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Occupational therapy at Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy focuses on the whole child and their relationship with the world around them. Common reasons that our clients receive occupational therapy include sensory processing deficits, difficulties with behavioral modulation and emotional regulation, Dyspraxia, Autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and/or delays in play, social skills, coordination, attention, handwriting and motor skills. Our occupational therapists help children succeed in meeting the daily occupations of childhood: play, school, and self-help skills.
Diedra has been a positive part of our lives for over five years. She has been a resource for us when needed - she is just an email away if something comes up between visits.
Many of the kids referred to occupational therapy have trouble handling the information their senses take in such as sound, touch, taste, sight, and smell. In addition to these common senses, two other senses are less well known. The vestibular sense involves movement, balance, and coordination, and proprioception is the sense of body awareness. Kids with sensory processing difficulties misinterpret everyday sensory information; either feeling bombarded by the sensory sensory world or seeking out intense sensory experiences. The occupational therapists at Whole Circle have advanced training in assessing and treating sensory processing and sensory integration disorders.
common signs of sensory processing difficulties :
OVERLY SENSITIVE OR UNDER REACTIVE TO TOUCH, MOVEMENTS, SIGHTS, OR SOUNDS
DIFFICULTY WITH BEHAVIORAL AND/OR EMOTIONAL REGULATION
EASILY UPSET OR OVERWHELMED BY EVERYDAY THINGS
RIGID AND DIFFICULT WITH TRANSITIONS
POOR RESPONSE TO BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION
DIFFICULTY LEARNING HOW TO PLAY OR GET ALONG WITH OTHER CHILDREN
DIFFICULTY WITH EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES LIKE EATING, SLEEPING, BRUSHING TEETH, OR GETTING DRESSED
PROBLEMS LEARNING TO COLOR, CUT, DRAW, OR WRITE
DIFFICULTY WITH TRANSITIONING FROM ONE ACTIVITY OR PLACE TO ANOTHER
PROBLEMS LEARNING TO WALK, JUMP, SKIP, RIDE A BIKE, OR PLAY SPORTS
executive functioning + emotional regulation
Executive function is a group of important mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. Deficits in executive functioning skills lead to difficulties with focus, poor organization, following directions, and handling emotions. Children can learn to both improve these skills as well as create strategies to compensate for areas of difficulty. Executive functioning deficits negatively impact kids of all ages, but may become increasingly challenging as students reach middle and high school.
common signs of struggling with executive skills :
HAVING TROUBLE STARTING OR COMPLETING TASKS
HAVING DIFFICULTY PRIORITIZING TASKS
FORGETTING WHAT THEY JUST SAID OR READ
HAVING TROUBLE FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS OR A SEQUENCE OF STEPS
PANIC WHEN RULES OR ROUTINES CHANGE
HAVING TROUBLE SWITCHING FOCUS FROM ONE TASK TO ANTOHER
GETTING OVERLY EMOTIONAL AND FIXATING ON THINGS
HAVING TROUBLE ORGANIZING THEIR THOUGHTS
HAVING TROUBLE KEEPING TRACK OF THEIR BELONGINGS
HAVING TROUBLE MANAGING THEIR TIME
fine motor skills + handwriting
When a child struggles to use their hands and fingers to hold, manipulate, and use objects, they could be experiencing a fine motor delay. Fine motor skills are essential for performing everyday skills like self care tasks (e.g. clothing fastenings, opening lunch boxes, cleaning teeth, using cutlery) and academic skills (e.g. pencil skills of drawing, writing and coloring, cutting). Without the ability to complete these every day tasks, a child’s self esteem can suffer and their academic performance is compromised. They may also be unable to develop appropriate independence in life skills (such as getting dressed and feeding themselves).
common signs of fine motor skill difficulties :
HAVING AN AWKWARD OR JUVENILE PENCIL GRASP FOR THEIR AGE
HAVING MESSY, SLOW, OR LABORIOUS DRAWING, COLORING, OR WRITING SKILLS
FATIGUE QUICKLY WHEN TYPING OR USING A MOUSE ON A COMPUTER
HAVING DIFFICULTY OR ACHIEVING A MESSY OUTCOME WHEN USING SCISSORS
HAVING DIFFICULTY PERFORMING PRECISE MANIPULATION TASKS LIKE BUTTONING, THREADING, OR TYING SHOELACES.
STRONG DISLIKE FOR PRECISE HAND EYE COORDINATION TASKS OR CONSTRUCTION
HAVING DIFFICULTY PERFORMING AGE APPROPRIATE SELF-CARE TASKS INDEPENDENTLY
HAVING DIFFICULTY MASTERING NEW FINE MOTOR SKILLS
TIRING EASILY WHEN ENGAGED IN FINE MOTOR SKILLS
praxis + motor skills
Movement involves planning and ordering new muscle (motor) actions (known as praxis). It involves first generating an idea of what you want to do (ideation), figuring out how you are going to do it (motor planning) and then doing or carrying out what you wanted to do (execution). Integration of the brain and the senses (e.g. touch, movement, vision, hearing) are required for good planning and sequencing. People with poor planning and sequencing may have to think and work harder to complete new physical tasks.
common signs of gross motor difficulties :
AVOIDANCE OR GENERAL DISINTEREST IN PHYSICAL TASKS
RUSHING TASK PERFORMANCE OF PHYSICAL TASKS TO MASK DIFFICULTY
SILLY TASK PERFORMANCE OF PHYSICAL TASKS THEY FIND CHALLENGING
BOSSINESS IN TELLING OTHERS HOW TO DO PHYSICAL TASKS OR PLAY GAMES WITHOUT ACTIVELY ENGAGING THEMSELVES
self-care + independence skills
As kids get older, their needs change and the therapeutic interventions may shift focus. Independent living skills encompass many skill areas including, but not limited to, personal care (dressing, grooming, and hygiene), food preparation, clothing management (laundry, sorting, identification), money management, personal organization (materials and time management), household maintenance, and transportation. Occupational therapy can help older clients learn important life skills they will need after graduation.
We loved working with Maureen! My daughter immediately felt a connection to her and still asks to go to OT even though we graduated. She is kind, caring, and patient.
skills we teach in
self-care + independence sessions :
NAVIGATING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
MEAL PLANNING AND COOKING
PERSONAL CARE ROUTINES
PERFORMING HYGIENE TASKS SUCH AS LAUNDRY
BUDGETING AND MONEY MANAGEMENT
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. At Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy, we utilize the strategies introduced by Michelle Garcia Winner and Social Thinking. Emphasis is placed on helping children learn to understand their social world by better understanding their own thoughts, actions, and feelings as well as those of others. We utilize and integrate curriculums such as Zones of Regulation, We Thinkers, and Superflex during therapy sessions.