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Fostering Joint Attention and Engagement in Children with Extensive Needs

Webinar Length (Hours):



Nicole McGrath, MEd


Fostering Joint Attention and Engagement in Children with Extensive Needs

Supporting Learners with Extensive Needs Series

Numerous studies have shown that engagement is an indicator of positive outcomes in early intervention and throughout learners’ educational experiences. Functional skills, including daily living activities, social competency, regulation, and functional communication, require the learner’s attention. In recent years, many providers have reported difficulty in engaging learners in activities and strategies during and beyond early intervention in both educational and targeted therapeutic settings. This 2-hour webinar is designed to guide occupational therapists and other pediatric professionals on the selection and implementation of strategies aimed at fostering engagement and joint attention. Implementing this process moves learners with extensive needs toward positive outcomes. Although this content is related to Supporting Extensive Needs: Structure and Visual Supports, it is also appropriate as a stand-alone course as well.

Although course content in this series is related, courses may be viewed together or separately. This course is also in the series: Structure and Visual Supports for Children with Extensive Needs.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Differentiate states of engagement using case studies presented.
  2. Identify known strategies for eliciting engagement at various states.
  3. Classify strategies to foster supported and coordinated engagement during play and structured sessions.

Course Information

  • Target Audience: intermediate- to advanced-level OTs, COTAs, educators, and other pediatric professionals
    Note: While many professionals may benefit from the course content, we can only guarantee acceptance of continuing education credit as described in the following CEU section.
  • Course Instructor: Nicole McGrath, MEd
  • View Agenda
  • CE Broker course code:  20-913308

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

AOTA-Approved Provider Program Sensational Brain LLC is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. PD activity ID# 04702. This distance-learning, independent format is offered at 0.2 CEUs, Intermediate Level, OT Service Delivery. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.


Nicole McGrath, MEd, in curriculum and instruction, has been working with children and families impacted by developmental, mental health, and learning differences in a variety of roles since 2005. She has a passion for creating intentional collaboration among home, school, and community settings to create lifelong systems of support. Incorporating a problem-solving approach focused on skill development and ongoing growth, she aims to honor existing and future needs, skills, and experiences of all individuals involved.

In her current role as a teacher consultant, she works with school districts to implement tiered intervention support through effective teaming and evidence-based practices. Nicole is certified to teach special education across a variety of needs. She has experience in the classroom with students impacted by autism spectrum disorder, behavioral and learning disabilities as well as other extensive needs. Over her 15-year teaching career, she has taught birth through middle school in local, center-based, and homebound programs. In each setting, she has been able to learn from a variety of talented educators, therapists, service providers, and families that allowed her to create supportive environments focused on functional and communication skills. Nicole is a Tier 1 trainer of content for the Statewide Autism Resources and Training project, and Tier 1 implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports through the Michigan Department of Education. She is also a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer.

Outside of work, you can find Nicole at one of her three sons’ sporting events with a bag of snacks and fidgets, outdoors in the summer, or under a blanket in the Michigan winter, probably listening to music or an audiobook on one earbud because she lost the other.


  • Financial: Nicole McGrath receives a speaking fee from Sensational Brain LLC.
  • Nonfinancial: No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

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