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Physiotherapist working with little girl in rehabilitation center

Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Pediatric occupational therapy focuses on helping children develop the skills they need to grow into functional, independent adults. Physical impairment, injuries & a host of other issues are treated.   We realize that a child’s job or occupation is to play, be independent in self-care activities, and succeed in school.  Our Occupational therapists treat children who have disorders that may inhibit their ability to be successful in these areas.  Our occupational therapists will address this by teaching fine motor activities (how to hold and manipulate objects), visual-motor activities (eye-hand coordination), activities to increase upper body strength and endurance, teach the body how to appropriately respond to sensory information, and self-care skills.

What is OT for kids?

Occupational Therapists can help with 3 areas of your child’s life

We look at how your child’s body is working. This includes their sensory processing skills, which are related to their ability to process what is happening around and inside them, react in an appropriate manner, and successfully participate in their daily routine. We also assess their motor skills, including fine motor skills and dexterity, postural stability, functional visual skills, coordination, balance, strength, and range of motion

We look at the daily tasks your child is involved in and how we can help your child be more successful. A child’s daily routine typically includes eating, sleeping, toileting, playing, dressing, bathing, grooming, and hygiene, socializing, schoolwork, and interacting with family members and peers. We can assess where the difficulty is occurring and give strategies and training in the skill areas to increase success.

Finally, we can look at what adaptations we can give you to help your child function within those activities and their environment. This may include orthotics, environmental adaptations, equipment, adaptive toys, weighted blankets, and other items. Our goal is to meet your goals for your child.

How Can We Help Your Child?

We are guided by your goals and work as a team with you to increase your and your child’s satisfaction and participation in your daily routine. We promote family-centered treatment, as we are aware that you and your children function as a unit. We will support you through home programming, individual, and parent-child sessions. We are here to give you the tools to support your child’s progress at home as well as in the clinic.

Not only will we give you a family-centered plan, but we will also give you an individualized treatment plan that fits your child’s needs. We will complete a thorough assessment of your child and gather specific information from you regarding their needs. We will work closely with their care team, as we are strong believers in a holistic approach to care and partnering with other practices to provide a comprehensive approach to care.

The areas we can help your child with include but are not limited to feeding, handwriting, fine motor skill development, motor planning, coordination, balance, strength, functional visual skills, regulation, attention, behavioral difficulties, and daily living skills. We want to see your child be an active part of their day in a way that is safe and enjoyable.

Understanding Sensory Integration

Sensory integration seems like such an unknown concept that gets thrown around. Let us break it down for you. Sensory integration is the way you process what is happening in and around you and how you then respond to it. The way your body processes input is through the following systems: visual, auditory, olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), tactile (touch), vestibular (sense of head movement in space), proprioceptive (sensations from muscles and joints of the body), and interoception (understanding

what is happening inside your body). These are all a part of your central nervous system, which is the brain and body’s communication network. These systems may be impaired and present as either being over-responsive, under-responsive or a mixture of the two. This could include being overly sensitive to tooth brushing, bathing, or foods. This could also include being consistently on the move, fidgeting, highly emotionally reactive, or unable to remain on task. When your sensory processing system is not functioning correctly it can lead to problems with your daily routine as well. This is when it may be time to be assessed. We all have some aspects of our sensory processing system, that are a little different. Some of us may not like the sound of how someone chews, may not like loud environments, or like to be touched, or maybe picky eaters. If you feel that sensory processing is interfering with eating, sleeping, dressing, bathing, grooming, and hygiene, playing, completing schoolwork, socialization, or any other area of your day, it may be time to have a sensory assessment completed.

Fine Motor Developmental Checklist (0-8 years old)

·Birth to 5 months

  • Grasp reflexively
  • Swiping at toys
  • Bringing hands to mouth
  • Reaching with more control using 2 arms
  • Emerging reaching with one arm
  • Emerging transferring toys
  • Emerging crossing midline visually, tracking and fixating with eyes

· 6-12 months

  • Visually guided reach
  • Transferring toys from hand to hand
  • Finger feeding begins to develop (6 months)
  • Shakes and bangs toys
  • Visual control fully developed by 6 months
  • Beginning to grasp using fingertips
  • Pushing, pulling, squeezing, and rotating
  • Removing socks
  • Tries to feed with a spoon with little success
  • Improved finger feeding and cup drinking
  • Pincer grasp developing
  • Begins to drop items into a container

· 1 to 2 years

  • Stacking 2-3 blocks
  • Turns 2-3 pages
  • Stacking rings
  • Engages with a shape sort
  • Scribbling
  • Bringing a spoon to their mouth
  • Drinking from a cup

· 2-3 years

  • Stringing large beads
  • Prewriting skills are developing with imitation of strokes and a circle
  • Holds crayon with thumb and fingers rather than a fist
  • Snips with scissors
  • Hand dominance begins to develop
  • Able to eat without assistance
  • Buttoning and unbuttoning large buttons

· 3-4 years

  • Stacking blocks into a tall tower
  • Copies circle and imitate the cross
  • Uses non-dominant hand to help with tasks
  • Modified tripod grasp develops

· 4-5 years

  • Crossing midline begins to develop and continues to develop through 8 years
  • Writes name
  • Cuts a line
  • Begins to write numbers
  • Established handedness
  • Copies letters
  • Dresses and undresses on their own

· 5-8 years

  • Completing all fasteners
  • Uses a tripod grasp
  • Cuts out simple shapes
  • Pastes and glues
  • Can draw simple pictures
  • Demonstrating controlled pencil movement
  • Writing endurance is developing

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