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Featuring: Wilma Dorman and Karen Misher
originally recorded September 23, 2019

LiveTalks are hour long audio-only podcasts. This LiveTalk is part of the Collaboration for Care: Combining Treatment Disciplines for Greater Effectiveness bundle.

Description: Come meet this dynamic duo who forged a partnership through their mutual desire to increase the social competency of children with autism spectrum disorder and their success in challenging environments. Wilma Dorman, OTR/l, the co-author of the book Promoting Social Competency and Karen Misher, the founder of A Step Up Academy, a school for children with moderate autism spectrum disorder, developed a partnership while Wilma was treating Karen’s twin boys with ASD. Their story is an example of how an occupational therapist and parent can come together to collaborate and create a successful model for working as a team, together and with other professionals, to help support families and their children with ASD.  The two will discuss how they developed their team model and how they apply it at Karen’s school, A Step Up Academy.

Learning Objectives
By the end of this LiveTalk listeners will be able to:

  1. Identify 3 key steps to building a relationship between occupational therapist and parent
  2. Identify 2 key strategies to use in collaboration with parent to foster common goal achievement using a team model.
  3. State 2 challenges or barriers to effective collaboration between parent and occupational therapists

Course Level: Introductory. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Suitable For: Occupational Therapists, OT Assistants

Domain: Areas of Occupation
Process: Intervention

Contact Hours: This course is worth 1.0 contact hours or 0.1 AOTA CEUs.

Completion Requirements: To receive contact hours for this course you must listen to the recorded LiveTalk in its entirety, and complete the accompanying assessment.

About the Speakers: Wilma Dorman, OT/L past owner of OTR, Inc., a small pediatric occupational therapy practice with a focus on children and families with complex issues. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has received the master clinician award from both the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association and Thomas Jefferson University School of Occupational Therapy. She is a certified RDI consultant and her interventions include sensory integration, social competence groups, and parent coaching using RDI to assist families with children with autism spectrum disorder. She specializes in interventions promoting the development of social competence using a small group format. She is co-author of the book Promoting Social Competence with Dr. Gordon Williamson.

Karen Misher is a professor, artist, mother and advocate. Beginning her career in higher education in 1994, at what was then Beaver College, Karen now holds the rank of Associate Professor at Arcadia University and is an active member of the full-time members of the university community. Her passion for the creative arts and education is surpassed only by her devotion to her twin sons. Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Karen has dedicated herself to meeting the challenges that come with this complicated diagnosis. After years of managing therapy programs aimed at their development, Karen turned her energies to the complexities of education for special needs children. Surrounded by many experts in the field of autism treatment, Karen forged the creation of a new school for children on the autism spectrum. A Step Up Academy, located in Jenkintown PA, utilizes evidence-based practices in classroom theory, and bridges the social skills challenges for these children with integrative programming and community partnerships for meaningful inclusion opportunities.

ADA/Section 504: If you require special accommodations, please contact the Spiral Foundation at or (617) 969-4410 ext. 231.

Contact Hours:


Occupational Therapy Practitioners/ Occupational Therapy Assistants:  The Spiral Foundation is an Approved Provider of Continuing Education for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants by the American Occupational Therapy Association.  The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.


The Spiral Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and as such your donation is tax deductible.