What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a medical based service that explores the aspects of a person’s day-to-day life as it pertains to their job, their self-care skills, their leisure skills and their personal relationships. When “OT”s work with children, we look at the child’s play skills and abilities necessary to carry out their roles as students and playmates. We have a strong educational background in anatomy, neurology and psychology.
How does Occupational Therapy (OT) differ from Physical Therapy (PT)?
Pediatric OT and PT look very similar. Both professions are concerned with improving their client’s functional abilities. A physical therapist may focus on strengthening specific muscles during the treatment sessions. An occupational therapist strengthens the muscles while engaging the child in games or “purposeful activities” and often it looks more like “fun” than work. Occupational Therapists take a number of psychology courses and incorporate this knowledge in the treatment sessions.
What is Sensory Integration?
Sensory Integration is a theory that was developed in the 1970’s by an occupational therapist named A. Jean Ayres. The theory describes the interworking of all the senses (touch, taste, smell, see, hear). There are 2 other extremely important senses that are not often discussed, the Vestibular System and the Proprioceptive System. The Vestibular System is found in the inner ears and is responsible balance and for telling us the position of our head. The Propioceptive System is located in our muscles, joints and ligaments and tells us the position of our body. When one or more of our senses are hyper- or hypo-responsive, a person can feel imbalanced. Some examples of this imbalance in children may be: difficulty transitioning from one activity to another, challenges in completing daily living tasks, or decreased attention in the classroom.
What is your philosophy?
I strongly believe that children improve with the right quality, one-on-one treatment. I also feel that a parent or caregiver needs to be present in the treatment sessions so that the techniques can be carried over to the home environment.
How is therapy at KIDWORKS OF WESTPORT different from OT offered at my
First of all, a parent is present the whole time during the treatment session at KIDWORKS so the information can go home with the child and be utilized in between sessions at home. Clinic-based treatment, like that at KIDWORKS, uses suspended equipment (indoor swings) to improve gross motor skills and strengthen muscles. Fine motor work is also included in treatment sessions. School-based OT treatment focuses strictly on skills needed for classroom success such as handwriting and cutting with scissors.