Pediatric Occupational Therapy
What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy addresses a child’s ability to function in the everyday tasks that someone of the same age typically encounters. For younger children, this may be learning to play with toddler toys, drinking from a bottle, and rolling over. A pre-school child’s daily tasks are about learning to dress themselves, feed themselves, and play with other children. As children get older, occupational therapy ensures that they can function as independently as possible in all their self care tasks as well as during the school day. OT may address a child’s needs through developmental activities, fine motor tasks, sensory integration, visual motor tasks, gross motor play, or other skill based tasks.
Our Pediatric Occupational Therapists (OT) work with children and infants who have problems in cognitive functions, movement and coordination. These young patients could be living with a wide range of conditions such as neurological complaints, orthopedic injuries, spinal cord damage, muscular dystrophy or other motor disorders.
The work of pediatric occupational therapist involves analyzing and treating skeletal, neuromuscular or cognitive restrictions of their young patients and helping them in developing their interaction and communication skills, refinement of motor skills and educating them in self-care abilities, especially for the older children. Most of the patients are too young to understand verbal instructions, so games are often incorporated in the therapy. This will help to engage their interest and cooperation. It is imperative to have the commitment and support of the family as well.
Occupational Therapy Treatments
Occupational therapists address these delays during treatment utilizing play activities where the child may not realize they are working on skill development. As occupational therapists, our goal in all treatments is to find meaningful and purposeful activities that motivate the child to reach their full potential.
Our sensory system is the way we perceive the world around us, and if our sensory system is not working properly it affects us negatively. Anyone can have sensory dysfunction. Our senses include touch, hearing sight, taste, smell, gravity, joint and muscle movement. Sensory Integration is a neurological process that provides us with the ability to combine all of these senses and enables us to appropriately interact with people and the environment. Sensory integration is a part of normal development for most children through plan and everyday activities. In children who lack the integration, we see development delays, learning deficits, feeding difficulties and behavior problems. These deficits may occur due to their inability to process sensory information appropriately. Sensory integration is frequently utilized as a treatment for sensory issues in child autism.
Sensory integration therapy is careful to not provide children with more sensory stimulation than they can cope with. The therapist looks for signs of distress. Children with lower sensitivity (hyposensitivity) may be exposed to strong sensations, while children with heightened sensitivity (hypersensitivity) may be exposed to quieter activities. Treats and rewards may be used to encourage children to tolerate activities they would normally avoid.
Seven “sub-areas” under the term visual perception include visual discrimination, visual memory, visual spatial relationships, visual form constancy, visual sequential memory, visual figure ground and visual closure. It is important to note that visual perceptual deficits cannot be remediated with practice. Therapeutic activities are designed to help children compensate for visual perceptual deficits and assist them to capitalize on their visual perceptual strengths. If you suspect your child has a visual perceptual processing problem, you should request an evaluation by a trained professional such as an occupational therapist.
Assessments include the non-motor test of visual perceptual skills, motor free visual perception test and Beery Test of visual perception (a sub-test of the Beery Test of Visual Motor Integration).
The PPHC Approach
The commitment of PPHC is to provide high quality, outcome-oriented healthcare to patients requiring specialized pediatric rehabilitation services in the home. This commitment is shared by every employee of PPHC as we strive daily for clinical excellence, high standards of patient care, partnerships with our families and communities, and ongoing therapy education.
By providing Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy we are able to provide a valuable multidisciplinary approach that serves all the child’s therapy needs. In addition, consistent collaboration with doctors and community healthcare providers widen our ability to care for the children further. Frequent communication and cooperation with a child’s school is also taken into consideration as we provide the most thorough care possible to meet each child’s goals.
Our hope is to set goals with the patient and family and do everything we can to help a child reach their personal best. The family is a key component in optimizing therapy outcomes. We want all of our families to feel that they are involved and knowledgeable about the therapy and care their children are receiving, because help and follow through at home can make a world of difference in the effectiveness of therapy.
With caregiver collaboration and family centered treatment, we provide a level of excellence in therapy that we are proud to share with you.