Winter Training: Cognitive Perception

Cognitive Perception: Occupational Therapy Intervention for Clients with Cognitive Perceptual Impairments

with Mary Jo McGuire, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

Saturday, March 7, 2009
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Creekside Room
Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Avenue,
 San Rafael, CA 94901

Cognitive Perception: Occupational Therapy Intervention for Clients with Cognitive Perceptual Impairments

with Mary Jo McGuire, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

Saturday, March 7, 2009
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Creekside Room
Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Avenue,
 San Rafael, CA 94901


In this fast-paced, comprehensive course, participants will explore how sensory-perceptual and cognitive impairments contribute to difficulties in occupational performance, while also assessing the auditory, tactile, vestibular, and visual systems. The presenter will review the role of attention, memory, higher level thinking skills and executive skills in cognitive-perceptual function, highlighting critical elements to evaluate and providing direction for therapeutic intervention. Treatment will be categorized into six groups: deficit-specific, compensatory, task-specific/environmental modification, meta-cognitive training, education, and social skills training. Treatment strategies will be presented using lecture, video-analysis, and case study anecdotes.

This course advocates for client-centered, occupation-based OT intervention that supports the development of client factors and skills and focuses on a return to habits, routines, rituals, and roles. The presenter will demonstrate the importance of incorporating the natural environment into the intervention program for people with cognitive-perceptual problems. Evidence based approaches and strategies will be highlighted, and clinicians will be challenged to stay focused on providing services that will make a difference in the client’s and family’s life.


Completion of the course will enable participants to:

  • Explain the importance of designing an OT program for clients with cognitive perceptual disorders which incorporates information from the client’s occupational profile, and integrates environmental factors.
  • Describe how to evaluate and address a client’s sensory processing skills/impairments into the occupational therapy program of a client with cognitive-perceptual disorders.
  • Describe common misperceptions and/or functional deficits associated with various sensory processing disorders.
  • Describe screening tools and standardized tests that can be used to establish a baseline for cognitive deficits and/or to provide evidence of progress in cognitive function.
  • Give examples of each of the following intervention approaches, and describe when it is appropriate/inappropriate to use the following:
    • Deficit specific training
    • Compensatory training
    • Task specific training/environmental modifications
    • Meta-cognitive training
    • Education of patient/family/caregivers
    • Social Skills training
  • Compare and contrast classic and current terminology used to describe different types of apraxia, and describe appropriate therapeutic approaches to use related to the type and severity of the disorder.
  • Describe published resources that can be used as part of evidence based practice in treating clients with cognitive-perceptual disorders.

Speaker Bio

Mary Jo McGuire, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA has over 30 years clinical experience working in acute care, in-patient rehab, out-patient rehab, skilled nursing facilities, and home health care; she is currently in private practice treating clients with traumatic brain injuries.


8:30 am                              Participant Registration. Continental Breakfast.
9:00 am – noon                 Theoretical Foundations
12:00 noon – 1:00 pm      Networking Box Lunch (included) – an opportunity to meet with peer practitioners
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm            Treatment Principles
2:30 pm – 4:30 pm            Practical Applications – applying principles to selected cases and practice settings


$125 for POTAC members & students; $150 for non-members. Certificate of Attendance provided to qualify for PDUs.

Registration & Payment Form

Download Registration Form

Click here for directions, campus map, and parking information.

Contact Information

Sandy Baker
Director, PACE, Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901
415-485-3255;  fax 415-482-3575; ude.nacinimodnull@rekabs

Event Flyer

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Kimberly Aspelund – Memorial

Kimberly Aspelund

January 13, 1960 – January 8, 2004

by Vivian Banish Levitt, MA, OTR/L, ATR-BC, LMFT

The death of our friend and colleague, Kim Aspelund, has left an enormous hole in the occupational therapy community. Our profound grief is for the loss of a pioneer and teacher in the field of community mental health and for the loss of a compassionate, special person who touched so many lives.

Continue reading “Kimberly Aspelund – Memorial”

About the Aspelund Scholarship

Download POTAC Scholarship PDF

Since the loss of our dear friend and active Steering Committee member, Kim Aspelund, POTAC has been accepting contributions to sponsor a scholarship in her name. The scholarship is for eligible students from California schools of occupational therapy who will be participating in community-based psychosocial internships. If you would like to apply for this scholarship, please download the application and instructions as directed on the link.

Chair of the Kim Aspelund Memorial Scholarship project is Ruth Ramsey, Ed.D., OTR/L, Dominican University of California at San Rafael.

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POTAC History: Then and Now

The Psychiatric Occupational Therapy Action Coalition (POTAC) had its roots in an original group of San Francisco OTs working in mental health, the OT Psych. Forum, organized by the Sr. Occupational Therapist at San Francisco General Hospital, Judith Levins Leiber, MPH, OTR in the early 1980’s. The group was developed for the purpose of continuing education, networking, and promotion of mental health OT practice. The group, always well attended, met monthly on Friday afternoons at the SFGH.

By 1995 it was becoming obvious that OT jobs were disappearing and that there were many fewer OTs who were working in mental health settings. Two members of the OT Psych. Forum, Ruth Ramsey, MS, OTR/L and Eileen Auerbach, MS, OTR/L called together a group of psych. OTs to discuss beginning a more activist effort to reinvigorate the practice of psychiatric OT. They called this group the Psychiatric Occupational Therapy Action Coalition. As POTAC developed, its mission statement was “to revitalize the practice of psychiatric occupational therapy through education, information, and advocacy for consumers, health care providers and the community.”

POTAC is currently headed by a steering committee. It meets during open planning and support meetings on a semi-monthly basis.

The POTAC Brochure

Occupational Therapy in Mental Health – Skills for the Job of Living: A Guide for Consumers

A double-sided tri-fold brochure that can be distributed to consumers, families and other mental health practitioners.

POTAC Brochure 52 KB PDF

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Brochure created by: The POTAC steering committee, R. Elder, J. Fisher, and D. Price. With special thanks to the recipients of O.T. services who made their comments available. Brochure redesign by Jesse Burgheimer.