Children need Occupational Therapy because they:
Children who have difficulties with daily routines in their natural environment receive the greatest benefit. I travel to you and your child at home, school, daycare, the pool, the park, among other places in the community. The children who benefit from my approach commonly have concerns with motor and coordination skills, strength and endurance, sensory integration, emotional regulation, or concerns with attention.
Children who benefit are able to work on small, attainable goals with a personalized treatment program. Occupational therapy does not cure a child from their diagnosis or completely remove life’s difficulties; but the end result is a child who is much happier, confident, and able to reach their full potential because I am dedicated to their progress.
The parents of the children I work with actively participate in the therapy process because they want to see sustainable progress and use strategies in daily routines. This includes asking questions, including other adults and caregivers in the child’s progress, working on therapy goals outside of therapy, ongoing communication, and modeling and practicing strategies during sessions.
Squeeze mom’s hand for the first time.
Take their first steps.
Point to communicate.
Write their name.
Tied their shoes.
Make a friend.
Use adaptive equipment to walk or wheel across the room.
Return to play their favorite sport.
The most common reasons why children need fine motor training is because they:
Drop things all the time.
Cannot tie their shoes.
Squeeze too tightly or not tight enough.
Are not reaching for toys/objects.
Have trouble with handwriting.
Have difficulty using both hands together.
Need help using their hands with a communication device.
Are having trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps, a fork, spoon, or knife.
Results are achieved through task analysis, a motor control and motor learning approach, scaffolding, a biomechanical approach and if appropriate, strengthening and range of motion strategies, specific to the hands and arms. The Handwriting Without Tears program is utilized if handwriting is a concern.
ADLs are habits and routines that make up your child’s day.
The most common reasons why children need my help is because they need to problem-solve a way to improve:
Using the bathroom
With Occupational Therapy intervention, your child can achieve independence with self-help skills that are appropriate for their age, development, and cognitive abilities.
Among the parents I work with, self-care is an area many parents stop asking their child to be independent in, and automatically help their child with, even if their child can do most of the self-care skill by themselves, because helping their child is the faster and easier way.
After working with me, the biggest change I consistently see is with the parents, because while I teach your child the motor skills, patience, and confidence they need to be more independent in self-care skills, I also teach the parent how it’s most efficient to help. Commonly, when the child achieves independence in self-care skills, the parents I work with find they have more time for themselves.
Gross Motor Skills use the legs, arms, and core muscles and include skills like coordination and balance. Depending on your child’s age and abilities, gross motor skills will look different. Gross motor skills are influenced by our strength, muscle tone, bone structure, body awareness, spatial awareness, neurology, and environment.
The most common gross motor skills and benefits children have achieved with Vanessa:
Rolling and crawling.
Sitting and standing.
Decreased fear of falling.
Decreased clumsiness, improved coordination.
Increased body awareness.
Increased participation in team sports/classes.
Through neuromuscular re-education, a biomechanical approach, primitive reflex integration, motor learning and motor control strategies, and for some, Aquatic Therapy, your child improves areas of concern that are appropriate for their age, development, and cognitive abilities.
Ask Vanessa about adaptive equipment training to enhance function with gross motor skills!
For years, I have taught children how to be safe and efficient when using single-point canes, walkers, and wheelchairs during their daily routines.
Visual motor skills require teamwork from the eyes, hands, and body.
If one of these team members is not cooperating, your child may have difficulty:
Writing or reading.
Finding objects in a busy environment.
Matching shapes and letters.
Playing sports, gymnastics, swimming, or other physical activity.
Falling frequently or bumping into things more than other children.
Using primitive reflex integration, developmental, neurophysiological, sensory, motor learning approaches, The Alert Program, Astronaut Training, and compensatory strategies, I help your child’s visual-motor systems work as a team so they are successful in their area of concern.
Results vary depending on the age and ability level, but children who have worked on visual-motor-integration therapy with me have gained independence in dressing, improved grades on report cards, improved reading and writing skills, and improved their coordination for sports and other physical activity.
Social skills begin when a child is in the womb and skills continue to flourish from the moment they are held in your arms for the first time.
Occupational Therapy helps with social skills so your child is able to interact with the environment and others in the most efficient way for their age, development, and diagnosis.
The most common reasons why children need my help is because they need to strategies to improve:
Self-confidence in social settings
Age appropriate social interactions
Expression of wants and needs with verbal and non-verbal strategies
Reciprocal interactions (turn taking, play with peers, etc)
Children improve their social skills with Movement with Meaning’s Kids Groups, during one-on-one therapy sessions, and parent consults. Depending on the age of your child, results may be achieved with use of massage, The Alert Program, Therapeutic Listening, sensory integration, child-directed therapy, cognitive-behavioral approaches, desensitization and scaffolding strategies.
At a variety of ages, I have helped children go from being the bully of the class to the head of the class. I have helped children and parents communicate effectively, even when the child had no spoken language skills. I have helped children form friendships and even facilitate peer mentorships.
Sensory integration allows our senses to work together as a team. When vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, along with two other sensory systems (proprioception and vestibular) are working as a team, a child is able to focus and go through the day with little difficulty. When a child shows sensory integration difficulties, it is because one of his/her sensory systems is over-reactive or under-reactive.
Proprioception helps us with body awareness, giving us feedback to/from our joints and muscles to know where our body is in the environment.
The vestibular system helps us with balance and coordination and provides our brain feedback about our movement in regards to our head position.
Your child may have sensory processing difficulties if they:
Are constantly moving or wiggling.
Have difficulty playing with friends.
Cover their ears often.
Have irrational fears.
Startle easily to noises.
Show impulsive behavior.
Are sensitive to touch.
Get easily frustrated.
Have difficulty wearing specific clothing items.
Show emotional difficulty switching from one activity to the next.
Over-react to hair brushing or washing, teeth brushing, or bathing.
Have low energy and prefer to be more sedentary more than peers.
Appear to ignore what you say, even if you know their hearing is okay.
Results are achieved through primitive reflex integration, sensory integration strategies, desensitization, scaffolding, cognitive-behavioral strategies, The Alert Program, Therapeutic Listening, and at times, Aquatic (pool) therapy.
I have helped children overcome meltdowns with dressing, feeding, and bathing due to sensory concerns. I have assisted children in building up their frustration tolerance to persist through challenging non-preferred activities, stay focused in school, and go from special-education classes to mainstream and gifted classes. I have helped children improve their body awareness so they are able to play appropriately with peers, play team sports or participate in social classes.