of functioning.
  3. Integrate environmental modifications to support optimal function of children with autism.
  4. Assess the cause and effect of intervention techniques as they relate to neurological function.


  • Variations in the Presentations of Autism 
    • Impact on appropriate selection of intervention 
    • Looking at the duality of function and dysfunction 
    • Neurological connections to emotions and sensorimotor function 
  • Tools for Assessing: 
    • Areas of strength and areas revealing potential for growth 
    • Environment and context to identify opportunities for adaptation and modification 
    • Arousal levels assessment tool: Concrete method used for daily schedules and to organize daily interventions 
  • Neurological Connection to Treatment Planning 
    • Sensorimotor strategies to address the individual needs of children and families 
    • Adapt and modify activities and the environment to support the child’s needs 
    • New interventions for vestibular, interoception, proprioceptive, auditory, smell and vision work 
    • The Self-Regulation & Mindfulness program    
    • Addressing primitive reflexes   

Target Audience

  • Licensed Clinical/Mental Health Counselors 
  • Marriage & Family Therapists 
  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants 
  • Physical Therapists 
  • Physical Therapist Assistants 
  • Psychologists 
  • Social Workers 
  • Speech-Language Pathologists 
  • Teachers/School-Based Personnel 

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