Occupational therapy is the process by which people of all ages rehabilitate their fine and gross motor skills and/or cognitive skills in order to improve their ability to function in everyday activities. Pediatric occupational therapists are highly trained professionals who determine the best course of treatment for your child. Frequently, traditional methods of therapy are best suited for many children with a variety of needs. However, there are also several unique methods of therapy that may be beneficial for certain children. Often these specialized areas require extra training and/or certification.
Aquatic occupational therapy enables a freedom of movement that allows a child to accomplish more than they might be able to on land. The reduced effect of gravity on the child greatly increases the functionality of movement. Children who require frequent and/or high-intensity therapy may benefit from the less-exerting water environment.
This assessment and treatment program is designed to improve the processing abilities of the brain, which can affect fine and gross motor skills, cognitive capacities (including language), and attention and problem solving. Children are instructed to match a computer-generated beat while performing such activities as foot or hand tapping. This treatment method is best suited for those with neurological needs and who need help with planning and sequencing motor activities.
Floortime intervention is based on the Developmental, Individual differences, Relationship-based (DIR) model that is designed to assess a child’s developmental strengths and weaknesses. This intervention model involves meeting a child at his or her current developmental level, then challenging them to move up the five stages of developmental milestones as outlined in the DIR model These include: regulation and interest in the world, engagement and relating, two-way intentional communication, continuous social problem solving, symbolic play, and bridging ideas.
Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT)
This advanced treatment method is best suited for children with neuromotor disorders, such as cerebral palsy, or disorders related to a head injury. This method encourages motor learning and appropriate movements for those whose neurological status affects the movement of their body. Hands-on support for functional activities is the basis of this treatment, and occupational therapists pay close attention to movement patterns throughout therapy.
Therapeutic listening is a sound-based treatment method that uses music as a way to treat sensory deficits that may affect a variety of functional experiences. This program trains children to “listen” to their bodies as a way to help regulate movements and sensory processing.
Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) Administration
Administration of the SIPT requires special training but can be very beneficial in helping occupational therapists and parents understand why some children have difficulty learning or behaving as expected. The SIPT measures certain aspects of sensory processing, as well as a child’s ability to generally cope with the world around them. While not a treatment program in and of itself, the SIPT can give an OT great insight into a child’s needs and appropriate therapy methods.