As babies, we discover our world using our senses and movement – also known as our sensory-motor system. This system forms the foundation of how we later experience and interact with our environment. A child experiencing neuroatypicality (e.g., ADHD, ASD, FASD), disrupted attachments, mental health difficulties and/or trauma can have gaps in this foundation. This can present as struggling with self-regulation (big emotions), difficulties performing at school, home, or in social situations. Occupational therapists aim to address essential foundational sensory-motor components and development so clients can develop greater resilience and more fully engage in everyday activities.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is an integral part of our approach at OCFR and is integrated into all our clinics. It is a service that helps people regain functioning and/or develop skills so they can engage in activities of daily living (COTO). OTs look at a person’s different underlying issues such as movement, senses, affect, and cognition, as well as identify different aspects of their environment that influence their ability to function.
How do we help?
Using a trauma-informed approach, our occupational therapists will focus on restoring a person’s sense of control, safety, and stability in their body, world, and relationships. They observe the body’s reactions and reflexes, movement, and responses to sensations to understand how the child regulates by themself and with their caregiver(s).
Some characteristics of children and teens who may be helped by OT:
- Difficulty engaging in self-care, school, play, or relationships
- Needs more help with daily activities than their peers (e.g., difficulty with toileting, hygiene, dressing)
- Avoids or craves different sensations (e.g., sounds, light, touch, smell, taste, movement, deep pressure, or oral stimulation) to the point that it interferes with their day
- Extremely active and constantly moving
- Very passive and always isolating from others
- Has meltdowns when overwhelmed by the environment
- Occupational Performance Coaching (OPC): Therapists coach parents to identify barriers and develop problem solving skills that help children engage more fully in their home and community (school, day care) life. Sessions can take place remotely or in-person.