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Physiotherapy in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Physiotherapy in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Physiotherapy in Autism Spectrum Disorder

This course includes
1:17:19 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion



The number of children with ASD has dramatically increased over the last decade. Initially it was the prevailing opinion that ASD did not impact motor development but as more research has been completed it we now know that there can be significant impact to the motor system in the form of postural control and motor milestone delays. This presentation presents the features of ASD, current neurophysiological theories as well as sensory and motor issues in ASD. An overview of research regarding postural control in ASD and movement is included. A contemporary model for postural control that can be implemented clinically with children with ASD is introduced. As well the interconnections between alignment and emotional regulation are highlighted.

Sensory processing classifications are explained and 4 individual sensory systems in ASD are discussed. Finally the importance of fundamental movement skills is illustrated and resources for assessment and intervention discussed.


Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast the core features and associated features of ASD.
  2. Identify 3 issues that can interfere with the development of motor skills in ASD.
  3. Discuss 2 major areas of PT intervention in children with ASD.
  4. Discuss the 9 components of postural control and how each of these components are impacted in children with ASD.
  5. List the 3 major categories of sensory processing dysfunction.
  6. Identify 4 major sensory systems that can impact postural control in ASD.
  7. Identify 3 major visual issues in ASD.
  8. Compare and contrast sensory processing intervention with sensory integration intervention.
  9. Identify 4 major areas of assessment that should be covered in children withASD who toe walk.
  10. Explain 2 strategies that can assist when interacting with clients with ASD who cannot tolerate manual correction and/or cannot follow directions.


This presentation is intended for Physical Therapists, therapy assistants, social workers and teachers who work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.



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The instructors
Shelley Mannell
PT, BSc , BHSc

Shelley Mannell is a Physical Therapist with over 30 years experience serving babies, children, and adolescents across a spectrum of neurological and developmental disabilities. She integrates a broad range of clinical skills and research to provide innovative neurobiology-informed treatment of children with movement disorders. Shelley founded HeartSpace Physical Therapy for Children in order to support clients and families as they matured through the lifespan.

Shelley began teaching as a clinical faculty member in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University and remains committed to improving the care for children through clinical research and education. Shelley is certified in both NDT and SI. She is also a children’s yoga and meditation facilitator and the co-creator of Dynamic Core for Kids, an evidence-based approach to central stability for children with motor and sensory challenges. Shelley also provides mentoring to therapists world-wide through her blog and her online program. As a respected international speaker, Shelley discusses the dynamic systems nature of the development of postural control and its application to assessment and intervention for children with sensory and motor challenges.

Course Material included in this course
  • Module 1: ASD Development and Movement
  • Defining Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Neurophysiology: Possible Theories of ASD
  • The Research
  • The Role of the Physical Therapist
  • Quiz: ASD Development and Movement
  • Feedback
  • Module 2: Postural Control Research
  • Postural Control Research
  • Postural Control Research
  • Feedback
  • Module 3: Contemporary Model For Postural Control
  • A 21st Century Model of Postural Control
  • Introduction to Anticipatory Postural Control
  • Postural Control and Alignment
  • Contemporary Model for Postural Control
  • Feedback
  • Module 4: Emotional Regulation
  • The Circle of Self-Regulation
  • Breathing and Regulation
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Feedback
  • Module 5: Individual Sensory Systems and Postural Control
  • Classifying Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Vestibular System
  • Proprioceptive System
  • Tactile System
  • Visual System
  • Developmental Trauma: A New Foundation
  • Quiz: Individual Sensory Systems and Postural Control
  • Feedback
  • Module 6: FAQ
  • Sensory Processing vs Sensory Integration
  • Assessment and Treatment Strategies
  • Thoughts on Compression, Therapeutic Listening, and Stereotypies
  • Activities for Kids with ASD
  • Managing Toe Walking
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Feedback
  • Conclusion
  • Wrapping Up
  • Feedback
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