Occupational Therapy

Abilitations Children’s Therapy provides pediatric occupational therapy to children of all ages to help them achieve their full potential and promote independence in their day-to-day activities.

Occupational therapy can help children perform daily activities they may find challenging by addressing sensory, social, behavioral, motor, and environmental issues.

Occupational Therapy Can Help Children With the Following Diagnoses or Difficulties:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • Fine and gross motor skills delays
  • ADHD
  • Handwriting difficulties (including dysgraphia and dyslexia)
  • Self-help skills and self-advocacy
  • Social skills and emotional self-regulation
  • Cerebral palsy and hemiplegia
  • Poor balance and core strengthening
  • Gravitational insecurity
  • Feeding disorders/deficits
  • Adaptive equipment needs
  • Increase upper-extremity muscle strength, range of motion, coordination and endurance
  • Improve handwriting
  • Visual-motor and visual perceptual skills/low vision
  • Genetic disorders

What Can Be Accomplished Through OT?

Occupational therapists work with children in the following areas:

  • Improving fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills
  • Addressing hand-eye coordination to improve kids’ play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.)
  • Learning basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves)
  • Maintaining positive behaviors in all environments (e.g., dealing with acts of aggression, reactory responses, and using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in physical activity
  • Evaluating the need for specialized equipment, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, or communication aids
  • Improving attention and social skills to allow the development of interpersonal relationships

Techniques and Methods That May Be Used

Handwriting Without Tears®: Developed by Jan Olsen, an occupational therapist, Handwriting Without Tears is a developmentally based program designed to progress a child’s fine motor skills along with visual skills through fun and interactive activities.

The Size Matters Handwriting Program: (SMHP) is an evidence-based approach to teaching and remediating  handwriting.  It is the first instructional occupational therapy activity to shift the focus to Letter Size. When students correct errors in Letter Size, they make an immediate and measurable difference in the consistency, and therefore readability of the written page.

The Wilbarger Protocol: Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT), also referred to as brushing therapy, is often a part of a sensory integration or sensory therapy program. This technique was developed by Pat Wilbarger, M.Ed., OTR. The protocol requires use of a specific therapeutic, surgical brush that provides deep pressure tactile input and stimulation to the child’s legs, arms, hands, feet and back. It is recommended to help decrease sensory defensiveness.

The Zones of Regulation: An approach used to support the development of self-regulation in children. All the different ways children feel and the states of alertness they experience are categorized into four coloured zones. Children who are well regulated are able to be in the appropriate zone at the appropriate time.

Astronaut Training: It is a program designed to directly impact the vestibular system, visual. system and auditory system. It takes into account, the three component of movement incorporating. the activation of all three semicircular channels of the vestibular systems.

Astronaut Training helps children improve their ability to self-regulate especially when there is vestibular dysfunction. It can also enhance spatial awareness and general movement abilities.

Therapeutic Listening – It is a specific sound-based intervention that uses organized sound patterns, inherent to music, to impact all levels of the nervous system to increase attention, balance, body awareness and control, communication, social engagement and organization of sensory input.

SOS approach to feeding: The Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) feeding approach integrates motor, oral, behavioral/learning, medical, sensory and nutritional factors and approaches in order to comprehensively evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth concerns. It focuses on systematic desensitization which breaks down each part of the eating process into steps: Tolerates, Interacts With, Smells, Touches, Tastes and then finally Eats. Each one of those steps is then broken down again so that every tiny progression is mastered before moving forward.

DIR Floortime:  Floortime (also known as DIRFloortime) is an intervention used to promote an individual’s development through a respectful, playful, joyful, and engaging process. It uses the power of relationships and human connections to promote engagement, communication, positive behaviors, and thinking.

Social Thinking: The purpose of social thinking is to produce social behavior that gives others the emotional experience you intend to give. The Social Thinking Methodology teaches people to be more aware of their emotions and better predict and relate to the emotions of others. The methodology is designed for individuals with solid to strong language and cognitive abilities, both Neurotypically developing and Neurodivergent.

The ALERT Program: was created by occupational therapists, Mary Sue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger. The program was developed to teach children how to change how alert they feel and to teach adults how to support learning, attending, and positive behaviors.