Education Center

Applying the OPTIMAL: We believe you can do this! Webinar

ANPT Practice Committee Hot Topic Webinar by Mike Studer, PT, sDPT, MHS, MCS, CEEA, CWT, CSST, FAPTA: 

Time has never been something that we could afford to waste in rehabilitation. From length of stay to number of visits, and finally to the minutes we spend with our patients - we need to use time effectively for our patients' benefit. Applying the OPTIMAL motor learning theory (Optimizing Performance Through Intrinsic Motivation and Attention for Learning) can help all of us achieve higher levels of rehabilitative effectiveness and promote higher levels of engagement, intensity, and ultimately positive change. In this course, we will review, but most importantly demonstrate strategies to apply the three pillars of this approach (e.g. Autonomy, Enhanced Expectancies, and External Focus) to patient handling, and session management. No matter your familiarity with OPTIMAL, this course will focus on applications, such that you develop working knowledge to help you be the best therapist that you can be, as you extend a helping mind, hand, and spirit in order that your patients ultimately need less of all three.

Course Objectives:

1. Describe the three pillars of the OPTIMAL theory, and identify two ways of applying each with their next patient encounter. 
2. Describe how to apply the OPTIMAL theory to reduce gait deviations in a person recovering from a new lesion to the CNS. 
3. Demonstrate how to offer more autonomy for people with acute, degenerative, and chronic rehabilitative needs.

Webinar Recorded December 2021

Mike Studer


Mike Studer, PT, DPT, MHS, NCS, CEEAA, CWT, CSST, FAPTA received his physical therapy degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1991. He subsequently received his post-professional MHS degree in physical therapy with neurologic emphasis from the University of Indianapolis and his DPT from the College of St. Scholastica. He has been board-certified as a Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy since 1995 and has been designated a Certified Exercise Expert in the Aging Adult (CEEAA) by the Academy of Geriatric PT since 2011. Mike has served as the Vice-president of the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy of the APTA and has been the chair and vice-chair of several special interest groups at the national level in each of the Academies of Neurologic and Geriatric PT, including Balance and Falls, Stroke, and the Practice Committee in neurology. He is the founder of two successful outpatient rehabilitation operations in Oregon, Northwest Rehabilitation Associates, and most recently Spark Rehabilitation and Wellness in Bend, Oregon. Dr. Studer has presented courses in all 50 states in the US, 4 continents and 9 different countries. He has published over 30 articles on neurologic and geriatric rehabilitation, as well as several book chapters on wellness, stroke, cognition, PD, and preventative care. Mike's clinical practice is now shared between Las Vegas, NV and Oregon. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Oregon State University DPT program, leading their Motor Control Across the Lifespan course and is regularly a guest lecturer on a national and international basis at several universities and national meetings on the topics of stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, balance, motor control, motor learning, cognitive impairment and dual task rehabilitation. Dr. Studer was awarded the 2011 Clinician of the Year by the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy – a section of the American Physical Therapy Association – and in 2014 the same award by the Academy of Geriatric PT – the first to receive this national distinction from each entity. In 2020, he provided a widely-viewed TEDx talk on neuroplasticity and was awarded the Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA designation, FAPTA.


Applying the OPTIMAL Webinar
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Webinar presented live December 7, 2021
Webinar Evaluation
9 Questions
9 Questions Completion of this evaluation will help with the development of additional courses.
Post Test
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  7/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  7/10 points to pass Must receive a 70% pass rate to receive the CEU/Contact hour certificate
Certificate of Completion/CEU
0.10 Contact Hours/CEU credits  |  Certificate available
0.10 Contact Hours/CEU credits  |  Certificate available