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Digital Recordings

Dissecting the Brain-Gut Connection to Address Sensorimotor Concerns for Autistic Children

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Varleisha D. Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS
2 Hours 02 Minutes
Apr 21, 2022
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Digital Recordings


Watch sought after occupational therapist, Dr. Varleisha Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS, as she walks you through improved evidence-based approaches to properly select interventions to help autistic children displaying challenges with self-regulation, emotional regulation, and sensorimotor skills.

Through current neurology research, new evidence on brain-gut connection along with video case scenarios, you’ll learn to:

  • Connect behaviour to gut ecosystem to better understand the symptomatology: Enteric nervous system, primitive reflexes, neurological senses, neuronal oscillations
  • Address challenging behaviours, such as hyperactivity, aggressiveness, self-stimulatory, sensory avoidance, and inattentiveness amongst other concerns

This recording will give specific focus to the CNS, and the role of ANS and the Vagus nerve, on motor patterns and self-regulation. Active learning strategies will include video neuroanatomical review and case examples.



This online program is worth 2.25 hours CPD.



Varleisha D. Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS's Profile

Varleisha D. Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS Related seminars and products

Varleisha D. Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS, is an occupational therapist and author with over 18 years of experience working with children and adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing disorders, and Neurological disorders. She is the vice president of practice engagement and capacity building at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Dr. Gibbs is the former scientific programs officer at the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. She also served as the inaugural chair and director of the master's programs in occupational therapy at Wesley College in Dover, DE, where she was a tenured associate professor. Prior to joining Wesley, Dr. Gibbs worked at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA, where she served as the director of the doctoral programs in occupational therapy.

Dr. Gibbs is steadfast and an expert in the field of neurology, cognition, and pediatric therapeutic intervention. She lectures and provides training on sensory processing strategies and self-regulation to practitioners, parents, and teachers throughout the country and internationally. Dr. Gibbs is the developer of the self-regulation and mindfulness program and author of the best-selling Self-Regulation and Mindfulness: Exercise and Worksheets for Sensory Processing Disorder, 85 Activities to Move Clients Toward Healing, Growth and Improved Functioning (PESI Publishing & Media, May 2021). As co-author of Raising Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders, she has provided families with strategies to understand and care for their children. Dr. Gibbs is certified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist (ASDCS).


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dr. Varleisha Gibbs has employment relationships with the American Occupational Therapy Association and Wesley College. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording and book royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Dr. Varleisha Gibbs serves on the Commission on Practice committee for the American Occupational Therapy Association. and is a member of the Freelee Foundation Executive Board of Directors. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the National Black Occupational Therapy Caucus.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


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  1. Evaluate the neurology of the brain-gut connection to the various senses including interoception for treating autistic clients.
  2. Apply the latest research on the enteric nervous system to function and dysfunction of autistic individuals via the Self-Regulation and Mindfulness and ACTION from Trauma intervention programs.
  3. Investigate the mind-body connection of the microbiomes and sensory processing and connection to primitive reflexes and the effects in development and learning.
  4. Determine how rhythm and movement can improve self-regulation and sensorimotor function.


  • Possible Influences for the Presentation of Autism
    • Research for the Brain-Gut connection and behavioural presentations
    • Neurological connections to emotions and sensorimotor function including primitive reflexes
    • Trauma and autism connection to inform appropriate interventions
  • Self-Regulation & Mindfulness program and ACTION from Trauma Approach:
    • Assessment Tools
      • Screen areas of strength and areas revealing potential for growth
      • Assess the environment and context to identify opportunities for adaptation and modification
      • Determine arousal levels and potential thresholds: Concrete method used for daily schedules and to organize daily interventions
    • Treatment Planning
      • Neuronal Brain Oscillations/Autonomic Neuronal Plexuses/Vagus Nerve connection
      • Sensorimotor strategies to address the individual needs of children and families: Case examples
      • Adapt and modify activities and the environment to support the child’s needs
      • New interventions for vestibular, interoception, proprioceptive, auditory, rhythm, and breathwork
      • Primitive reflexes to address arousal, attention, and sensorimotor skills
  • Limitations of Research and Potential Risk

Target Audience

  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Social Workers
  • Teachers/School-Based Personnel
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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