For Therapists—Advanced Treatment Practicum

A limited number of occupational therapists will be accepted for this special practicum with the Avanti staff involving the holistic treatment of children with sensory processing disorders. The learning activities will include opportunities for both formal (lectures, approximately 15–20 hours) and practical experiences. Most of the children have normal or above average intelligence but experience difficulties with learning and/or behavior. Practicum therapists will be able to work and live with the children and camp staff. Each practicum participant will be presented with opportunities to enhance professional development and skills within the framework of the camp’s goals for the children.

The children are assigned to cabins by age and gender. A cabin therapist and two experienced YMCA camp counselors for each cabin coordinate cabin activities. The counselors, WonderLab therapists and cabin therapists collaborate to plan appropriate activities for each child and ways to make the camping experience a positive and therapeutic one.

Camp activities begin each morning with a special individualized wake-up routine. The camp schedule focuses on structured activities at many different program areas interspersed with unstructured activities. Specific sensory integration therapy for individual children takes place in space designed for therapy called the WonderLab. Whenever possible therapy also occurs in the outdoor environment. The WonderLab therapy space is fully equipped with suspended apparatus, mats and other therapy equipment.

Other activities include swimming, hiking, therapeutic horseback riding, crafts, boating, self-expression, music, etc. Intercommunication among the camp staff is an integral part of the program, and a variety of opportunities for consultation, problem solving, treatment planning and more are built in to the program. Meals, rest periods and campfires are carefully structured to maximize the therapeutic value for the children.

Practicum therapists’ learning experiences will be facilitated by Jen Kiellach, MHS, OTR/L, Patricia Oetter, MA, OTR/L, FAOTA and other therapists on staff to gain the most from the practicum experience. WonderLab therapists and other support staff are nationally recognized experts in various aspects of sensory integration treatment and other neurobehavioral approaches.

They will be able to share their special skills (i.e. oral sensory motor and postural techniques, assessment, cranio-sacral therapy, listening programs, etc.) with practicum therapists on a day-to-day basis in conjunction with lectures. The actual hands-on learning time and formal learning time together average 12 hours per day.

More Details

Sensory Integration in the Life Environment: An Advanced Treatment Practicum

This year’s camp is directed by Kris Worrell, OTR/L, SIPT. The Practicum program will be coordinated by Jen Kiellach, MHS, OTR/L and Patti Oetter, MA, OTR/L, FAOTA. Participants will also have training experiences facilitated by other expert therapists.

  • Pre-camp Continuing Education (virtual) : Saturday, June 25 2022
  • Staff Training Friday July 1 – July 2, 2022
  • Camp: Sunday, July 3 – Friday July 8, 2022
  • Tuition: $1200; includes training, materials, and room and board

Therapists applying for this course must have studied sensory integration theory. It is advantageous if the participant’s work experience has included testing and/or treatment of sensory integrative dysfunction as well as other treatment approaches for children with sensory processing disorders.

Therapists will be accepted on the basis of whether their background is sufficient to benefit from this experience and if the setting can contribute to their intended goals. Applications will be processed in the order received (limited number accepted).

Therapists who are easily inconvenienced by living in a rustic environment, require a lot of privacy, need a lot of structure or have difficulty adapting to the changing needs of a group of creative professionals should reconsider before applying. Adaptability is essential.

Each practicum therapist must have professional liability insurance.


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