What Is Occupational Therapy?
We offer occupational therapy for children that have difficulties processing and interpreting sensory input that impact their ability to perform everyday activities. The occupational therapist (OT) at Ally Pediatric Therapy targets a variety of skills such as but not limited to:
- Sensory Processing
- Play (including gross motor and fine motor skills)
- Social participation (including communication skills)
- Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
- Instrumental Activities of Daily Activities (IADLs)
- Rest / Sleep
“Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness or disability.”
Occupational therapy practitioners focus on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.
Our Approach to Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapists (OTs) evaluate sensory, fine motor, gross motor, cognitive, social and communication skills of children with autism that are related to their participation in everyday life activities, including play. Occupational therapy practitioners identify strengths and challenges among each child and create an individualized intervention plan to develop functional skills that translate into adulthood.
Our OTs at Ally Pediatric Therapy use standardized assessments, evidence-based research, strength-based tools, previous medical history and chart reviews, clinical observations, practice models, frames of reference, and family interview as a guide to develop a plan of care for each client. We use child-centered and family-centered approaches to create goals for the child. In family-centered practice, treatment intervention is based on the family’s vision and values (Case-Smith, 2014, p. 34). These activities must be meaningful to the child. Participation in meaningful activities and occupations will yield as a result of the child’s intrinsic motivation.
An Illustrative One-Hour OT Session in Our Center
Note: Each child is different, and each session will look different depending on the individual needs of the child.
Once the occupational therapy evaluation is completed, the OT will design an individualized intervention plan. Each session will be tailored to the child’s interest, while promoting usage of a variety of skills. The session will provide a sensory-rich environment to promote sensory-motor processing, learning, interactions, and optimal alertness. We use a play-based approach, facilitating therapeutic movements, academic-based activities and overall one on one engagement with the child to provide each child with the “just right” challenge. Presenting the “just right” challenge will empower the child to participate and succeed. The therapist will assess the child’s ability and grade the sensory and motor difficulty of the task to the child. This can be done by modifying the environment or the task to the child to achieve optimal performance.
Our overall goal is to promote engagement and independence in occupations including play exploration and participation, ADLs, IADLs, social participation, and education. We facilitate gross motor play to increase strength, endurance, coordination, and posture. For example, the child may participate in multistep obstacle courses, strengthening poses and exercises prescribed by our occupational therapy practitioner to address gross motor deficits. We focus on fine motor and visual motor skills as it relates to play for precision, manual dexterity and using two hands in a coordinated way. For example, the child may participate in education-tasks like coloring, cutting, following directions, or manipulating small toys and playing with playdough. By combining sensory-motor, gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, and visual perception skills during each session, these skills will be generalized to help the child participate and succeed.
Helpful Links for Parents
- American Occupational Therapy Association’s Autism Resources. https://www.aota.org/Practice/Children-Youth/Autism.aspx
- The Role of Occupational Therapy with Children and Youth. https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/AboutOT/Professionals/WhatIsOT/CY/Fact-Sheets/Children%20and%20Youth%20fact%20sheet.pdf
- Occupational Therapy in Early Intervention: Helping Children Succeed. https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Professionals/CY/Articles/Early-Intervention.aspx
- FAQ about Ayers Sensory Integration. https://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/Practice/Children/Resources/FAQs/SI%20Fact%20Sheet%202.pdf
- Addressing Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Disorders Across the Lifespan: The Role of Occupational Therapy. https://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/AboutOT/Professionals/WhatIsOT/CY/Fact-Sheets/FactSheet_SensoryIntegration.pdf
- The Zones of Regulation. https://www.zonesofregulation.com/index.html