Occupational therapy (OT) focuses on helping people become as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. Some people may think that occupational therapy is only for adults, but a child’s “occupation” is playing and learning. Occupational therapists can evaluate a child’s skills needed for playing, school performance, and self-care activities, like feeding, dressing, bathing, grooming, and help him/her to progress to a level that is developmentally appropriate for the child’s age.
Kids Center currently has 14 occupational therapists on staff. Each therapist has an individual treatment room as well as shared treatment areas, including:
- The Sensory-Motor room: Frequently used with children who have sensory processing disorder. Sensory input can help children with self-regulation difficulties, such as being under-aroused or over-aroused and unable to modulate their arousal level to participate in their daily routines. It is also used for general strengthening activities.
- The Adaptive Daily Living suite: Allows therapists to work with patients to practice self- care tasks such as standing at sink to brush teeth as well as functional transfers. The kitchen allows practice of light cooking and other household chores such as loading/unloading dishwasher, sweeping floor, and doing laundry.
- The casting/splinting lab: OTs may place a cast on a child’s arm for Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT), that is, covering the non-involved arm and hand with a cast so the child forced to use the more involved arm that they may be neglecting. A child also may undergo serial casting to increase range in a wrist or elbow that is losing range due to spasticity. Most of our OTs are certified in Deep Physical Agent Modalities (e.g. electrical stimulation and ultra-sound), and can use these in conjunction with functional tasks. Kids Center also is fortunate to have special equipment to offer some special treatment activities, including:
- Interactive Metronome: A computer-based training program that improves timing in the brain in an organized and engaging format. The child is asked to adjust his performance to the reference tone and guide sounds and then functional brain networks begin to communicate in a more efficient and rhythmic pattern. It can improve attention and concentration, processing speed, motor planning and sequencing as well as balance and coordination.
- iLs (Integrated Listening System): A multisensory program for improving brain function iLs trains the brain to process and manage multi-sensory input. It has been useful for children with sensory processing disorder, learning challenges, developmental delays and rehab after brain injury or stroke.
- Neurofeedback: A form of biofeedback training that uses the EEG (Electroencephalogram). Sensors applied to the trainee’s scalp record the brainwaves, which are converted into feedback signals using a computer and software. Neurofeedback has shown promise in reducing the symptoms of many disorders including major depression, anxiety, insomnia, mild closed head brain injury, ADD/ADHD, and learning disabilities.