Understanding Sensory Function in Autism: Evidence and Discussion with Bryden Giving (CE Course)

Understanding Sensory Function in Autism: Evidence and Discussion with Bryden Giving (CE Course for occupational therapists)
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Course Description

Released April 19, 2021 from Aurora, NE

In neuroscience, there is a rapidly growing and evolving understanding of sensory function that is important for all occupational therapists to be tracking—and particularly those who work with autistic clients. 

In this one hour continuing education course, we’ll dive into a research review, where the authors take three  main assumptions that both neuroscientists and occupational therapists make regarding sensory function—and they discuss where the research stands with each one. 

You’ll leave this article feeling humbled by how much we still have to learn about sensory function and autism. Yet, also in awe of the advances we have made over the past few decades—one can only imagine what we will learn in future years!

After we look at some specific research on this topic, we’ll be bringing in our expert guest, Bryden Giving, MAOT, OTR/L. Bryden will help us connect this complex topic to your works on the frontlines. 

Primary Research Explored

When you log in, be sure to check out the OT Potential Club’s written breakdown of the following research article, then share your questions and thoughts with fellow practitioners.

Cascio CJ, Woynaroski T, Baranek GT, Wallace MT. Toward an interdisciplinary approach to understanding sensory function in autism spectrum disorder. Autism Res. 2016 Sep;9(9):920-5. doi: 10.1002/aur.1612. Epub 2016 Apr 19. PMID: 27090878; PMCID: PMC5564205.

Secondary Research 

Stein, B. E., Stanford, T. R., & Rowland, B. A. (2019). Multisensory integration and the society FOR Neuroscience: Then and now. The Journal of Neuroscience, 40(1), 3-11.

Stanford, T., & Rowland, B. (2019). Audiovisual multisensory integration in individuals with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis.The Journal of Neuroscience,40(1), 3-11. \

Learning Objectives

  • Based on the research, you will be able to describe how sensory function differences have been confirmed in people with autism. 
  • Based on the research, you will be able to identify how our understanding of the sensory system has evolved over the past decades. 
  • Based on the research, you will be able to recognize gaps that remain in our understanding of sensory function in autism. 


Intro (5 minutes)

Breakdown and analysis of journal article (10 minutes)

  • Why was this paper written? 
  • How the goals, values, and approaches of OT and neuroscience differ
  • 3 shared perspectives—and where the research stands behind each one.
    • Shared perspective #1: atypical behavioral responses to sensory stimuli are a consequence of atypical neural processing.
    • Shared perspective #2: differences in sensory function may explain higher-level deficits in people with autism. 
    • Shared perspective #3: sensory function may be malleable with treatment.
  • Authors’ conclusion and recommendations
  • Takeaways for OT practitioners

Discussion on practical implications for OTs (with guest Bryden Giving) (45 minutes)

  • What were your general impressions of the research?
  • How does this research fit with your current understanding of sensory function in autism?
  • Sensory function is so complex! What are some strategies you use for explaining it to parents?
  • Do you talk about sensory function with the kids on your caseload? If so, how do you explain it?
  • How do you factor sensory function into your treatments?

Contact Hours

1 hour (0.1 AOTA CEUs)

Target Audience/Educational Level

Our target audience is occupational therapy practitioners who are looking to establish a baseline understanding of where the research stands on autism and sensory function. The educational level is introductory.

Instructional Methods/Registration/Special Needs Requests/Cancellation Policy

This course is an independent/self-study course delivered via podcast on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. Explore your listening options on the OT Potential Podcast page.

If you need accommodations to take this course, please contact us and we will address your needs on an individual basis.

If this course were to be cancelled, please see our cancellation policy on our terms page.

Course Completion Requirements

In order to receive a certificate for this course, you must first listen to the podcast in its entirety. Then, you will need to take the test (found at the top of this page) and earn 75% or higher. If you pass, a certificate will be automatically generated and sent to your email.


Bryden Giving, MAOT, OTR/L:

Bryden Giving OT headshot

Bryden Giving is a recent graduate coupled with experience in research, evidence-based practice, and occupation-centered treatments for children. Bryden’s passion areas are amplifying the voices of the disabled community in addressing ableism within the allied health professions and advocating for a return to occupation-based practice within pediatric occupational therapy. Bryden’s love for learning has led him to pursue a post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, MN to help continue his work in shifting our impairment-based perspective to a social model of disability for our pediatric patients.

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L:

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L headshot

Sarah’s passion is helping fellow OT practitioners translate evidence into daily practice. Sarah earned her BA in religion from St. Olaf College, then earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy from New York University in 2011. Since then, she’s worked in numerous facilities, including a critical access hospital, an acute trauma hospital, and a state inpatient psychiatric hospital.

In 2011, Sarah launched OT Potential because she realized we needed a reliable source of quality occupational therapy-related content and resources. She has also had the opportunity to create content for brands like WebPT, MedBridge, Saebo, and NeuroLutions.

She launched the OT Potential Club in 2019 to marry her love of simplifying complex topics with her desire to help therapists access the most important OT-related research released each year.

Sarah is a prairie girl at heart, which is why she returned to her hometown to raise her children in Aurora, Nebraska (home of the strobe light).

This course was designed to meet your continuing education requirements

Every state, entity, and country has different requirements for what counts as continuing education, and we have done our best to make sure it meets yours. Please double check with particular requirements, and let us know if you have any questions about whether it meets your needs.

NBCOT renewal:
This course is designed to meet the requirements of NBCOT PDUs. But, you are advised to make your own determination as to whether the course will be beneficial to your practice. NBCOT does not endorse any specific professional development units.

See #14 on the NBCOT Renewal Activities Chart to see what this podcast would qualify under. (OT Potential is considered a 3rd party entity.)

We are AOTA approved!!
Works for NBCOT PDUs!

State license renewal (within the US):

Our OT Potential Podcast is intended to meet the requirements for “online” and “independent/self-study” courses. If you have any questions about your particular continuing education requirements, please check with the licensing entity in your state.