What does an Occupational Therapist DO?
A lot actually...
Sensory Processing & Regulation
Children who are easily overwhelmed by their environment, hypersensitive to sounds (or oblivious the fire alarm going off next to them), sensitive to clothing/bathing/touch, or can't get enough movement and seem like they never run out of of energy can benefit from a skilled therapist supporting their neurologic development- everyone's brains and bodies are different and we can help!
Fine and Gross motor development is suppose to come naturally, but for some kids, their bodies and brains just need a little extra help! Is your child full of energy but a bit clumsy? Do daily things like putting on clothes take longer, is their writing grasp a bit "wonky?" Do they seem to move awkwardly compared to their friends? Do they tire out quickly, preferring to sit out of activities or take breaks often? We are here to support your child's gross motor, strength, balance, coordination, and ability to participate in daily movement with ease! Clumsy, toe-walking, or "looks different" are all indicators that therapy might be a great fit to help your child grow to their very best!
Emotional and Behavioral Support
Emotional regulation and the behavior responses are all connected! How your child's brain processes information from their environment can keep them feeling on edge or distracted, and in turn create frustration and emotional struggles. Meltdown versus tantrum, intense and overwhelming emotions, and nothing seems to work are things families can struggle with. It shouldn't be hard being a kid- and OTs are here to help!
Play is the fundamental "occupational" skill of a child! This can include skills of learning how to independently play with others, by themselves, and engage in activities that match their interest and skill development. Play incorporates all sorts of neurological skills that if a bit out of sorts, it can make doing their "job" that much harder!
Occupational Therapists look at the child as a WHOLE person, including whatever diagnosis they may have. Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder, Down Syndrome, are just ways to describe how their brain works, but who they are as a child is one of a kind! We work to support each child at their level, supporting whatever skills are needed for them to enjoy life!
Executive Functioning is the combination of working memory, flexible thinking and self control. These skills are essential for learning, working, and managing our daily lives. Trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and manage all our emotions. Just like an air traffic control system at a busy airport safely manages the arrivals and departures of airplanes on runways, the brain uses executive functioning to prioritize information and tasks, set and achieve goals, filter distractions and control impulses. Children aren't born with these skills, but are born with the potential to develop them. It is important to remember that developing these skills requires support from parents and others. Some children might need more support than others.
Getting dressed, taking a bath, brushing teeth, and managing their own backpack- all skills that can be a lot trickier if a child struggles with the coordination to zip their coat, the attention to keep track of their belongings, or the sensory regulation abilities to filter out all the distractions around them. OT's are great at the detective work to figure out why your child might be struggling with a daily activity.
Occupational Therapists facilitate function- not perfection. Supporting parents is the best way to support the child! We provide consultation to help you understand your child deeply and in a way that makes sense for their body and brain. It takes a village to support a child, let us help!
Does your child struggle with...
Each child is unique, but some struggles and diagnosis are more common than others. You are not alone! Many kids benefit from OT support
Sensory Processing Disorders
Auditory and Tactile Sensitivies