Child Doing Art Activity

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) facilitates individuals becoming more functionally independent. This may include daily activities such as self-cares (eating, dressing, toileting, hygiene); participating fully in the community, school, and social settings; school readiness skills (handwriting or focusing on schoolwork); and/or more advanced everyday tasks (meal preparation, household chores, using the phone).

 

For children, specifically, meeting developmental milestones is vital to accomplishing any of these responsibilities. OTs assist children to either gain or regain their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills, or modify the environment for their optimal success. OT enables kids to live life to its fullest.

View the tabs below for more details.

Areas addressed by our Occupational Therapists

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills generally refer to small movement patterns of the hands and fingers. This includes grasping a toy, hold a pencil or a marker, and bringing your hand to your mouth to eat. Fine motor skills also include using two hands together (bilateral integration) for activities such as cutting paper, opening containers, and clapping along to a song. Fine motor tasks continually improve throughout a child’s developmental progression and are needed to complete our everyday tasks throughout a lifespan.

Kids develop at different rates and have different areas of strengths and areas of growth. For guidelines, there are general milestones that meet up with various age ranges. During an OT evaluation, we complete a standardized assessment tool (such as the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales Ed. 2 or the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency Ed. 2) to determine if your child would qualify for therapy services based on their functional performance level.

Would my kid benefit from this service?

Examples of fine motor milestones based off age ranges include:

  • 0-6 months: grasp and reach for toys

  • 6-12 months: transfer item between two hands, pincer grasp, pull socks off.

  • 1-2 years: build a tower of blocks, turn pages in a book, scribble, self-feeding

  • 2-3 years: string beads, draw circles, create with play dough

  • 3-5 years: cut paper, write name, dress self, build with Legos.

  • 5-7 years: complete crafting and grooming tasks independently, 

  • 7+ years: legible handwriting for entire length of a short story. Minimally struggle with use of hands for majority of tasks.

*This is not an all inclusive list. If you have any questions, please give us a call!

Fine Motor Coordination Activities (coming soon!)
Fine Motor Strengthening Activities (coming soon!)
Bilateral Integration Activities (coming soon!)
 
 

Sensory Processing

Sensory input is received constantly throughout our day; hearing the sound of someone talking, smelling dinner cooking, feeling the ground beneath your feet. An individual with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) may struggle with understanding what these sensations are, or their body may poorly tolerate various sensory input. SPD may affect a child in one sensory area or several. Our occupational therapy team can work directly with a patient to improve their tolerance and processing of sensory input as well as work directly with the child’s caregivers to create a more optimal environment for acceptance of sensory stimulation.   

Would my kid benefit from this service?

Children with SPD may have difficulties with:

  • Tolerating loud noises (eg vacuum cleaners)

  • Tolerating wearing certain clothing (eg jeans, socks)

  • Focusing on schoolwork 

  • Become overwhelmed at busy events (eg birthday party)

  • Frequently chewing on non-food items

  • Tolerating messy hands (eg finger painting)

  • Frequently crashing into others or playing "too rough"

  • Frequent meltdowns without a clear cause 

*This is not an all inclusive list. If you have any questions, please give us a call!

Types of Sensory Input:
  • Auditory (Sounds)

  • Tactile (Touch)

  • Visual (Sight)

  • Oral (Taste)

  • Olfactory (Smell)

  • Vestibular (Movement)

  • Proprioceptive (Body Awareness)

Resources

 

Infant & Toddler Development

Developmental milestones are skills that many children learn by a certain age. Children reach these milestones by how they play, learn, and engage with the world around them. Many infants and toddlers, even without a formal diagnosis, struggle to accomplish these milestones for a variety of contributing factors. Our occupational therapy team can help caregivers determine what are appropriate recommended skillsets for their child and identify individualized interventions to assist them in reaching those goals.

 

It is important to note that all children are unique in their development. The guidelines below are available to assist in the identification of a potential need for a referral for an occupational therapy evaluation.

Would my kid benefit from this service?

Developmental milestones

  • 0-2 months: moves eyes to look around, eats and gains weight, startles to loud sound, calmed appropriately by caregivers

  • 2-3 months: lifts head during tummy time, opens and closes hands, follows a toy with eyes from side to side

  • 4-6 months: rolls over, reaches for toy, raises chest off floor while in tummy time, activates buttons on toy

  • 6-7 months: sits up, transfers toys between hands, shakes and bangs toys

  • 8-9 months: crawls, feeds self finger foods, imitates simple play such as “peek a boo”, points at items

  • 10-14 months: pulls off socks, stands alone and takes a few steps, pincer grasp, turns pages of book, feeds self with utensils

  • 15-18 months: stacks 2-3 blocks, scribbles, drinks from cup independently, squats down, helps with some dressing tasks

  • 18-24 months: throws and kicks a ball, completes simple puzzles, inserts coins in slotted container

  • 2-3 years: snips with scissors, copies lines and circles, pedals a tricycle, attempts to catch a ball, runs well

*This is not an all inclusive list. If you have questions, give us a call

Resources

 

Self-Cares

Self-cares, also called activities of daily living (ADL) or daily occupations, are tasks required to get ready for your day. As a child develops, we encourage their independence with these responsibilities to continually increase, requiring less assistance as they progress. Children with special needs often require support with either learning the sequencing of these tasks, improving their strength and coordination to complete these duties, or modifying the environment to make it easier for them to become more independent. Our occupational therapy team is here to help with that.  

Would my kid benefit from this service?
  • Self-cares include:

    • Dressing

    • Fasteners (buttons, zippers, tying)

    • Self-feeding

    • Washing hands

    • Brushing teeth

    • Brushing hair (and tolerating haircuts)

    • Clipping nails

    • Bathing

    • Sleep

    • Toilet training

    • Simple meal preparation

    • Household chores

*This is not an all inclusive list. If you have questions, give us a call

Resources

Tying Shoes (coming soon!)
Adaptive Feeding Equipment (coming soon!)

Feeding Therapy

Feeding therapy is more than just “getting a child to eat”. Occupational therapists work closely with the patient and their family to determine the source of the child’s difficulties and develop extremely specific interventions to make the entire process of eating easier and more enjoyable.

Would my kid benefit from this service?

If any of the conditions below are impacting a child’s ability to safely eat, meet recommended nutritional needs, or positively engage in mealtime, they may benefit from a feeding evaluation with one of our OTs.

  • Choking or coughing during eating or drinking

  • Difficulty chewing, transferring, or swallowing foods

  • Inability to transition from bottle to cup

  • Difficulty transitioning to eating solid foods

  • Poor latch during breastfeeding

  • History of being tube-fed

  • Low or excessive weight gain

  • Limited food repertoire

  • Gags on or avoids certain food textures

  • Refuses to sit during mealtime

  • Fussy, irritable, upset during mealtime or when presented with specific food items

  • Refuses to try new foods

  • Feeding takes longer than 30 minutes (infants) or 45 minutes (toddlers)

*This is not an all inclusive list. If you have questions, give us a call

Our OT team can assist a child with improving:

  • Oral motor skills

  • Breastfeeding

  • Weaning from tube-feeding

  • Transitioning between stages of food

  • Sensory tolerance of various food textures

  • Acceptance of more food items

  • Increasing oral intake

  • An overall more positive eating experience

Resources

Progression of Food Acceptance (coming soon!)
 

Vision Therapy

Separate from visual acuity (the “20/20” part of vision), visual processing or visual perceptual skills refer to the brains ability to identify what the eyes are seeing. The way a child’s eyes move play a role in how well they attend and comprehend this information as well. Vision therapy aims to teach the visual system to improve itself with individualized therapeutic treatment.

Visual perceptual skills include:

  • Visual Discrimination - awareness of distinct shapes, sizes, and colors

  • Visual Sequential Memory - memorizing a series of objects

  • Visual Figure Ground - distinguishing an object from its background

  • Visual Spatial Skills - understanding and organizing external visual information

  • Visual Closure - recognizing a complete feature from fragmented information

  • Visual Form Constancy - recognizing objects as they change in shape and color

  • Visual Memory - retaining information acquired visually

Would my kid benefit from this service?

A child who struggles with visual perceptual skills may have difficulty with:

  • Following along during reading

  • Writing within lined spaces

  • Tracking a ball as it is rolled or thrown

  • Taking notes from a board

  • Finding item on a busy surface

  • Tripping over items or bumping into things frequently

  • Complaining of eye pain, itchiness, or headaches

  • Closing one eye when looking closely at things

  • Laying head down while writing or coloring

*This is not an all inclusive list. If you have questions, give us a call

Resources

 

Casting & Splinting

Casting and splinting services are used to treat musculoskeletal abnormalities or injuries, or the effects of neurological impairments. Casts and splints are beneficial to assist children with safe positioning of a joint or extremity (arm or leg), increase or maintain range of motion, correct or help prevent deformities, reduce pain by resting an overused or injured area of the body, and improve functional use of an extremity. Casts and splints are fabricated and removed right in clinic, with several safety protocols in place. 

Disclaimer: occupational and physical therapist do not cast or splint fractures for healing or setting purposes. Following a traumatic or sudden injury, we recommend contacting your local pediatrician, orthopedic physician, or emergency department.

Would my kid benefit from this service?

A cast or splint may be recommended for a child who struggles with:

  • Hypertonia

  • Limited use or extreme weakness of an extremity (hemiparesis, brachial plexus palsy, spinal cord injury, etc.)

  • Toe walking

  • Club foot

  • Injury or pain of an extremity (tendonitis, arthritis, sprain)

  • Burn

  • Trigger or mallet finger

*This is not an all inclusive list. If you have questions, give us a call

Resources

Splint Care (coming soon!)