NEW On-Demand with Holly Schifsky! Take a Deep Dive Into the World of Infants Requiring Tracheostomy Tubes

infants with tracheostomy tubes

You Asked, We Listened

One of our more popular courses, Breathe Baby, Breathe: Developmental Interventions for Infants with Tracheostomy Tubes is now available as an on-demand course. Recorded from a live webinar in September 2023, presenter Holly Schifsky, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC, CBIS, takes a deep dive into the world of trachs and vents within the infant population. 

Further your understanding of tracheostomy tubes in infants during this dynamic course, now available for you to take at your convenience – anytime, anywhere. This course is relevant to not only NICU therapists, but also therapists working in settings such as the PICU, transitional pediatric care, early intervention, in-home therapy, and outpatient clinics. Therapists will leave this on-demand course with fresh insights, higher confidence, and must-know techniques.

Expand Your Knowledge and Build Confidence When Treating Infants with Tracheostomy Tubes

This highly focused topic is expertly covered by Schifsky, making you feel more confident and knowledgeable on how to safely handle vents and tubes in infants up to 12 months corrected gestational age. You’ll problem solve during the expanded lecture/lab section devoted to infants with tracheostomy tubes that includes oral motor, feeding interventions, postural control, manual cough facilitation, positioning/handling, integrating use of a one-way valve into treatment, weaning respiratory support, and durable medical equipment recommendations for infant/family in preparation for home discharge.

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It

Check out just some of the testimonials from therapists who have already completed and gained so much from this course:

“Holly is an expert on this topic, skilled presenter, and able to answer participant questions effectively. She presented a plethora of evidence from literature and her own practice which made her presentation both interesting and robust.”

“This is an amazing course. The reference list is extensive and a wonderful resource. Holly is very knowledgeable and provides practical strategies you can use right away! She answers questions effectively and is so willing to share her expertise. I would definitely take another course with her!”

“This is yet another amazing course from Holly Schifsky with invaluable information in working with infants with tracheostomy tubes. I highly recommend it to all therapists working with this population!”

The course includes access to all downloadable handout materials for up to one year, and participants will earn 8.5 contact hours (0.85 CEUs) upon completion. Registration is now open!

Questions? Contact our office at or call 800-487-6530.

Record Attendance at ERI’s Therapies in the School 24th Annual Conference-2023!

THANK YOU to everyone who attended Therapies in the School 24th Annual Conference on November 16 and 17, 2023! It was our largest conference ever, with more than 500 therapists (from 30 different states and parts of Canada) in virtual attendance on Zoom! 

This year’s speakers and attendees brought an energy and enthusiasm to our annual 2-day event that has renewed our spirt and ignited our commitment to provide exceptional educational content for the providers who strive to share that excellence with their students. Improving outcomes, safeguarding mental health, and honoring each student’s unique abilities is at the center of what we do and we’re so proud to work amongst this community of attendees and speakers!

It was inspiring to watch and join in on the extraordinary amount of dynamic, interactive dialogue and the flow of sharing intervention ideas that were taking place within the Whova app, which will remain accessible to you through February 17, 2024!  And don’t forget, the discussion also continues after the conference in our Therapies in the School Discussion Group on Facebook – check it out! 

We really had an amazing speaker line-up this year! Some conference highlights include: 

Understanding and Adopting Neurodiversity-Affirming Practice in School-Based TherapiesKelly Mahler, OTD, OTR/L & Judy Endow, MSW, LCSW. This session was so exciting-there was so much activity in the live chat and passion for “making the shift.”


Once again this year, ERI’s 16-year veteran presenter and yoga instructor, Anne Buckley-Reen, OTR, RYT, kicked-off Day 2 of the conference with a relaxing, virtual yoga session-it was great to start the day relaxed and re-energized!

Harnessing Contemporary Motor Learning: Ensuring Success in School and BeyondKim Wynarczuk, PT, DPT, PhD, MPH and Jennifer Elinich, PT, DPT.  This informative session discussed the many updates in evidence related to motor control, motor learning & neuroplasticity and how it can be applied to school-based therapy practice.

Diving Deeper, Dispelling Myths and Driving Outcomes for Students with ADHD with Lori Flynn, MS, OTR/L was our most attended session of the Conference, providing our school-based therapy attendees with robust, evidence-based resources to improve classroom participation and performance in students with ADHD.

We loved seeing so much engagement on social media during the Conference! We awarded several prizes to contest winners, including Beth Tremblay, an OTR from NY, who won a FREE 2-Day registration to next year’s Therapies in the School Conference 25th Annual Conference-2024 for sharing a “clinical pearl” on social media:

“So many pearls…but the reminder that ’Every interaction is an intervention’ is so true, with the children we work with, our colleagues and our families.”

We hope that attending Therapies in the School 24th Annual Conference-2023 helped to renew your passion for school-based therapy, and provided you with new tools and strategies that you can use right away to improve learning outcomes for your students.

Perhaps you will implement a strategy that will help put your favorite take-aways from the Conference into action. Will it be an “Every interaction is an intervention” sticky note on the office door?  A flow-chart to help with difficult conversations for an upcoming IEP? Or a calendar reminder to dig deeper into the checklists from the ADHD session? What works for you to keep your newly gained knowledge top-of-mind as you move through the school year? 

Stay tuned for access to on-demand recordings of the conference, coming to you soon in early 2024!

And, please save the date for next year’s Therapies in the School 25th Annual Conference, set for November 21 and 22, 2024!

Neurodiversity-Affirming Practices in Therapy


neurodiversity affirming practices in therapy

Neurodiversity-affirming practices in therapy embrace neurodiversity, which concerns how brains function. It’s about understanding that conditions like autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia are natural differences. Neurodiversity-affirming practices respect these differences and want to help people live their best lives based on their strengths and choices. 

Neurodiversity-affirming practices value and respect the differences in how our brains work. Neurodiversity-affirming therapy embraces these differences as natural variations. The goal is to help people with these differences live authentic lives by embracing their strengths and fostering autonomy. 

What It Means to Be Neurodivergent

Being neurodivergent means that your brain operates differently from what is deemed typical. For instance, some people might have autism or ADHD, meaning their brains process information and emotions differently from the norm. The term “neurodivergent” acknowledges these differences instead of suggesting they should change. 

Some people with mental health conditions may not identify with the neurodivergent label, but it is becoming a popular umbrella term that acknowledges the diversity of human brain functions. 

Some examples of conditions or characteristics that fall under the neurodivergent umbrella include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: Autism is a developmental disability with genetic links. Individuals with autism learn differently and experience the world in a unique way due in part to differences in communication, behavior and emotional regulation and sensory processing abilities. These differences can contribute to strengths in multiple areas, such as gaining in-depth knowledge, maintaining routine and structure, and offering important sensory insights about an experience.
  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD brings challenges with executive functioning, including difficulty focusing and inhibiting impulses. People with ADHD might struggle to stay focused for a long time. They often have many creative and innovative thoughts. Their unique cognitive processing can lead to unconventional solutions and fresh perspectives.
  • Dyslexia: Dyslexia typically calls for specialized instruction in reading and spelling, but having dyslexia may mean individuals are more likely to adapt towards strengths in perceptual problem solving.
  • Sensory processing differences: Some individuals who are neurodivergent have sensory processing differences in how they experience sensory stimuli — like touch, sound, light, or movement. They might be more sensitive to certain sensations or seek out intense sensory experiences for comfort and regulation. 
  • Intellectual disabilities: People with intellectual disabilities have variations in cognitive functioning. These differences mean learning at a different pace than their peers. Individuals with intellectual disabilities benefit from strengths-based approaches to learning and participation in daily life activities. Provided with appropriate supports, their talents and unique skills shine through and allow meaningful, authentic engagement in daily life.
  • Giftedness: Some individuals have cognitive abilities that transcend the norm. Their exceptional talents span intellectual, creative, artistic or leadership domains. These abilities may come with challenges related to asynchronous development and intense sensitivities, making daily life more challenging.
  • Anxiety and mood disorders: Someone with anxiety or a mood disorder might have chemical imbalances in the brain and other processing differences that impact how they interpret events and emotions. 

neurodiversity and therapy

Neurodiversity and Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology

Therapy aligns with neurodiversity-affirming principles in important ways. It involves recognizing and respecting the diverse ways individuals’ brains function and tailoring therapy to their strengths and preferences. This approach emphasizes empowerment, inclusion and promoting meaningful participation in daily activities for neurodivergent individuals.

Neurodiversity-affirming therapy is centered around embracing the natural diversity in neurological functioning, nurturing strengths and catering to individual preferences. This approach in neurodiversity-affirming therapy aims for inclusivity and empowerment, fostering a supportive environment for diverse neurological experiences.

Respect for Neurodiversity

Therapy practitioners are neurodiversity-affirming when they treat their clients with respect for their neurodivergent identities. They recognize that every person’s experiences and strengths are one-of-a-kind. 

Strengths-Based Approach

Instead of focusing on weaknesses, neurodiversity-affirming practices emphasize finding and nurturing a person’s strengths. This helps clients improve their skills for daily tasks, reach their goals, and protect their mental health. 

Empowerment and Autonomy

When therapy practitioners embrace neurodiversity-affirming practices with clients, they create authentic goals that truly match what the client wants. Therapy interventions help people have more control over their lives and make choices that align with their values and priorities. 

Cultural Competence

Neurodiversity-affirming therapy practitioners understand the importance of respecting diverse cultures and experiences. They also recognize the connections between neurodiversity, race, gender and financial status. 

Environmental Considerations

Neurodiversity-affirming practices take into account the physical and social environments where people live, work, and play. Therapy practitioners can adapt and modify the environment to better meet individuals’ sensory, communication, physical and emotional regulation needs.  


Neurodiversity-affirming therapy involves teamwork, including working with families, caregivers, teachers and other experts. This helps create a strong and supportive network for the individual. 

Education and Advocacy

Neurodiversity-affirming therapy practitioners teach clients, families and communities about neurodiversity to foster greater acceptance and appreciation for individual differences. Advocacy includes promoting inclusive practices in schools, workplaces and other settings.

How Can Therapists Be Neurodivergence Affirming? 

Integrating neurodiversity-affirming principles as a therapist means valuing how people’s brains differ, appreciating their strengths and helping them have fulfilling lives. Embracing neurodiversity-affirming practices involves recognizing and valuing the unique strengths and perspectives of individuals with neurodivergence.

Neurodiversity-affirming therapy promotes inclusivity and empowerment by tailoring support to individual needs and fostering a deeper understanding of diverse neurological experiences. Here’s what you can do to promote neurodivergent-affirming therapy:

  • Cultivate a respectful attitude: Treat every client respectfully about their neurodivergent identity. Avoid pathologizing language and instead use strengths-based language that focuses on individual capabilities.
  • Establish individualized goals following strengths-based assessment: Focus on strengths and interests when assessing. Set goals together that match their values and priorities, building on their strengths and preferences.
  • Recognize sensory preferences: Create a sensory-friendly environment considering sensory sensitivities and needs. Offer ways to manage too much sensory input or to get more of desired input.
  • Accommodate communication needs: Accept and respect all modes of communication. Embrace, model and support augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in all types of daily activities. 
  • Provide choice and autonomy: Offer clients choices in therapeutic activities, approaches and interventions. Empower clients to take part in decision-making and planning their therapy journey.
  • Use special interests: Incorporate special interests to add meaning and support engagement in therapy. Recognize that special interests can provide opportunities for in-depth learning, skill development, and meaningful connection. 
  • Support life skills in day-to-day activities: Adapt and modify activities and the individual’s surroundings to boost independence and autonomy with self-care, leisure, work, and social participation. 
  • Advocate for inclusion: Work with teachers, bosses and community groups to make spaces and events inclusive for neurodivergent individuals. Advocate for reasonable accommodations to ensure access to education, employment and community resources.
  • Educate and empower: Teach clients, families and caregivers about neurodiversity to build awareness and acceptance. Provide resources that empower clients to advocate for themselves and their needs.
  • Reflect and adapt: Reflect on your practice and seek client feedback to improve your approach. Stay informed about evolving research and best practices in neurodiversity-affirming care.
  • Foster cultural competence and intersectionality: Know that neurodivergent individuals have diverse cultures and backgrounds. Tailor your approach to respect their unique intersectional experiences.
  • Engage in continuous learning: Stay updated on new research, therapy techniques and technology in neurodiversity. Improve your skills through training to better support neurodivergent individuals. 
Become Neurodiversity Affirming With ERI Courses

Become Neurodiversity Affirming With ERI Courses

Embracing neurodiversity is key to creating a more inclusive and compassionate society. To learn how to make a difference, consider enrolling in Education Resources Inc. courses, which provide valuable insights and strategies for becoming more neurodiversity-affirming. 

When you understand and value each person’s unique experiences, you can provide helpful support and empower them. Join us at ERI to further your knowledge and skills and contribute to a world that values and uplifts the diverse strengths of all individuals. Contact us for more information on our continuing education courses today.

Announcing Recipients of the Annual ERI Scholarship and Award for School Therapists 2023

The countdown to Therapies in the School Conference is on!

scholarship therapistAs we finalize the finishing touches for this year’s exciting conference, we want to take a moment to announce this year’s award winners of the annual ERI Scholarship and Award for New to School-Based Practice.

We received many noteworthy nominations and it was difficult to choose a winner among the many talented and dedicated therapists. We are thrilled to announce the following recipients as this year’s winners:

Scholarship for Therapist New to School-Based Practice:

Congratulations are in order for Brielle Mayes! This award is meant to celebrate and support an emerging leader who is new to the field of school-based therapy. It is never easy to begin practicing in a new area and we really admire those who persevere and provide quality care despite the challenges they might encounter during those first few years. 

Brielle began her school-based career in the middle of the pandemic and during extended school year in the summer of 2021. Despite the hurdles that extended school year and a global pandemic presented, she has whole-heartedly embraced this setting and shown dedication to advancing her knowledge in the service of her students.

She has long enjoyed being in an educational setting, both as a child herself and during her undergraduate and graduate courses and that love of school and learning shines through when you talk with her. She speaks excitedly about being fully invested in her district community, naming parent conferences, back to school night, staff in services and school events as opportunities to foster more connection between therapy and home. She is passionate about advocating for her students’ best interests, ensuring free and appropriate education is in place and adhering to educational code and law. Speaking of advocacy, she successfully approached the school board in her district to win funding for a sensory room to offer students tools they needed to regulate. What an important and impressive achievement for any therapist, let alone a new-to-schools therapist!

Scholarship for Excellence in Creative School-Based Therapy:

 We’re thrilled to recognize Shelly Weakly! Our awardee was nominated by a colleague, who values her mentorship and support and who wanted to celebrate this therapist’s exemplary demonstration of collaboration, leadership and ingenuity. For over 25 years, this therapist has served an Illinois school district consisting of 25 schools and aside from participating in her normal therapy responsibilities, she has also carved out time to create a unique piece of therapy equipment for her students.

So, how did this awardee’s collaboration, leadership and ingenuity skills come to life in a creative way? Working together with a high school robotics team, she led the charge in modifying a commercially available motorized kiddie car so that it would serve students with mobility challenges. By providing lateral trunk and head supports, safety straps, and adapting the toggle controls for the car, she cleared the way for increased mobility, play and fun for her students. Kids can use the car during PE, at recess and other times during the day. Since early mobility is so important for exploration and learning across multiple domains, this car is offering the keys to success for many students. After several months in operation, the car is still going strong. Well done to her and her co-creators!

Congratulations to Shelly and Brielle! Thank you for your passion, hard work and innovative ideas that help to push our profession forward. 

Both women will receive a scholarship of free tuition to this year’s 24th Annual Therapies in the School Conference, and will be recognized at the event. This is a virtual conference. 


It’s not too late to register…

school based therapist for children needing services


Registration is still open for this year’s Therapies in the School Conference. For 23 years, ERI has been committed to renewing your passion for school-based therapy and providing you with tools and strategies you can use right away to improve learning outcomes for your students. This year is no different! Join the ERI atmosphere that promotes therapists building connections, sharing ideas, and actively learning. We can’t wait!

Questions? Contact our office at 800-487-6530 or 

Celebrating International Neonatal Therapy Week – PLUS Special Offers Just For You!

Neonatal therapy NICU NANT

We’re celebrating Neonatal Therapists all this week!

September 17 – 23, 2023 marks the kick off of International Neonatal Therapy Week (INTW) and we’re excited to celebrate! Started many years ago by the National Association of Neonatal Therapists (NANT), this week honors occupational therapists (OTs), physical therapists (PTs) and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who specialize in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Thank you to this group of highly professional, passionate, and driven caregivers around the globe who dedicate their time to the smallest of patients resulting in a lifetime of positive change.

premature baby NICU infant

As professional partners with NANT, we know that neonatal therapists have an emotional connection to their profession and are always looking for ways to improve upon their practice. To help neonatal therapists meet their professional goals, ERI offers exceptional neonatal continuing education courses taught by renowned faculty.

Special offers all week long!

For one week only ERI is offering $30 off any webinar, live in-person or on demand NICU-related course. Use coupon code INTW2023 at checkout to redeem this offer. This offer is valid through September 23, 2023.  Are you a NANT member? Keep your eyes peeled for a special promotion from NANT coming this week 👀

NICU courses designed to meet your specific needs

Our courses teach the latest techniques and treatments that can be immediately applied to practice helping therapists improve outcomes in the NICU and beyond. The CEU hours from our evidence-based NICU courses count toward the required 40 hours of education for certification offered by the Neonatal Therapy National Certification Board (NTNCB).

If you’re a neonatal therapist looking to grow your career and improve outcomes, register for one of our life-changing neonatal courses which will remind you why you became a therapist and why you love what you do.  

Questions? Contact our office at 800-487-6530 or email