What is occupational therapy?

A child’s job or “occupation” is be independent in self-care activities, play, social settings, and be successful in school. Aspire’s occupational therapists strive to help each child improve their skills and move to independence in order to actively participate in age appropriate day to day activities or “occupations” that are meaningful to each child and family. Aspiring to achieve the highest level of independence and reach his/her full potential in these functional “occupations” give a child purpose and feeling of success and accomplishment. 

An occupational therapist can help a child who is experiencing difficulty with any of the following:

  • Feeding & eating
  • Self-care: Dressing, bathing, brushing teeth, hair care, hand washing, nail care, tying shoes & managing fasteners (buttons, zippers, snaps, buckles, etc.)
  • Modulation & regulation of sensory input from movement, touch/textures, sound, sights, and tastes
  • Body & spatial awareness as it relates to coordination and interacting with others and the environment
  • Balance, coordination, & postural control activities: jumping, hopping, skipping, swinging, galloping, climbing, etc.
  • Fine motor coordination: hand dexterity, scissoring, tool use, & object manipulation (legos, game pieces, dice, coins, blocks, beads, lids, containers, etc.)
  • Handwriting, coloring, & drawing
  • Visual motor & perceptual activities: includes such things as eye tracking, scanning, eye-hand coordination, right/left discrimination, spatial relations, visual memory, and transitioning gaze from close to farther away
  • Ball play: throwing, catching, kicking
  • Attention, coping, and self-regulation
  • Play and social skills
  • Executive Functioning skills: organization & planning, working memory, self-monitoring, initiation, shift/flexible thinking, impulsivity

Who can benefit from occupational therapy?

Often times, children are referred for occupational therapy related to variety of neurologic, genetic, musculoskeletal, developmental diagnoses such as:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Feeding Difficulties & Dysfunction
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Genetic & Chromosomal Disorders 
  • Neurologic Diagnoses 
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • ADHD, OCD, anxiety
  • Hemiplegia, Stroke & Brain Injury
  • Failure to Thrive
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Visual Motor & Visual Perceptual Difficulties
  • Delay Reaching Developmental Milestones
  • Prenatal drug use/overdose

How can Aspire’s occupational therapists help?

Aspire Pediatric Therapy’s Occupational Therapists use various standardized and clinical assessments in order to complete a comprehensive evaluation of your child to determine the underline barriers or the “why” your child is having difficulty. 

An individualized plan is developed with goals for functional outcomes and child/family education and coaching.

Families are collaborators in this process and an integral part of the therapy team. Family input is vital to help us understand the struggles and successes occurring at home and in the community, in addition to family priorities.

Aspire’s occupational therapists incorporate play-based skilled interventions and therapeutic modalities into every session.  Our therapy is provided in a fun, positive atmosphere that facilitates each child’s motivation to explore, develop, and improve their motor, sensory processing, visual, cognitive, and social skills to reach their full potential for life-long success.  Some interventions our therapists use include:

  • Sensory Processing Therapy in our sensory-motor gyms

  • Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT)

  • Reflex Integration

  • Motor Learning

  • Therapeutic Listening

  • A.L.E.R.T. Program – How does your engine run?

  • Handwriting Training

  • Feeding Therapy

  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

  • Strengthening & ROM

  • Adaptive techniques, equipment and training

Families often contact us looking for answers to questions and concerns for children who are having challenges with their “occupations” as above. Please contact Aspire Pediatric Therapy if have concerns about any of these areas for your child. (412) 474-3566.

"Play is our brain's favorite way of learning."

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 - Diane Ackerman