Pediatric Occupational Therapy
The focus of Occupational Therapy is to facilitate functional participation in activities of daily life such as self-care, play/leisure, and work – the “occupations” of living. Our skilled Occupational Therapists work with children and their families to facilitate developmentally appropriate occupational tasks. To do this we work on improving:
- Fine Motor Skills
- Visual/Perceptual Skills
- Attending Behaviors
- Play Skills
- Eye Hand Coordination
- Social Skills
- Emotional Regulation
- Sensory Processing
- Core Development
- Balance and Coordination
- ASD/Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Motor Planning
- Feeding/Oral Motor skills
Self-Care involves being able to perform daily activities that are appropriate to a child’s developmental age, such as feeding, dressing and hygiene. Occupational Therapists are skilled in teaching these skills using modifications and techniques to increase independence.
Visual/perceptual skills combine to make sense of the visual space around us. This includes the eye’s ability to track and take in information as well as the brain’s ability to make sense of that information. Visual/perceptual skills allow us to see in three dimensions, define the space around us, and use our hands and eyes together for function. Occupational therapists often receive advanced training allowing them to assess and facilitate the development of these skills.
Motor Planning is the ability of the brain to plan a movement and send a message to the muscles to execute the action. Since problems in this area can make learning new motor skills challenging, children with motor planning difficulties are often stubborn about trying a new activity. The can also become frustrated by the new activity, or refuse to participate altogether. Occupational Therapists’ knowledge of the brain and muscle functions allow them to develop programs that can support the development of body awareness and the ability to sequence motor skills.
Emotional Regulation: Occupational Therapists can also address difficulties with emotional regulation. This is the ability that allows one to self-calm during emotional and stressful situations. In children, emotional regulation issues are often seen as ‘behavior problems’. All children have tantrums from time to time, but children with emotional regulation issues often tantrum more frequently and for a longer time than their peers and become easily upset without a clear cause. OTs problem-solve with parents to improve their child’s self-calming abilities by working on sensory-based issues underlying emotional dysregulation, and providing parents with strategies to handle and prevent excessive emotional outbursts.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) has been estimated to affect 1 in 20 children in a way that disrupts their daily function and family dynamics. This disorder can manifest itself in different ways. Children with SPD sometimes have difficulty wearing certain clothing, are unable to tolerate loud noises, or can’t pick out relevant information from extraneous details in the environment. This can result in problems or behaviors that distract a child from his or her ‘normal’ routine. If a child is always anticipating a loud noise or being distracted by unimportant details, he or she will have difficulty listening to or processing specific directions. Children with SPD often spend much of their time in a state of fight-or-flight. Approaching behavior and learning problems from a sensory processing perspective, Occupational Therapists can offer insights into behavior that may seem mystifying to parents and caregivers, and can work with them to develop helpful approaches to the challenges faced by kids with SPD.
At Therapy Solutions for Kids, we use a variety of therapeutic strategies and theories including but not limited to:
- Sensory Integration(SI)
- Sensory Processing (SPD)
- Therapeutic Listening®
- Kawar Vestibular-Ocular Protocol (Astronaut Training)
- Therapressure Protocol (Wilbarger Brushing Protocol)
- Handwriting Without Tears® (HWT)
- Therapy Intensives
- Postural/Core Development