What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a diverse profession that addresses a wide variety of needs. The goal of an occupational therapist is to improve activities of daily living, which can include self care skills, play skills, and school/academic performance. In order to improve performance in these areas, OT’s address skills such as fine motor development, sensory processing, motor planning, eye hand coordination and visual motor skills to name a few! During occupational therapy sessions, treatment is child guided and our therapists focus on creating the ‘just right challenge’ for your child. These challenges foster growth and development within your child, while maintaining excitement and motivation.
Our Occupational Therapists work with a variety of pediatric diagnosis, including but not limited to:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Developmental Delays
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Learning Disabilities
- Gross and Fine Motor Coordination Disorders
- Various neurological and Psychological Conditions
- Sensory Processing Disorder
In addition, areas of concerns addressed include:
- Clothing sensitivities
- Difficulty with bath time, hair brushing/cutting
- Attention and focus
- Eating and feeding
- Poor coordination
- Dressing and shoe tying
Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory processing refers to our central nervous system receiving input in through our senses and turning them into appropriate responses, which can include both motor and behavioral responses. All of our actions require us to have successful and effective integration of our sensory experiences. Riding a bike, cleaning up toys, transitioning between activities and putting on our clothes are everyday examples that require our central nervous systems to effectively integrate sensations and produce appropriate responses. In order to navigate through our day, all of our sensory systems (tactile, vestibular, auditory, etc.) must be work in collaboration and our nervous system must receive accurate information regarding our environment. For many of the children we work with, this isn’t the case. While we all struggle with sensory processing from time to time, there are many children who struggle with this on a daily basis. Children who struggle to effectively integrate their senses may present with numerous symptoms including but not limited to:
- Becomes easily overstimulated
- Always “on the go” or is in constant motion
- Clumsy, accident prone, difficulty acquiring new motor tasks
- Shuts down or becomes physical in large crowds – birthday parties, family gatherings
- Doesn’t like being touched, struggles with hair brushing/washing, nail clipping
- Is sensitive to certain clothing, will only wear specific types of clothing
- Jumps from activity to activity, difficulty sustaining attention
Sensory Processing Disorders continue to be a grey area within the professional community and often leaves families feeling confused and without answers. It is not an official diagnosis that is recognized by the American Medical Association which leaves families searching for a clear understanding of their child’s concerns. Our occupational therapy community is grateful for Dr. Lucy Jane Miller and her colleagues at the SPD Foundation in Denver, CO for their never ending commitment and boundless energy in researching this disorder.
For more information visit the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation website.
Gaining a greater understanding
At The Talcott Center for Child Development, we place a great deal of focus on treating Sensory Processing Disorders. Through a comprehensive assessment, in addition to collaboration with other disciplines at our clinic – applied behavioral analysts, speech and physical therapists – we can determine the best way to address your child’s needs.
In order to provide our families with the most educated answers possible, we have invested a great deal into the education of our clinicians, as well as the equipment and treatment options offered in our center. We strive to provide the highest quality of intervention, to most effectively work with your child and your family. Several staff members have also attended and completed the SPD Foundation’s Intensive Mentorship Program in Colorado, and have been educated, and TRAINED by Dr. Lucy Jane Miller.
In addition to direct intervention, our therapists provide a variety of in house and community based seminars that:
- Educate families and professionals on sensory processing disorders
- Provide simple and effective home strategies
- Provide behavioral strategies and tools
If you are a parent, educational facility, or professional organization that would like more information on seminars we present, or you would like us to present at your facility, please contact us today to discuss possibilities.