Occupational Therapy

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Occupational therapy practitioners work with children and adolescents, their families and caregivers, teachers and outside agencies to promote independence in both occupations and activities that are meaningful to them through a habilitative or rehabilitative process.

 

Performance skills that are needed to participate in daily living tasks:

  • Fine Motor skills  (pinching, in-hand manipulation, writing)

  • Gross Motor skills  (bilateral motor coordination, seating and posture, jumping)

  • Visual Motor skills  (matching, copying and identifying shapes)

  • Sensory Regulation ( when children avoid loud noises, feeding issues, crashing and falling into things)

  • Behavioral Regulation  (modeling and coping strategies for child and family)

  • Cognitive functioning  (problem solving, attention and focus)

 

Recommended interventions are grounded in the therapist's understanding of typical development, the impact of the disability or illness, the environment in which the child engages in and the impairment of the child’s development, learning, play and performance in their daily tasks across all environments.

The primary occupations of both infants and toddlers are learning, playing and interacting with caregivers/peers. These interventions address developmental milestones such as:

  • Assisting in movement to sit, crawl, walk and transition

  • Addressing their ADL skills or activities of daily living such as feeding themself, getting dressed and bathed

  • Participating in age appropriate daily routines

  • Addressing oral motor movements necessary to chew, eat and drink

  • Learning to pay attention and follow simple instructions

  • Building social participation skills for taking turns, sharing, playing with peers, etc

  • Using toys and materials in both traditional and non-traditional ways 

  • Addressing how to reduce environmental stimuli to maintain appropriate regulation of their sensory system

 

The primary occupation changes slightly for older children and teens. These may include higher level life skills, forming and maintaining friendships and beginning to work on the transition to young adulthood. Interventions may still include areas mentioned above as well as:

  • Modifying education, environment and/or activities to support participation in their daily routine

  • Higher level executive functioning skills such as problem solving, insight and time management

  • Exploring, expanding on and engaging in social relationships

  • Encouraging increased independence with daily life tasks such as meal prep, laundry, and a daily routine

 

The occupational therapist can also work on additional services and interventions with children that may have had a serious illness or injury to provide medically based or rehabilitative services which are developmentally appropriate. These services can emphasize physical skills to improve:

  • Movement

  • Strength

  • Coordination

  • Adaptive skills and/or equipment

  • Environmental adaptations

 

Occupational therapists are also trained in psychosocial and mental health conditions that help address a child’s emotional and behavioral needs as they relate to their everyday needs across all environments. These strategies may include:

  • Dealing with frustration

  • Calming strategies to help defuse escalated behaviors

  • Managing impulsivity

  • Defusing anger

 

Additional techniques and interventions that our therapists are trained in include:

  • Advanced Therapeutic Listening providers

  • Feeding therapy

  • Myofascial Release

  • Visual-Vestibular Rehabilitation

  • Craniosacral Therapy