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Professional Development


With 35 plus years of experience working with children and countless hours of continuing education, Irene Ingram, OTR/L has become an expert in the field of Occupational Therapy. Her ground-breaking research and specialized skills have made her a sought-after lecturer. Many practitioners from around the United States flock to hear her fresh ideas and concepts. 


She has developed research opportunities to advance the study of the autonomic nervous system's role in trauma, stress, healing, attention, creativity, and reflex maturation. She has also researched and developed specialized skills for treating the head and neck.

Annually, Irene serves on a team at the Avanti Research Camp in Minnesota. For the past three years, she has been a panel speaker.


1. intro NPE
2. eval NPE

The Heart of it All

Class Notes For Heart of IT All SCOTA '24

Upcoming Courses:


Emotion to Motion: Firing and Wiring Productive Relationships Among Senses, Motor Skills, and Function

This course focuses on developmental foundational systems of basic movement patterns that will provide therapists with a toolbox of techniques for treatment. These tools include tissue release techniques; suck, swallow, breathe program; Rhythmic Release and Restoration (RRR); and the Stepping Forward Program.


Development of this course emerged from an effort to remove barriers caused by our autonomic nervous system’s perception of safe versus unsafe state of arousal and that impact on movement, thought, and coordination. It will provide the therapist with hands on experience with these techniques and allow quick integration into their own therapy skills for evaluation and treatment. It uses recent research findings with a new twist to establish motor efficiency in all planes of movement.


This program presents evaluation of movement components and their ties to the autonomic nervous system and primitive reflex system through lecture, video examples, and lab experiences.



  • Present a background of the autonomic nervous system’s effect on the muscular skeletal system and sensory systems in reference to recruited patterns.

  • Identify clinical reasoning skills for evaluation of patterns of movement and progression of more mature patterns with reference to reflex development and emotion.

  • Demonstrate efficiency in techniques for integrating suck swallow breathe with rhythm and movement patterns.

  • Show efficiency in Rhythmic Release and Restoration (RRR) techniques for release of stress, and improved use of whole body.

  • Demonstrate efficiency in the Step Forward Program techniques for coordination of three planes of movement with senses and motor control.

  • Establish new treatment protocols for children by using movement to effect change with arousal issues, developmental problems, learning difficulties, sensory, reflex immaturity, and motor control issues.

  • Design diagnosis specific movement programs to support the child’s development in clinic sessions, home programs, and the classroom.


A Functional Neuromuscular Approach to Treatment of Oral Motor, Respiratory, and Postural Control of Head, Neck and Torso

This course is designed to establish a protocol for evaluating and treating oral motor, respiratory, emotion, and postural problems as a first step in viewing children with oral control, developmental, and sensory processing problems. Evaluation and treatment of these areas is essential for resolving structural problems that impair information from the cranial nerves, emotions, and senses.


These problems often occur with low muscle tone, difficult births, low vision, stress, excessive pressure/pull on the structural system, excessive positioning on the back, and falls. Training will be performed in using the foundation of breath, emotion, and oral for recognizing motor and sensory programs.



  • Describe the anatomical structures related to common symmetry issues neck/torso/cranial nerve problems.

  • Diagnose and treat oral motor, breath, sensory motor, and developmental problems related to early developmental issues.

  • Diagnose and treat sensory processing problems related to the neuromuscular and reflex issues.

  • Design integrated habilitation programs for the oral area, sensory motor, breath, emotion, and developmental areas.

  • Understand the effect of unresolved emotion on developmental skills. 

Advanced Integration Model (AIM) for Early Developmental Etiologies

Co-Speaker: Patricia Oetter, MA, OTR/L, FAOTA

While the current standards of pediatric assessment and treatment generally focus on a child’s observable behavior, the expression of dysfunction may have roots in earlier development. This course presents a model of development that begins at conception and goes through the birth process. The model supports therapists to identify the etiology of issues leading to familiar diagnoses presented in pediatric occupational therapy practice. These early problems may include stress in the pregnancy, cord wrap issues, genetics, nutrition, trauma, poor partnering in the birth process, drugs, induced labor, emergency C-section, prematurity, and embryonic development issues. Studying fetal development through the birth process can inform treatment planning that prioritizes early areas needing intervention.


Participants will learn how the child moves from innate mechanisms, to refinement, to integration and to skills with use of lecture, video, and have the opportunity to practice strategies discussed.



  • Describe key components of embryonic development, the birth process, and early infant development that impact developmental dysfunction and treatment planning.

  • Discuss the importance of addressing quality of life, membership, personal sense of competence and describe techniques for intervention.

  • Demonstrate techniques that move influence changes to innate mechanisms that lead to opening up refinement mechanisms, integration, and skill.

If you are interested in a speaking engagement or hosting a lecture,

please contact Irene directly at 843-332-3600 or by email.

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