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Autistic Perspectives on Occupational Therapy Practices
Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM CDT
Category: Events

*This event will be held live via Zoom.*

Timed Agenda
6:30pm to 6:35pm: Introductions
6:35pm to 7:30pm: Panel Discussion
7:30pm to 8:00pm: Questions and Answers

Event Description
Occupational therapy practitioners are one of the primary providers in supporting the occupational participation of the autistic community. Autistic individuals are rarely involved in intervention creation for autism-related services, including interventions utilized by practitioners with the autistic community (TNDC, n.d.). Additionally, research has shown practitioners incorporate intervention methods conflicting with autistic identity (Ashburner et al., 2014). This panel will provide space for autistic individuals to share the strengths and the learning opportunities for occupational therapy practitioners supporting the autistic community and encourage practitioners to reflect on their own practices when supporting autistic individuals.

Speaker Biographies
Bryden Giving, MAOT, OTR/L (panel facilitator)
Bryden Giving is a neurodivergent, post-professional doctoral student at Boston University and a pediatric occupational therapist with experience in pediatric outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation settings. He is passionate about mental health promotion, trauma-informed care, ethical evidence-based practice, and incorporating strengths-based approaches to promote a positive self-identity and quality of life with his pediatric patients. Bryden’s work includes encouraging a shift away from an impairment-based perspective and returning to occupation-centered practices. He seeks to promote neurodiversity-affirming practices, amplify the voices of the disabled community, and challenge ableism within healthcare.

Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez, MOT, OTR/L
Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez is an Autistic and Deaf author, educator, occupational therapist, and international speaker. She was also the first openly autistic person elected to serve in the United States government. Sarah is passionate about occupational science, sensory processing and mental wellness, and Autistic identity. Her vision remains centered on the creation of identity-affirming contexts to support neurodivergent development. She runs the popular social media site The Autistic OT.
Rachel Dorsey, MS, CCC-SLP
Rachel Dorsey is a Speech-Language Pathologist, educator, consultant, and autism rights advocate. Through her private practice/consultancy, Rachel Dorsey: Autistic SLP, LLC, she provides education to parents, professionals, school districts, and organizations through coaching, consultations, in-services, professional developments, and courses on neurodiversity-affirming therapeutic practice. The services she offers as a therapist and consultant draw upon her own experience as an Autistic person and her six years of clinical experience working within early intervention, preschool, post-secondary, and clinic settings. Rachel is an active advocate within the Autistic community with a substantial social media presence, collaborating with leading Autistic advocates and allies.
Elizabeth Hamm, MS, OTR/L
I'm an Autistic and otherwise Neurodivergent Occupational Therapist who parents a neurodivergent child. I've been a therapist for 14 years, working with people of all ages. I became involved in the disability community a few years ago and through listening to diverse voices, I've learned to more deeply appreciate the differences that naturally exist in humanity. Learning is a process that never ends, and it leads us to places we may not have expected. True growth is never easy but is always worth it.

Learning Objectives
Participants will:
    •    Identify the health and wellbeing priorities designated by the autistic community
    •    Consider what the autistic community values within occupational therapy practice
    •    Reflect on their current practices when supporting the autistic community

Target Audience: All

Level of Content: Intermediate

AOTA Practice Area: Children & Youth, Health & Wellness, Mental Health, Rehabilitation & Disability

Contact Hours: 1.5

Fees: $5 MOTA members/ $30 non-members


Contact: [email protected]