VOTA is Virginia's leading organization for occupational therapy practitioners and students. VOTA is committed to advocating for and further developing the profession of occupational therapy in our state.

Full Program Descriptions for 2023 C&Y Conference Program

Friday - March 10, 2023

10:45 - 12:15    Concurrent Sessions

     Impact of Trauma on Youth- Understanding Trauma Response and Responding in a Trauma Sensitive Way (Emerging Practice Area)

Betsy Bell, Certified School Counselor, LPC, ACEs Master Trainer - Introductory Level

This session will provide a look at the impact of traumatic experiences on youth and resources for providing trauma-sensitive care within Tiered Systems of Support. An overview of the  history of ACEs will be discussed with real-world examples of common trauma responses and strategies  for addressing them.  

     Let’s Be Where the Children Are: Natural Environment, Strengths-based, Coaching Model Intervention for Children from 3-21 years Old (Emerging Practice Area)

            Rebecca Balog, MS OTR/L and Caitlyn Berry, MS OTR/L - Intermediate Level

Are you passionate about improving the lives of children with disabilities but feeling confined by the current realities of the deficit-based medical model? Examine the research behind the increased efficacy of natural-environment, occupation-based, family-centered interventions. Engage in discussions around practical aspects of implementing these evidence-based approaches in your practice setting.

     Universal Design for Learning- What’s out there? (Assistive Technology)

Jessica James, Learning Technology Integrator and Charli Nolan, Learning and Technology Integrator - Introductory Level

Universal Design for Learning- What’s out there? What tools are available for students to use to make reading and writing more accessible? What translation options are currently being used in the classroom? This session we will explore built in tools and tools that are paid options for use with students.


1:20 - 2:15     Poster Session

     Anyone Can Dance: Supporting Community-based Accessible Dance for Children with Special Needs (Community-Based)

Lori Potter, OTS and Allison Ellington, OTD, OTR/L - Introductory Level

    Caregiver Support, Co-occupations, and Occupational Therapy’s Role with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit)

Hannah Dietrich, OTS and Pam Stephenson, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, FAOTA - Introductory Level

     Developing a Trauma Informed Training Program for Educators: An Occupational Therapy Perspective (School-Based)

Kayla Underwood, OTS - Introductory Level

     Leisure Promotion and Engagement within Adaptive Recreational Programming for Children &, Youth with Disabilities (Leisure)

Julia Sheffer, OTS and Allison Ellington, OTD, OTR/L - Introductory Level

     Recommendations for School Based OT: Insights from the COVID-19 Pandemic (School-Based)

Jacquelyn Erb, OTD, OTR/L and Morghen Sikes, PhD, MS, OTR/L - Intermediate Level

     Structured Reflection: A Tool to Advance Practice and Improve Student Outcomes (School-Based)

Patricia Laverdure, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, FAOTA - Introductory Level

     Supporting Patients with Adverse Childhood Experiences (SPACE): Trauma-Informed Approaches in Pelvic Floor Therapy(Emerging Practice Area)

Kristen Springer, OTS - Intermediate Level

     Utilization of Collaboration to Promote Professional Identity (Community-Based)

Noushin Sharmeli, OTDS - Introductory Level 


2:30 - 4:00     Concurrent Sessions

     Life, It's Always Changing: Supporting Transition From EI to School Based Services (Early Intervention)

Kimberly Alford, OTD, MS OTR/L - Introductory Level

Change is often difficult.  This is especially true for many families transitioning from occupational and physical therapy service through early intervention to school-based therapy services.  As rehab providers, we have the opportunity to support families through this transition utilizing the COACHing model, the preferred model for early intervention providers in the state of Virginia, while using a routines-based approach.  Research studies examining this transition from the perspective parents of children with disabilities demonstrated that communication between providers, collaborative relationships, opportunities for transition practice and preparation of the child improves the transition experience.  This session will offer the opportunity to explore ways therapists can improve the transition process for the families they serve.

     OT And Functional Optometry, A Developing Relationship (All Pediatric Practice Areas)

Tod Davis, OD, FCOVD - Introductory

Understanding Functional Vision  1. What is vision?   Getting past the 20/20 myth. Vision versus sight. 2. The developmental process of vision. Key developmental vision sequences 3. The significant impact on ADLs of visual processing problems 4. Basic functional vision testing  Tracking and near point of convergence 5. Identifying vision problems 6. Optometric treatment with lenses, prisms and therapy. 7. When to refer 

     SustainabilOT Make & Take (Emerging Practice Area)

                        Courtney P Nelson, OTS, Elizabeth Richardson, MS, OTD, OTR/L, and Laura Miller, OTS - Introductory Level

This session will be educational in “nature.” We will explore how to support children in achieving established OT goals while simultaneously substituting recycled and/or “nature” materials for traditional supplies during therapeutic activities. We will discuss the value of environmental sustainability for ourselves, our clients, and the world. Participants are encouraged to bring nature-based and recycled materials to this session.


4:30 - 6:00     Concurrent Sessions         

     How to ADL: What the Evidence Says (All Pediatric Practice Areas)

Carole Ivey, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA - Intermediate Level 

This presentation will review current evidence from recent systematic reviews and meta-analysis, summarized into five effective interventions to support participation and performance in activities of daily living. Specific ideas for each effective intervention will be discussed and shared, along with ideas that can be used across practice settings.

     Skills for Life: Assistive Technology Tools for Organization, Time Management, and Problem Solving for the Busy Practitioner (Assistive Technology)

Lauren Andelin, OTD, OTR/L, BCP and Sara Kohout, M.S. - Introductory Level 

Technology is growing at a rate faster than any of us can keep up with, and time is a hot commodity at home, work, and in therapy sessions.  This hands-on session will focus on easy to learn but often not well known accessibility and productivity features within the devices you use everyday.  This presentation will include tools in google suite, browser extensions, and websites to help maximize your time.  While this session will focus on the tools and make suggestions for use across different environments for you as a clinician or graduate student, these features can be shared with clients in a variety of settings and can help create intervention activities for your therapy sessions. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss and analyze the application of strategies related to the needs of themselves and their clients. Participants should walk away with resources to add to their toolkit for immediate use! Don't forget to bring your own device(s) (e.g. laptop, tablet, phone)! 

     Therapeutic Consultation in Virginia through the Waiver - Developing Best Practice Standards and Simplifying the Application Process (Emerging Practice Area/Outpatient)

Christina Santos, MOT, OTR/L and Holly Butler, MOT, OTR/L  - Introductory Level

Have you ever thought about becoming a Medicaid Waiver provider, but looked at the process and thought it was too complicated? So many individuals across the lifespan are in dire need of Therapeutic Consultation by Occupational Therapists. In this presentation, you will learn about the need for OT in this area of practice, as well as the practical steps for applying, and templates for best practice.

Saturday - March 11, 2023

9:45 - 11:15 Concurrent Sessions

     Assistive Technology:  A Game Changer for Student Success! (Assistive Technology)

Ynez Peterson, MA, OTR/L and Gina Martin, M.Ed., Special Education -  Introductory Level

Occupational Therapists are uniquely skilled at adapting devices, environments, and strategies.  Assistive Technology (AT) includes the devices and services that help students get around the challenges they face.  Attend this session to learn about AT Consideration and receive resources that support identification of appropriate AT tools for your students.

     Is driving an appropriate goal for my client?(Outpatient)

Latisha Keith, MS OTR/L,  Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist and Amanda Mendez, COTA/ DRS - Introductory Level

"Is my child safe to start driving?" Driving is an important milestone for many teens and a valued Instrumental Activity of Daily Living. This course will review common diagnosis and available assessments to help practitioners recommend if driving is an appropriate goal for our clients along with the next steps to take for safe independent driving.

     Knowledge Translation Pathway: Enhancing Decision Making Through the Synthesis of Evidence (School-based)

Patricia Laverdure, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, FAOTA - Intermediate Level

In this session, we will examine a KT pathway that highlights the sequential stages of research application to knowledge-based decision-making. Participants will examine an educational/pediatric practice KT pathway that provides a process in which focus is shifted from continuing education aimed at strengthening research literacy competencies and building learning products, to intentionally (a) integrating empirical research carefully filtered for client-centered and occupation-based practice; (b) examining external determinants and evaluating their effects on practice in their unique practice setting; (c)strengthening practice reflection competencies and designing practice profiles; and (d) building knowledge and expanding resources that reflect clients' values and interests. In other words, shifting our continuing education focus from a "just in case" stance to a professional development model that supports "just in time" support of clinical reasoning and decision making. Participants will explore a KT decision-making pathway that enables them to combine a wide range of evidentiary sources and collaborate with their educational teams to develop and internalize collectively reinforced guidelines that are used to inform practice and make decisions. Participants will use the KT decision-making pathways to examine research and consider its implication on clinical practice.


12:30 - 2:00  Concurrent Sessions

     Cortical Visual Impairment: Implications and Adaptations for Success in Treatment (All practice Areas)

Lauren Andelin, OTD, OTR/L, BCP - Introductory Level

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is the leading cause of vision impairment in children, but it continues to be misunderstood across professionals and families who receive the diagnosis.  As pediatric occupational therapists, it is crucial to understand the 10 common behaviors associated with this condition in order to best support the children we treat in all settings to maximize their occupational performance.  This presentation will describe the 10 unique visual and behavioral characteristics of CVI as well as barriers and treatment strategies for success with this population.  The presentation will also include ideas for DIY treatment tools for clinicians to create for their own CVI toolkit!  Participants should walk away with many practical strategies and tools to help their clients immediately. 

     Let’s Collaborate! Developing Collaborative Student Goals in School-Based Practice: How and Why? (School-based)

Pam Stephenson, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, FAOTA, Barreca, J, DPT., Schlessman, A, DPT,  Arner, L, SLP-CCC, Hari Prasad A, SLP_CCC, & Cosbey J., PhD, OTR/L - Intermediate Level

This presentation shares an initiative between AOTA, APTA and ASHA that resulted in a joint statement on collaborative goal development in school-based practice. It assists participants to identify strategies that foster collaborative student-centered goals.

     Promoting Adaptive Sports and Recreation Opportunities for Children with Disabilities (Emerging Practice Area)

Caitlyn Berry, OTR/L and Ellis Mumford, OTS - Introductory Level

According to the AAP, children with disabilities should be urged to participate in competitive and recreational sports and physical activity, stating “the benefits are substantial.” Learn about adaptive sports and recreation activities (including types, benefits, and barriers), assistive technology for sports and recreation, and programs in your community!   

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