Play to Their Strengths! Assessment and Intervention Tools for a Strength-based Approach to Pediatric Therapy

Sunday, November 11
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Meeting Room 4/5 - Convention Center

The International Classification of Functioning (ICF) encourages the medical community to move from a disablement to an enablement model; however, low self-esteem continues as a common concern in children and youth with chronic illnesses. Pinquart (2015) attributes this to frequent negative social comparisons with peers, less acceptance by peers, and dissatisfaction with one’s body. This begs the question: have our services really moved our clients’ forward in terms of specifically supporting their self-determination and quality of life outcomes? How can therapists foster self-esteem and facilitate self-determination while improving therapeutic outcomes?

Play to Their Strengths! promotes positive strengths-based interventions for positive outcomes. Adding a strengths-based approach to our practice can foster a positive view of self for clients, as well as control over one’s goals for intervention. The presenters will discuss strengths-based assessment and intervention strategies supported by evidence: occupational performance coaching, solution-focused coaching, self-determination, and context-focused intervention. Participants will discuss how participation in meaningful physical, educational, and leisure activities helps pediatric clients understand their strengths, and use their strengths to accommodate for challenges. Finally, the presenters will utilize a case study to help participants incorporate these strategies in their daily practice, and gauge their attainment of course objectives.


Learning Objectives:

Carlo Vialu, PT, MBA

Apply EBP, LLC

Carlo Vialu, PT, MBA, serves pediatric clients with medical complexity through St. Mary’s Home Care. He is co-publisher of, an evidence-based online resource for pediatric therapists. He is Director of, a provider of live continuing education and online discussion group for pediatric therapists. Carlo was lead author of a Special Communication on determining students' need for school-based PT (Pediatric PT, October 2017). He is the project manager of research on normative data for five mobility tests for school-aged children (3 articles published in Pediatric PT). Carlo presents nationally on tests & measures, self-determination, motor learning, and clinical decision-making.


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Margaret (Peggy) Morris, OTD, OTR/L, BCP

Tufts University Department of Occupational Therapy

Peggy has 30+ years of experience in pediatrics; 25 of those years in schools practice in Massachusetts public schools. Peggy has delivered professional development for school systems and private companies for more than ten years and presented nationally at the AOTA annual convention on strengths-based and school-based practice. Her research interests include collaboration, best practices for service provision in schools, and adult teaching and learning. She currently teaches clinical reasoning, pediatrics, and school-based courses in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Tufts University and is the certificate coordinator for the newly-created online certificate in schools practice at Tufts University.


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Play to Their Strengths! Assessment and Intervention Tools for a Strength-based Approach to Pediatric Therapy

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