Pediatric Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy (OT) for children with sensory issues helps kids improve school performance, master daily skills, develop fine motor skills, improve hand-eye coordination, and learn positive behaviors. Pediatric OT boosts a child’s self-confidence by increasing their independence and autonomy. The bottom line: occupational therapy empowers children.
Occupational Therapy Evaluations
There are many reasons why a child might be referred to a pediatric occupational therapist:
· Delays with fine motor skills
· Developmental delays
· Emotional or behavioral dysregulation
· Hand-writing skills
· Learning differences
· Self-care skills
· Sensory integration
· Visual perceptual and processing skills
We begin each child’s pediatric occupational therapy services with an intake interview and the completion of checklists for sensory processing, behavior, executive function, and/or self-care. We then do an evaluation and use the results to develop a family centered Plan of Care and establish pediatric occupational therapy goals.
Occupational Therapy Treatments
Occupational Therapy for Sensory Issues
The goal of pediatric occupational therapy sensory integration is to help the child feel more comfortable, secure, and able to focus. Fun activities like bouncing on exercise balls, playing in a ball pit, jumping on a trampoline, and spinning in a cuddle swing provide children with just the right amount of stimulation.
Other activities for children with sensory issues include brushing, sensory gym and sensory routine
Brushing helps children who find “normal” touch – the feeling of clothing on the skin, walking barefoot, etc. – unpleasant. The techniques used by our pediatric OTs are also taught to parents. That is because the most benefit comes from experiencing sensory stimulation several times each day in the various settings a child may routinely experience.
As mentioned above, jumping, spinning, swinging, and crashing into soft, padded surfaces stimulates the child’s senses. A sensory gym provides many opportunities for the child to feel different sensations.
A pediatric occupational therapy care plan that includes a sensory routine is designed to give the child a custom regimen of activities. The activities are chosen to meet the child’s unique needs. For example, sensory activities that introduce weight and contact will help the child feel grounded. These activities and others are compiled into a sensory routine that is used to continue occupational therapy at home.
Life Skills Occupational Therapy
Life skills include daily activities such as washing, dressing, and feeding. Life skills also include tasks like traveling, shopping, and school or community participation. Our pediatric occupational therapy services include a unique and holistic blend of activities to improve independence and promote quality of life.
The focus of therapy depends upon each child’s needs. Life skills occupational therapy is classified in three basic dimensions:
· Cognitive skills: including problem solving, creative thinking, and critical thinking
· Emotional skills: including self-awareness and self-management
· Interpersonal skills: including relationship skills, communication, and social awareness
Our family centered approach reinforces the skills learned through our OT services in varied environments – at home, the playground, the market, the library, etc.
Early intervention is key to preventing adverse behaviors. That is why our pediatric occupational therapy clinic focuses on delivering age-appropriate, personal care plans for children. Our desire is that children who graduate from our pediatric occupational therapy services grow into adolescents and adults who:
· Understand themselves
· Reach personal satisfaction
· Live life better
· Achieve their goals