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Online Course: Autism Topics Part III: Addressing Play and Playfulness When Intervening With Children With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
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SKU: OL4884

Publisher: AOTA Continuing Education

Published: 2012

Member Price
Non-Member Price: $289.00

Product Overview

Get an AOTA Digital Badge on Autism to share your learning accomplishment when you complete the required CE.

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Edited by Renee Watling, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Contributing Author: Marge R. Luthman, MS, OT/L

Earn .6 CEU (7.5 NBCOT PDUs/6 contact hours) 

Course Description

Autism Topics Part III is the third in an important 3-part series covering the topic of Autism.  Part III is made up of 4 topics designed to provide information on how to incorporate the occupation of play into both evaluations and interventions with children with autism spectrum disorders. Video clips and related learning activities are included throughout the topics.

Topic 1: Reviewing Core Concepts of Play and Playfulness for All, helps occupational therapists understand the value of using play and playfulness when working with children with an ASD. This topic explores the significance of play on development and addresses the various definitions and characteristics of play and playfulness, including terminology for the conceptual framework of play as a means to an end and play as an end.

Learning Objectives: Topic 1
By completing all learning activities, participants will be able to

  • Delineate the difference between the definitions of play and playfulness and the terminology often associated with play and playfulness.
  • Recognize and describe the characteristics of play and the taxonomies associated with play.
  • Recognize and describe the difference in use between the conceptual framework of play as a means to an end and play as an end.
  • Identify the difference in play and playfulness observed between typically developing children and children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Recognize the significance of play for guiding the intervention plan.

Topic 2: Formal and Informal Assessments, presents ideas for using play assessments when evaluating children with ASDs and providing a foundation for developing an intervention plan. Standardized assessments are briefly discussed with greater emphasis placed on unstructured observations or what are often called "skilled observations." The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, 2nd Edition is used to focus the data gathered during the unstructured observations. 

Learning Objectives: Topic 2
By completing all learning activities, participants will be able to

  • Recognize how unstructured observations of play are used as part of the evaluation process as outlined in the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process (2nd ed.; American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2008).
  • Recognize how to use data from unstructured observations to create a hypothesis about play deficits, leading to an intervention plan.
  • Identify strengths that support play and playfulness of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Identify factors that interfere with play and playfulness of a child with an ASD.

Topic 3: Intervention Planning, highlights play intervention with specific emphasis on strategies that address play spaces, play materials, play partners and play goals and objectives while keeping in mind the perspectives of play as an end and play as a means to an end. Contributing factors that enhance and hinder play and playfulness are addressed, as are the way they influence the everyday lives of children with an ASD and their families. This topic concludes with a discussion of promoting interactions of children with an ASD with their parents, peers and others in their lives.  

Learning Objectives: Topic 3
By completing all learning activities, participants will be able to

  • Identify an intervention plan that incorporates the goals and objectives collaboratively established with the family with regard to play as an end and play as a means to an end.
  • Identify intervention strategies that consider peers, space, and materials in the treatment of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Recognize factors that may be interfering with play, playfulness, and socialization of children with an ASD. 
  • Differentiate the focus of various play programs that assist in developing social skills and peer relationships.  

Topic 4: Tying It All Together: A Case Study of a Child With an ASD, emphasizes the process of analyzing play as an end and play as a means to an end using unstructured observations. The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 2nd edition (2008) is used as a guide to explore the clinical reasoning process needed for effective intervention planning.

Learning Objectives: Topic 4
By completing all learning activities, participants will be able to

  • Identify relevant data regarding Iain's play strengths that will help in establishing an intervention plan.
  • Recognize how to incorporate data into an intervention plan that addresses both play as an end and play as a means to an end.
  • Identify how to incorporate a child's play preference into an intervention plan using activities in treatment that encourage playfulness.
  • Identify activities that address the factors that interfere with play and playfulness while thinking through the elements influencing treatment.
  • Choose recommendations that comprehensively enhance social participation with peers and family in the community or other environments important to the family.

Also Available:

Part I: Relationship Building, Evaluation Strategies, and Sensory Integration

Part II: Occupational Therapy Service Provision in an Educational Context

Editor Bio

Dr. Renee Watling, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, has been a pediatric occupational therapist in Washington State since 1992. She has worked in clinic, school, and private practice settings. Dr. Watling received her bachelor's and master's degrees in occupational therapy from the School of Medicine at the University of Washington with an emphasis in emotional and behavioral disorders. She earned her doctoral degree from the College of Education at the University of Washington where her work focused on understanding the relationship between sensory processing and behavior in young children with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Watling has lectured extensively at state, regional, and national conferences on the topics of sensory processing, sensory-based occupational therapy intervention, and issues related to services for children with autism spectrum disorders and emotional and behavioral disorders. Her publications include both research and theoretical papers and book chapters. She has volunteered on several projects and committees for the American Occupational Therapy Association, including serving as chair of the Sensory Integration Special Interest Section. She currently holds faculty appointments at the University of Puget Sound and the University of Washington.
Author Disclosure Statement: The editor is both a co-editor and author for the AOTA Press text entitled Autism: A Comprehensive Occupational Therapy Approach, 3rd Edition.

Author Bio

Marge R. Luthman, MS, OT/L, has been an occupational therapist for nearly 30 years. Her experience includes a variety of pediatric treatment settings with clients having a range of diagnoses. During the past 20 years, she has focused her practice on working with children with autism spectrum disorders and their families, helping them to obtain the quality of life they desire. Luthman teaches in the Western Psychological Services/University of Southern California Comprehensive Sensory Integration Course series and provides consultation services at multiple schools in Alaska. Previously, she was an assistant professor and clinical instructor for 6 years in the occupational therapy program at the University of Puget Sound. She currently is the Education/Research liaison for the American Occupational Therapy Association Sensory Integration Special Interest Section and is in clinical practice.

In 2005, Luthman earned her master of science degree in occupational therapy from Colorado State University, where she focused her research on parent perspectives, autism, and play in her thesis, Parents' Perspective of Their Child's Play Behavior Prior to the Diagnosis of Autism. She is certified in neurodevelopmental and sensory integration intervention methods.

Luthman enjoys the puzzle and mystery that children with autism bring to the treatment arena and works hard to stay "five steps ahead" of her clients. Her treatment philosophy is to treat all children with respect, honor the family's wishes, have fun, be sincere and genuine, and know what she wants the child to achieve and how she is going to get there. Her intervention approach is flexible, goal-oriented, and child-directed, simultaneously respecting the child's wishes while working to expand his or her play and playfulness to improve occupational performance and quality of life.

Learning Level

Target Audience
Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants

AOTA Classification Codes for Continuing Education Activities
Category 1: Domain of Occupational Therapy, Performance Skills
Category 2: Occupational Therapy Process, Evaluation, and Intervention

Continuing Education Credit
A certificate of completion for .6 AOTA CEU (7.5NBCOT PDUs/6 contact hours) will be awarded on the successful completion of this course.

Please Note: Online course content is flash-based and may not be easily viewed on some mobile and Mac devices.