9 Contact Hours

Occupational, physical, and speech therapists play a crucial role in helping people who have experienced brain damage (ex. stroke, head injury, cerebral palsy), spinal cord injury, birth defects, or neurological disease, regain function. The success of each case is dependent on the therapist's ability to fully understand the nervous system. This is the first in a series of four modules offered to "refresh" each clinician's understanding of the human nervous system. This module provides an introduction to neuroscience followed by a comprehensive, but clinically relevant overview of the development of the nervous system and the basic structure and function of it's cells. It is recommended that you read each module of the series in order, to achieve maximum benefit.


Joel Desotelle, MS OTR/L

Joel is an occupational therapist who specializes in neurological disorders in children and adults. He received his Bachelors of Science (B.S) degree in occupational therapy from Keuka College (Keuka Park, NY) in 1995 and his post-graduate Masters of Science (M.S.) degree from Misericordia University (Dallas, PA) in 2010. He holds a post-graduate certificate in pediatrics from Misericordia University (2006) and has worked in a variety of settings from out-patient pediatrics to in-patient adults. Joel is an experienced author and instructor who has presented on a wide range of topics including stroke rehab, neuromuscular disorders, autism, sensory dysfunction, dementia, falls, and outcomes-based therapy.

Course Text (required): Neuroscience: Fundamentals for Rehabilitation, 3rd ed. (2007) written by Dr. Laurie Lundy-Ekman, PT, PhD. - Copyright 2007 Elsevier, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Audience: OT, PT

Skill Level: Intermediate

Contact Hours: 9

The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA

Teaching Methods: Course content includes the text, "Neuroscience: Fundamentals for Rehabilitation, 3rd ed. (2007)" written by Dr. Laurie Lundy-Ekman, PT, PhD with contributions by Lisa Stehno-Bittel, PT, PhD

Criteria for Passing: Each learner must complete all learning activities/handouts and pass a final exam to receive credit.

Course Objectives:

At the completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Identify the basic regions of the nervous system and its supporting vascular structures;
  2. Identify the structures of a neuron and its ability to transmit information throughout the human body;
  3. Describe at least four neurotransmitters and their function;
  4. Define neuroplasticity and describe why it is essential when the nervous system is damaged;
  5. Generally describe the formation of the nervous system from utero to infancy, and identify at least five conditions that can occur when something goes wrong.

Here is the course outline:

1. Introduction

Please read the introduction to provide you with important information and tips about your course.

2. Course Objectives - (Module 1) Neuroanatomy Refresher: Nervous System Basics

Course objectives

3. Coursework - (Module 1) Neuroanatomy Refresher: Nervous System Basics

Click this section to view your course materials.

4. Course Final and Survey - (Module 1) Neuroanatomy Refresher: Nervous System Basics

Click here to take your final exam. You must complete your coursework first to be able to take the exam.


The following certificates are awarded when the course is completed:

Certificate of Completion