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With occupational therapy, children, teenagers and adults 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. Children can also re-learn skills that have been altered due to a traumatic injury, stroke or surgical procedure.
Pediatric occupational services at the Kireker Center for Child Development help children develop:
- Cognitive/behavioral skills, including sitting, following directions, and 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
Most children come for occupational therapy once a week, with individual sessions lasting one half-hour.
Occupational Therapy Services
Our sensory gym offers a fun, safe and motivating environment for movement and exploration. Children may climb a ladder or rock wall, crawl through tunnels, swing on the therapeutic swings for vestibular input, jump into crash pillows, or swing on a trapeze – all with the guidance and support of our trained professionals. Sensory gym activities not only strengthen children’s upper extremity and trunk strength/endurance but also promote body awareness, motor planning, balance, coordination and protective reflexes. They 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.
Workbooks, toys and other hand manipulatives help children develop their fine motor skills, cognitive/behavioral skills, and visual motor skills.
Therapy for NICU Babies
The occupational therapy team also offers specialized services for babies who have spent time in The Valley Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or another hospital’s NICU. An integral part of the developmental team in Valley’s NICU, our pediatric 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 after their discharge from the NICU
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 their developmental milestones.
Other Occupational Therapy 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 healthcare professionals and community resources
Our occupational therapists work closely with the Kireker Center’s physicians, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists to ensure that your child’s specific needs are met. If a child needs further evaluation, we can refer them to a physiatrist, neurodevelopmental pediatrician, orthopedic surgeon, neurologist, neurosurgeon, school psychologist, or other professionals in the community.
All our occupational therapists specialize in pediatric occupational therapy, and many members of our staff are also certified in infant massage, yoga, kinesiotaping and neuro-developmental treatment. Some also specialize in handwriting, sensory integration and feeding therapy.