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Applying the Clinical Reasoning Process to Challenging Behaviors in Pediatric Therapy

presented by Renee Watling

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Clinical reasoning is an integral part of effective occupational therapy intervention, but can be difficult to identify and define. By explicitly considering all aspects of clinical reasoning and their application when working with clients who have challenging behaviors, practitioners can enhance their services and help to identify effective interventions to address the behaviors. This course will review seven types of clinical reasoning and discuss how each type of reasoning is used when addressing client challenging behaviors. A case example is used to illustrate application of key concepts and provide a foundation for translating information to the individual clients on practitioner caseloads.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Renee Watling, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

    Dr. Watling has been a pediatric occupational therapist in Washington State since 1992. She has worked in clinic, school, and private practice settings; has lectured extensively at state, regional, and national conferences; and has published extensively on the topics of sensory processing, sensory-based occupational therapy intervention, and issues related to services for children with autism. She is the lead author of the AOTA Practice Guideline for Children and Adolescents with Challenges in Sensory Processing and Sensory Integration and the co-editor for Autism: A Comprehensive Occupational Therapy Approach. Dr. Watling received her BS and MS in occupational therapy from the School of Medicine at the University of Washington and her PhD from the College of Education at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on understanding the relationship between sensory processing and behavior, especially among children with autism spectrum disorders. She has served on various committees for the American Occupational Therapy Association, including holding the positions of Chairperson and Education/Research liaison for the Sensory Integration Special Interest Section and participating in the Autism Workgroup. She is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association and has been on select advisory panels for the organization. She is a past Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington – Seattle and is now Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Puget Sound, where she teaches in the entry-level Master’s program and post-professional doctoral program.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. The Clinical Reasoning Process

    1. The Clinical Reasoning Process

    This chapter reviews clinical reasoning as a foundational component of the therapy process and introduces the concept of intentionally using the reasoning process to guide intervention for challenging behavior.

  2. Types of Clinical Reasoning

    2. Types of Clinical Reasoning

    Clinical reasoning is a complex process comprised of seven types of thinking and reasoning. This chapter discusses these seven types of reasoning and applies them to an example of a child with challenging behavior.

  3. Therapeutic Use of Self: An Essential Complement

    3. Therapeutic Use of Self: An Essential Complement

    The occupational therapy service delivery process is enhanced by a therapist’s effective use of self as a therapeutic agent. This chapter will extend the content on clinical reasoning to encompass therapeutic use of self as an additional key component of addressing challenging behaviors in pediatric therapy.

  4. Putting It All Together: Applying Clinical Reasoning to Challenging Behaviors in Pediatric Therapy

    4. Putting It All Together: Applying Clinical Reasoning to Challenging Behaviors in Pediatric Therapy

    This chapter will tie together the content from the preceding chapters in order to demonstrate the links between clinical reasoning, therapeutic use of self and planning intervention for challenging behaviors.