Using Strengths-based Approaches to Behavior in Children

Digging Deeper to Improve Self-Regulation

We are no longer asking if it’s SENSORY or BEHAVIOR – We are digging deep to improve self-regulation.

Are you juggling behavioral outbursts during your sessions? By shifting your perspective and considering all behavior as communication, you can approach your sessions with confidence. Regulation, sensory coding, interoception, reflex integration, top-down or bottom-up processing, and decreased communication all affect a child’s behavior. In this self-paced and online course informed by the most recent and exciting research, you will learn to help increase students’ flexibility. Implement the techniques in this fun course and you’ll immediately improve your effectiveness, children’s participation, and therapeutic outcomes.

This course is AOTA-approved and is 6.5 hours.

Investment $197.00


What You’ll Receive

A course workbook, monthly office hours, 6 months of access, entirely self-paced and online, and 6.5 hours of AOTA-approved professional development.


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What you will learn.

Module 1

Is This YOU?

  • Are you feeling frustrated when you plan a session and it gets hijacked by a meltdown?
  • Do your students have a tough time transitioning from the classroom or waiting room to your room?
  • Have you labeled a child or behavior as ‘difficult’ or ‘tough?”
  • Are you often ‘stuck’ wondering why you’re constantly juggling during your session?

Let’s ask ourselves the difficult questions to help understand our approaches and deficits-based ideas. The saying is, “Do the best you can and when you KNOW better, you can DO better.” We’ve all been there and it’s OK, this course will change your practice!

Module 2

Exciting Research Review and Discussion

Who knew research could be so exciting! In the last 5 years, multiple research studies show significant improvements in our understanding of the brain, body, and their connection. Tap into the newest information to truly utilize evidence-based practices. Also, what IS a strengths-based approach?

Module 3

Learning Styles and Societal Rules

We all learn differently. Do you know your specific learning style? If not, jump into this module to find out more.  Boost your success by changing your teaching to the way your students learn. Then, learn how rules help to eliminate ‘gray areas’ in our society.

Module 4

Regulation, Sensory Processing, and Brain Development

Let’s dive deeper into regulation. Neurology is critical to understanding behavior and our ‘why.’ When and where does regulation develop, how does it relate to our responses, and how can you utilize it to improve occupational performance? We discuss social-emotional learning strategies that help to build increased self-awareness and reduce maladaptive behaviors.

Get excited about this new information!

Module 5

Trauma, Survival, and Somatic Experiencing

Our brains are wired for survival and safety. Trauma can result from one or more multiple acute stressors, from a perceived dangerous or threatening event, or as the end product of cumulative stress. All types of trauma affect a child’s ability to be resilient and show smooth processing. Many children seen in your clinic have events of senory meltdowns or stressors due to medical procedures, and co-morbid conditions. This causes corrosive results due to continual fear or anxiety. A universal therapeutic use of self and trauma-informed lens helps your students to feel comfortable in your clinic.

Module 6

Retained Reflexes, Movement, and Connection with Emotions

Did you realize that a child’s movement in all planes connects with emotional states/traits? We delve into the ramifications of retained reflexes and movement difficulties. You will learn to quickly assess and implement treatment techniques immediately!

Module 7

Executive Function - Doing Skills and Effect on Occupational Performance

We are all familiar with the thinking skills of executive function, such as planning and organizing. Did you know that the doing skills (metacognition, sustained attention, task initiation) begin with regulation? What does the neurology say and what can you add to your sessions to help guide your students to effective ‘doing skills?’

Module 8

Proactive and Reactive Strategies Focusing on a Fun, Play-Based Approach

Many of us use reactive strategies because it’s what we were either taught or what we see when considering meltdowns and behavior. We discuss the differences between top-down and bottom-up origins of behavior. You’ll feel comfortable playing behavior and communication detective while using play to build connections. Through case studies, you’ll develop a clear picture of how to choose and implement proactive strategies so your sessions flow smoother.

Module 9

Interoception & Sensory Coding - Everywhere, All the Time!

Interoceptive awareness affects how we react to our own bodies and our surroundings. It’s our primary instrument for making meaning to sensory information. Thus, it’s critical for our work with children to learn how we depend on our interoceptive system to support and facilitate meaningful participation in daily life. What is effective coding and how does it help build problem-solving and regulatory skills? Our children need to adapt to their surroundings and use interoception to form emotions. You’ll get ideas to implement immediately!

Module 10

Wrap-Up and Sendoff

You’re ready to go and make huge differences in your students’ lives! You had the power all along but you had to learn it for yourself. (Wizard of Oz)


Hear it from others.


Dr. Cara Koscinski

Cara is an accomplished occupational therapist, writer, speaker, teacher and overall advocate for children with special needs.

Cara has been a therapist since 1997. She earned her post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy, master’s degree in occupational therapy, and bachelor’s degree in health sciences. Along with many other achievements, she earned status as a Certified Autism Specialist (CAS) by the International Board of Credentialing – a highly regarded achievement in the health field.

Cara specializes in:

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