As April comes to a close, we wanted to once again thank our fabulous Occupational Therapists who make an impact in our patients’ lives every day!
Our very own, Stephanie Hill, OTR has provided us with a very informative article to share!
April is National Occupational Therapy (OT) Month. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about the profession, and to celebrate the amazing OT’s with whom we work. Occupational Therapy was founded in 1917, and as early as 1919, established a role in pediatric care. Pediatric Occupational Therapy is considered a specialty area of practice, and often requires additional training through continuing education and mentoring. At Viva Pediatrics, we hire experienced Pediatric OTs.
Pediatric Occupational Therapists work in a number of healthcare settings including NICU, ECI, schools, in-patient, out-patient, and private clinics, as well as in home health. Home health OT services are particularly beneficial to the pediatric population because children can be treated within their natural environments during their daily routines, with the ability to help modify the environment, and to potentially decrease risks for medically compromised patients that may be better served at home.
Occupational Therapy specializes in helping people, young and older, to participate in everyday occupations, that is: meaningful activities that “occupy one’s time”. Some may equate occupations to a person’s job. For children, their occupations or jobs include: playing, interacting with people and objects, learning skills to become independent, and participating at home, school, and out in the community.
Pediatric OTs work with children with special needs to maximize their ability to engage in everyday experiences. Areas for which OTs may treat include helping a child to: strengthen his or her arms, hands, and body to improve the use of their hands to grasp objects, tools, and interact with toys; learn to be independent with self-care skills such as using a spoon or fork to eat, dressing, brushing teeth and hair, and bathing; improve eye-hand coordination and learn pre-writing/handwriting skills; play with peers; attend to tasks; and increase participation in daily routines without over-reacting to sensory inputs or seeking out too much sensory input. Sensory areas of concern may include over-sensitivity or under-responding to lights, sounds, touch, taste, smell, or movement.
Occupational Therapy treats the whole person through a holistic approach that considers all factors including physical, mental/cognitive, psychological sensory, and social-emotional skills along with scientific evidence and research to address a child’s overall needs to help them reach their highest potential. OTs work closely with caregivers to teach strategies and offer activities to improve a child’s overall function. They may recommend special equipment or environmental changes to further support a child’s development.
Occupational Therapists use activity analysis to break tasks down into smaller pieces, and analyze strengths and barriers in order to determine the best means for gaining skills and optimizing participation. Pediatric OTs are trained to work with a variety of diagnoses including Developmental Delays, Cerebral Palsy or other neurologic disorders, Down Syndrome or other genetic conditions, Autism Spectrum disorders, and Sensory Processing and Modulation disorders.
Pediatric Occupational Therapists use “play” as their means for engaging a child to improve his or her foundational skills to help reach developmental milestones. If you have a child who may benefit from OT services, or if you are an experienced Pediatric OT interested in joining the Viva Therapy team, contact us at: 469-341-7772.