Written by Maritza Tafur, MOTR/L
It is a pleasure to be working at Ally Pediatric alongside such a dedicated and talented staff. As an occupational therapist (OT) I strive to offer the best possible, evidenced-based services to our clients. OTs work on children’s skills through the pursuit of meaningful occupations such as play, social participation, and education. We facilitate the development of gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, visual perceptual and sensory-motor skills to help children be more successful at home, clinic/school and community.
The fundamental motor skill is postural strength and endurance. If a child has the physical strength to maintain an upright posture, it is easier to explore their environment in a meaningful way. This skill is crucial to the development of fine and visual-motor skills.
Source: Tools to Grow. (2016). Primitive Motor Reflexes and Their Impact on A Child’s Function. Retrieved from https://www.toolstogrowot.com/blog/2016/01/11/primitive-motor-reflexes-their-impact-on-a-childs-function
This month we have been working on the development of postural strength by facilitating a variety of play positions (shown above). Positions such as prone on elbows can be facilitated while children are reading books or playing on the tablet or iPad. This position strengthens back, neck and upper arm muscles. It is always important to encourage children to sit upright whenever possible. Remember, a little exercise, each day goes a long way. If we all work together as a team, we can teach our children to learn, speak, and grow!
Source: A Glossary to Sitting (2006). Retrieved from https://starfishtherapies.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/a-glossary-of-sitting/
“W” sitting (shown above) can be an indicator of poor postural strength/endurance. When children sit this way, they are not using or developing the postural muscles in their abdomen and back. Children can be gently repositioned or reminded to sit an alternate way such as side sit, long leg sitting, or tailor sitting (criss-cross). “W” sitting may also cause future knee and hip injuries.
Maritza Tafur, MOTR/L is a bilingual Occupational Therapist who has worked with children and adults on the Autism Spectrum for more than 13 years. She graduated with an M.A. in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Mexico and has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Northern Arizona University. Maritza has worked in various pediatric settings, including clinic and school-based. Her clinical expertise includes child-lead, play-based therapy; sensory integration therapy; improving emotional regulation; and executive functioning. Maritza published an article in OT International in 2009, has traveled and studied extensively throughout Mexico, and studies flamenco.