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Occupational Therapy Patient Questionnaire
A baby grasps her spoon. A toddler goes down a slide. A preschooler puts on his shoes. A kindergartner puts together a puzzle. A group of school children play with their peers and attend birthday parties with their friends and parents. These activities require the use of different skills: fine motor skills, the small actions performed by muscles in the body; cognitive skills/behavioral skills; social skills; visual motor skills; sensory motor and sensory processing skills; and self-care skills.
For some children, the development of these skills is impaired by:
- developmental disability or delay
- injury or illness
- neuro-degenerative disorder
- neuro-muscular condition
- congenital deformity
- genetic disorder
- learning disability
- chronic illness
- attention deficit disorder (ADD)/attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
At the Kireker Center for Child Development, our pediatric occupational therapists help children, teenagers, and young adults learn to perform age-appropriate functional, purposeful, and meaningful activities that will assist them in reaching their full potential. With occupational therapy, our patients can learn to enjoy life, interact socially, use visual motor skills, and participate in activities of daily living, including self-care, school, work, hobbies, and community events. We also help children re-learn skills that have been altered due to a traumatic injury, stroke, or surgical procedure.
We are thrilled to introduce our newly added sensory gym as a modality or treatment. Our sensory gym provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for movement and exploration. The sensory gym includes floor and wall mats, a rock wall, crash pillows, and multiple options for suspended equipment (therapeutic swings). During therapy in the sensory gym, children participate in sensory/movement-based activities, such as climbing a ladder or rock wall, crawling through tunnels, swinging on the therapeutic swings for vestibular input, jumping into crash pillows, or swinging on a trapeze. The goal of the sensory gym is to provide children with new and challenging movement experiences to attain their goals in the areas of strength, motor planning, sensory processing, and vestibular/movement tolerance. Sensory gym activities not only strengthen children’s upper extremity and trunk strength/endurance, but these activities help to promote body awareness, motor planning, balance, coordination, and protective reflexes. Sensory gym activities can also be used to increase stimulation to children who tend to lack movement and activity during their day or to calm/organize overactive children who seek additional movement throughout the day.
If you think your child may benefit from occupational therapy, we encourage you to call your child’s pediatrician, nurse practitioner, or other health care professional, or call us at the Kireker Center for Child Development at 201-612-1006.
Occupational Therapy Services
Our Occupational Therapy Department is located on the first floor of the Kireker Center for Child Development. Our facilities include a beautiful new sensory gym, featuring therapeutic swings, a rock wall, floor and wall mats, and sensory-based equipment. Table-top activities involving workbooks, toys, and other hand manipulatives help children develop their fine motor skills, cognitive/behavioral skills, and visual motor skills. All individual therapy sessions last one half-hour. Most children come for therapy once a week.
On your child’s first visit, he/she will undergo an evaluation, when we will take a medical history and assess his/her skills in different categories. Our occupational therapy services focus on helping children develop:
- cognitive/behavioral skills, including sitting, following directions, using behavior modification skills
- fine motor skills, including cutting, pasting, grasping. and using hand manipulatives
- visual motor skills, such as playing catch, beading, or putting together puzzles>
- sensory motor and sensory-processing skills, including paying attention, focusing, and overcoming sensitivity to textures, sounds, and movements
- self-care skills, including feeding and dressing
We also provide the following special services:
- occupational therapy combined with physical therapy to perform activities that involve both fine and gross motor skills, such as climbing a slide, swinging, catching a ball
- hand splinting and ordering of splints
- feeding therapy with our speech-language pathologists
- acquisition and management of orthotics and prosthetics
- referrals to other health care professionals and community resources
All our occupational therapists specialize in pediatric occupational therapy. All of them have completed bachelor’s degrees and some have completed master’s degrees. All are licensed through the New Jersey State Board of Occupational Therapy and are registered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Some of our staff are also certified in pediatric occupational therapy, infant massage, yoga, kinesiotaping, and neuro-developmental treatment. Some specialize in handwriting, sensory integration, and feeding therapy. One of our occupational therapists speaks Spanish and is proficient in Russian.
Because we are a multidisciplinary center, our occupational therapists work closely with our physicians, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists to ensure that your child’s specific needs are met. If your child needs further evaluation, we can refer him/her to a physiatrist, neurodevelopmental pediatrician, orthopedic surgeon, neurologist, neurosurgeon, school psychologist, or other professionals in the community. We also offer specialized services for babies who have spent time in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or another hospital’s NICU. Our occupational therapists are also available to speak with child-study teams, teachers, and other education professionals.
Therapy for NICU Babies
The Kireker Center for Child Development’s pediatric physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists are an integral part of the developmental team in The Valley Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Our pediatric therapists are licensed and certified and have completed specific training in neonatal therapy.
Many babies who are born prematurely or with developmental concerns benefit from beginning physical therapy, occupational therapy, or oral-motor and feeding therapy within hours or days of their birth. Early intervention can help guide a baby toward his/her developmental milestones.
Our therapists work closely with the NICU’s neonatologists, nurses, and each baby’s parents to:
- use therapeutic handling and positioning, which may utilize specialized splinting by our occupational therapist
- begin oral-motor or feeding therapy for the baby
- transition the baby to outpatient services at the Kireker Center following discharge from the NICU
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What do I need to bring with us when my child comes for an occupational therapy evaluation?
A. Please come about 15 minutes early to fill out the necessary paperwork. If your child has had any previous tests, please bring the results and reports with you, if possible. For insurance purposes, bring your insurance card and any prescriptions, referral forms, pre-authorization forms, or co-payments that your individual policy requires.
Q. How should my child dress for an evaluation?
A. Your child should dress in comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. If your child walks, he/she should wear sneakers. If your daughter wears a skirt, please have her wear shorts underneath. All long hair must be tied back.
Q. What should we expect at the evaluation?
A. Your child’s evaluation will consist of an interview to collect his/her medical history, an observation, and an examination. We will evaluate your child’s cognitive/behavioral skills, fine and gross motor skills, visual motor skills, sensory motor and sensory-processing skills, and self-care skills.
Q. How long is a typical occupational therapy session?
A. Individual therapy sessions last one half-hour. Most children come for occupational therapy once a week.
Q. What happens during a typical therapy session?
A. Depending on your child’s age and specific needs, your child will engage in variety of sensory modalities that develop fine motor skills, social skills, visual motor skills, self-care skills, and sensory processing skills. Parents of young children are welcome to attend the early sessions, but we try to transition the child to sessions without the parents so the child is not distracted. Because we have other disciplines at our Center – including audiology, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology – your child may benefit from having other therapists involved in your child’s therapy.
Q. What will my child need to do at home to continue his/her therapy?
A. At-home activities are crucial to your child’s therapy. During the last five minutes of your child’s therapy session, we will give you worksheets and suggest home exercises or extra-curricular activities to supplement your child’s therapy program.
Q. How long will my child’s entire occupational therapy last?
A. Generally most children attend occupational therapy sessions here once a week. The duration of your child’s therapy will depend on many factors, including the type of disorder/injury your child is experiencing, its severity, any medical issues present, insurance coverage, and your participation in carrying over your child’s home program. Occupational therapy can last for several months or throughout a child’s lifetime.