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Occupational Therapy, Giant Leaps – PC
Giant Leaps Occupational Therapy mission is to help children develop their fullest potential for the tasks and roles of childhood. These tasks include playing, learning and acquiring self-care skills, as well as executing roles such as student, friend, sibling, and daughter or son. To meet each child’s area of need, we employ a variety of strategies, and the unique interests of the child guide the intervention. Often, the child is involved in designing goals and charting progress. Parents and caregivers are also integral to the process. We collaborate with families to create strategies that enhance daily routines and to design home activities that will accelerate their child’s progress. We help develop compensatory strategies and environmental accommodations needed to additionally enhance the child’s everyday functional performance. We also collaborate with other professionals on the child’s team, including teachers and school therapists.
Sensory Integration – To help a child self-regulate — turn the volume up or down on his/her experience of the world—we combine cognitive strategies with sensory integration intervention techniques. As a child gains an understanding of his/her arousal level and response to sensory stimulation, he/she can often find increased ease and comfort in his/her daily life. We use the concepts taught in the Alert Program and find that intervention is most effective when parents give feedback about the child's reactions to sensation at home and in the community.
As an adjunct to treatment, we create a sensory diet to help the child maintain an optimal state of arousal, and/or gain greater body awareness prior to performing skilled tasks. We may also utilize Therapeutic Listening or Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) to aid the child in modulation and coordination of movement.
Gross Motor Coordination – An OT evaluation, which includes your valuable input, will assist in determining the extent to which dysfunctional sensory processing has contributed to your child's challenges.
Therapeutic intervention at Giant Leaps strengthens the foundational components of gross motor skill development. Other frames of reference or modalities may be used solely or in conjunction with sensory integration therapy as needed for each individual child. We commonly apply neurodevelopment technique (NDT), motor learning and cognitive strategies. Interactive Metronome, an inventive strategy requiring the participant to make targeted movements to an auditory stimulus, is used to help develop motor planning and bilateral coordination. Additionally, the interactive metronome program has had great success improving focus in children with attention deficits.
Fine Motor Coordination & Handwriting Skills – We analyze a child's fine motor activities to determine the underlying causes of problems and to identify strengths. We work on the challenging components of the task and use relative strengths to gain more skill. At times, we work on compensatory strategies to bypass the weak components altogether and obtain a successful, functional result.
Again, we keep it fun! We play with resistive putty and kaleidoscopes, perform finger plays, spin tops, and complete mazes. We may write on the wall, in shaving cream or over sandpaper. Or we may work on keyboarding skills. It all depends on the needs of the child.
Giant Leaps OT utilizes Handwriting Without Tears, a multi-sensory, developmentally based curriculum to help make handwriting an automatic skill. This strategy was chosen because of its adaptability with children of all ages. We use this program on a preschool level with Get Ready For School and continue to use strategies from this curriculum with teenagers as they prepare for the SAT.
Visual Motor Coordination & Visual Perceptual Skills – After we determine the nature of the problem, we use a multi-sensory approach to address the area of need. Specifically, we design activities to integrate vestibular and proprioceptive input with visual demands. We enlist the whole body and mind in focused, functional activities to achieve our goals. You may see us working on a swing throwing beanbags at moving targets, building structures according to models, or strategizing to complete puzzles. We may practice reading letters from near and far positions while shifting our balance, directly practice writing on chalkboards or lined paper or review written work to learn to self-correct.
To help the child gain independence, compensation strategies may be explored in addition to remediation. For example, a window cut out of a blank index card may help a child to read by reducing visual distractions. Graph paper with colored columns for the various numeric positions may aid a child to line up math equations properly. For writing on a computer, word prediction programs may help the child with poor visual memory for spelling and delayed phonemic awareness to write. Whatever the form of intervention, our goal is to increase function and help your child to feel good about what he or she can accomplish.
Activities of Daily Living – Brushing our teeth, tying our shoes, and buttoning a shirt are commonplace daily activities for most of us. However, not everyone finds these tasks to be simple. At Giant Leaps, we have successfully worked with many children who have difficulty learning these skills.
In order to facilitate learning for the child, we break down each targeted activity into easy-to-learn steps. In addition to using sensory integrative and biomechanical strategies, we may incorporate cognitive strategies, role modeling, pictures of the child performing each step, environmental cues, and repetition to foster independence in activities of daily living.
Social Skills Training – Many children with learning or motor delays also have trouble developing the social sensitivity necessary to forming and sustaining relationships with peers. We have created a social skills group at Giant Leaps to address this need, the HIGH JUMPERS!
In a small group setting, our High Jumpers learn and practice the essential elements of friendship. A variety of themes, such as "Winning and Losing," "Listening to Others", and "What am I Feeling?" are explored in the context of engaging play activities and crafts. Children learn how to identify feelings in themselves and others and how to talk through the conflicts and miscommunications that arise in their play.
Drawing upon their training in psychosocial development, two of our occupational therapists facilitate our social skills groups. Our groups are kept small to allow for adequate attention to individual as well as group needs. Parents are an essential element to our groups' successes. After receiving written and oral details about the week's mission, parents practice the work of the group at home during family and friend interactions.
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