Live Courses

Dynamic Core For Kids: Stability in Action

Instructors: Shelley Mannell PT and Julie Wiebe PT
When: October 19-20, 2024
Where: Edmonton, Alberta (in-person)

Sponsored by the Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists REGISTER ON THEIR WEBSITE 

Plus: November 9th – Follow-up Clinical Reasoning and Application (online only) day to support course information synthesis through  case studies, clinical problem solving, and Q and A (open only to participants that attend the October in-person course and additional cost)


This two-day course is designed to equip pediatric rehabilitation professionals with the knowledge, clinical reasoning, and tools to apply a systems based, neuromuscular central control framework to the specific needs of a variety of neurodiverse children: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), hypotonia, and more.

Primary course content is divided into 2 days.

Day 1: Clinicians will be introduced to a neuromuscular, systems approach to central control (Core Strategy) that is distinct from traditional concepts of core strength. This integrative model uses the diaphragm and breathing mechanics as an access point for central control (aka core stability). This attainable and relevant starting point for pediatric populations impacts multiple intertwined systems including postural control, balance, sensory processing and emotional regulation as well as functional gross and fine motor skills. The development of and challenges to central control in neurotypical and neurodiverse populations are discussed. A specific assessment model of the elements of the central control system (diaphragm, abdominal wall, pelvic floor, and pressure system) is provided. An intertwined understanding of the influence of alignment and external support to optimize availability of the elements of this system is demonstrated.

Day 2: Participants will learn to integrate Core Strategy into treatment, movement, and functional activities that have immediate application to a variety of clinical settings (direct treatment, school, and home programs). Case presentations and small group learning will promote concept synthesis and clinical reasoning to implement Core Strategy in clients of differing ages (preschoolers age 2+, school age and teens) and diagnoses. Participants will also discuss how to integrate Core Strategy Techniques with Neuro-Developmental Treatment handling skills and sensory processing intervention to support a greater range of clients.


Course Objectives:

  • Describe the difference between a neuromuscular, systems approach to dynamic central control (‘Core Strategy’) and the traditional musculoskeletal, strength-based concept of ‘core stability’.
  • Articulate the differences in the development of Core Strategy between neurotypical and neurodiverse children.
  • Identify the contribution of efficient and effective core strategy to the development of emotional regulation.
  • Evaluate the behavior and function of the diaphragm, transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, and intra-abdominal pressure system, both as individual components and collectively as an interconnected deep central control system.
  • Develop a well reasoned thought process to individualize a treatment strategy that balances and encourages teamwork for elements of the deep central control system.
  • Provide alignment cueing and external support options to optimize availability of the elements of the deep central control system.
  • Utilize breath mechanics strategies as a pediatric-friendly entry point to access and encourage teamwork in the deep central control system and support movement and function.
  • Implement clinical strategies that integrate a deep to superficial framework of neuromuscular system integration as an underpinning for function, balance, gross and fine motor skills.
  • Synthesize assessment findings to develop a well-reasoned treatment plan for a variety of neurodiverse populations exhibiting challenges with core strategy in movement, balance, emotional regulation, sensory organization, functional motor skills and activities of daily living.


Course Schedule (subject to change):

Day 1
8:00 am      Registration
8:30             Intros and Pre-Work
8:45             Module 1 – Foundational Concepts
9:45             Break
10:00           Module 2 – Developmental Considerations
11:15           Module 3 – Alignment Concepts
12:30 pm    Lunch
1:30             Module 4 – Integrated Systems – Diaphragm
3:00             Break
3:15             Module 5 – Integrated Systems – Pelvic Floor
4:15             Day 1 Wrap Up
4:30             End


Day 2
8:30 am      Q & A, Recap
9:00             Module 6 – Stability in Action –
                      Children with neuromotor needs – Postural Synergist: POS
                      Practical Lab Q&A and Application
10:30           Break
10:45           Module 6 (cont) – Stability in Action –
                     Children with neuromotor needs – Postural Synergist: AOS
                     Practical Lab Q&A and Application
Noon          Lunch
1:00 pm      Module 7 – More motorically capable children
1:30             Creating connections and rotation
2:00             Small groups: scaling activities
2:20             Break
2:30             Small group presentations
3:00             Module 8 – Clinical applications (Shelley) x2
                     Child with neuromotor needs
                     Child with sensory needs
3:15             Small groups: clinical applications
3:45             Present and discuss cases
4:15             Additional Populations
4:20             Q & A
4:30             End

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