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TITLE: Autism and Obesity: The Role of Physical Therapy in Addressing Weight Related Concerns for Children in School Settings
DATES: March 1, 2020- March 31, 2021
It is well documented that the prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing in the United States. Recent studies show the incidence of obesity in children with autism (ASD) and other developmental disabilities far exceeds the rate of the general population. Many factors contribute to weight management challenges for children with ASD. By understanding the breadth of challenges children with autism face, physical therapists can be more effective at influencing the communities in which they work, live, and play.
During this course the presenters will review current research on obesity, highlighting the trends in weight related concerns for children and follow with a review of specific barriers that children with autism face to attain and maintain healthy body structure and to be physically active. Strategies about alternative methods to measure height and weight for active children will be discussed. Ideas for increasing physical activity opportunities in school and community settings will be presented. The challenges of goal writing and IEP documentation will be addressed. Programmatic initiatives (School Health Index, Wellness Committee development/participation, grant writing) will be reviewed. Course participants will be given opportunities to discuss challenging situations via an online forum.
Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:
- describe the scope of the pediatric obesity epidemic with a focus on research of obesity for children with autism,
- list at least 3 barriers to healthy body structure for children with autism,
- identify ways to increase movement opportunities for children with autism in a school setting or the communities in which they live,
- list potential programmatic initiatives in which physical therapists can take part to help create a healthier school environment, and
- understand how to provide IEP input and write educationally relevant goals that address school-based needs while taking weight related concerns into account.
This course is designed so that participants may access the course materials and interactive forum asynchronously (at times that are convenient to his/her/their schedule) for the period of time that the course is open. The forum provides a space for course participants to engage with one another and the course instructors as they reflect on concepts and information provided throughout the course.
- Course participants must complete all learning activities presented in this course; learning activities may include, but are not limited to viewing video recorded presentations, completing readings, posting to the interactive course forum, and completing the course post-test..
- Course participants must achieve a minimum score of at least 70% on the course
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS: 3.0 Contact Hours
REGISTRATION OPEN THROUGH: March 1, 2021
Johanna has practiced PT since 1985 after graduating from the University of Connecticut. She obtained her transitional DPT in Pediatric Science from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Her capstone and self-selected topics delved into autism in general and specifically autism and obesity. Johanna currently works at the Vanguard School, which is an approved private school for children with special needs, where 62% of the students have the primary diagnosis of autism. Within her school, she has delivered health promotion lectures to staff and parents about weight challenges for children with autism. She is a founding member and co-chair of a school Wellness Committee, has implemented the School Health Index, and provided data that helped attain funding for a walking/fitness trail. Johanna has authored an article on autism and obesity for parents. presented at the state level, and recently spoke nationally on this topic at the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Annual Conference (APPTAC).
Kathleen has worked as a physical therapist since 1996, acquired her Board Specialist Certification in Pediatric Physical Therapy in 2002 (recertification 2012) and has presented on a variety of topics focusing on obesity in case presentations at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting, Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Annual Conference (APPTAC), and the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association Annual Conference. She was awarded a U.S. Department of Education: Carol M White Physical Education Program Grant for the project “Healthy Kids/ Healthy Community Program” to bring fitness and wellness programming into a local urban community school. Among other publications, Kathleen authored a chapter on Obesity in the textbook, Pediatric Physical Therapy.
COURSE SYLLABUS: ASD.OBESITY_2020-21_SYLLABUS (1)
In addition to this course, please visit COURSE CATALOG for the list of 2020 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Self-Paced Course Bundle options. Enrollment options include single course enrollment OR multi-course enrollment.
Registration links for the 2020 APPT Course Bundle Series for individuals currently registered as Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Members.
Registration links for the 2020 APPT Course Bundle Series for individuals not currently registered as Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Members.