Making Sense of Sensory Processing and Autism

  • 03/07/2023
  • 03/09/2023
  • 2 sessions
  • 03/07/2023, 4:00 PM 6:00 PM (MST)
  • 03/09/2023, 4:00 PM 6:00 PM (MST)
  • Zoom


  • Register here if you are an SLP, AUD, or Allied Health Professional. This registration type is eligible for ASHA CEUs. You are required to attend both sessions and complete additional online documentation for ASHA CEUs to be processed.
  • Please select this option if you are a student or family member of a student.

Registration is closed

Please join us as we welcome Kim Clairy-Miller, OTR/L

For Two nights!  March 7th and 9th from 4:00-6:00

Speaker Biography:

Kim is an autistic occupational therapist, international speaker, consultant, author, and self-advocate. Diagnosed with autism as an adult, Kim broke through many barriers as she defied a healthcare system that said, “your autism is severe; you need to live in a nursing home.” Her difficult healthcare experiences forged a passion for educating others on autism with the hope of giving insight into the inner world of autism. Using personal and professional experiences Kim educates on many facets of autism across the lifespan including eating disorders, trauma, mental health, relationships, self-awareness, classroom inclusion, community integration, problem-solving through challenging behaviors, and much more!

Speaker Disclosures: 

For financial disclosures, Ms. Clairy-Miller received a stipend for this presentation. For non-financial disclosures, Ms. Clairy-Miller is autistic, she works with autistic individuals, and she has friends who work with autistic people. She frequently presents with Kelly Mahler, Ruth Aspy, and Barry Grossman. Their products, along with many others, are mentioned as resources and tools that can be helpful for autistic individuals. Additionally, Ms. Clairy-Miller is a committee member of Milestones Autism Resources Conference. 

Presentation Description:

The brain’s job is to keep us alive, to keep us safe from harm. Safety is an essential need. How the brain takes in, processes, and decides what to do with the sensory information coming from inside and outside of the body largely influences how safe one feels in their mind, body, environment, and interactions with others. Life is a sensory experience; everything we do is sensory. Without adequate support dysfunction or differences in sensory processing can negatively impact every aspect of an individual’s life as well as lead to a perpetual state of fight, flight, or freeze. Research indicates that up to 90% of autistic individuals experience differences and/or dysfunction with sensory processing. Many autistics report their sensory difficulties are so significant that when left unsupported has led to a trauma response. Furthermore, research has found similarities between the brains of an autistic person and a person who experienced significant trauma. It is essential for providers who work with autistic clients to understand sensory processing and how

to support those with sensory differences and dysfunctions. During this training, Kim, an autistic occupational therapist shares her inner experiences and professional expertise as she teaches the basics about sensory processing before going in depth about the daily

challenges sensory processing differences and dysfunctions can have for autistic individuals. Evidence-based strategies to address sensory challenges across multiple contexts will also be shared.

Learning Outcomes: 

1. Explain the 3 types of sensory processing dysfunction.

2. Describe the 8 senses and how they can be impacted by sensory processing differences and dysfunction. 

3. List the impacts on mental health and daily life functioning that sensory processing differences and dysfunction can have on autistic individuals.

4. Identify the signs and symptoms that can point to an underlying sensory processing dysfunction.

5. Select strategies to implement with clients to help with sensory processing dysfunction and differences.

Time-ordered Agenda

DAY 1: Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 4-6 PM MST

4:00-4:15 PM 

I. Introduction 

A. Who am I and who is the guy next to me (reasonable accommodation and husband)

B. My story

4:15-4:30 PM

II. Sensory processing 

A. Overview of the senses

B. Sensory integration explained

C. Defining Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

D. The dangers of not supporting sensory needs

E. SPD and sensory processing differences in autism

F. Defining 3 types of SPD

1. Modulation

2. Discrimination

3. Motor-based

4:30-5:30 PM

III. In depth look at sensory modulation and sensory discrimination 

A. Overview of sensory modulation and sensory discrimination with case studies

B. Sensory processing differences in modulation and discrimination

1. Vision

2. Auditory

3. Tactile

4. Gustatory

5. Olfactory

6. Proprioception

7. Vestibular

8. Interoception

5:30-5:50 PM

IV. In depth look at sensory motor 

A. Overview of sensory motor

1. Postural

2. Dyspraxia

B. Case study example

5:50-6:00 PM

V. Question and  Answer 

DAY 2: Thursday, March 9, 2023, 4-6 PM MST

4:00-4:10 PM

VI. Questions and Answers 


VII. Shutdowns and Meltdowns 


VIII. Supporting the sensory needs of autistic individuals

A. Problem-solving and discovering sensory needs with case studies

1. Analyzing patterns to discover the root of the problem

2. Interoception and self-awareness

B. Sensory supports to elicit specific arousal states

1. Alerting

2. Organizing

3. Calming

C. Sensory breaks/routines

D. Making supports accessible using sensory tools

E. Sensory supports as a way of daily functioning

1. Environmental supports

2. Situation specific supports


VI. Q and A 

Target Audience

  • Autistic pre-teens, teens and adults

  • Family members of autistic individuals

  • Professionals who work with people with autism such as teachers, administrators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, counselors, or speech- language pathologists

  • Undergraduate or graduate students in related fields of study

Payment and CEU Information

.4 ASHA CEUs pending for full attendance for the two days for speech language pathologists

Introductory Level Course

$25 for professionals who want to apply for ASHA CEUs (speech language pathologists)

$10 for all other attendees (You are encouraged to attend both days, although the content is arranged so that 1-day attendance is possible. The price is a flat fee for both days). 

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