FACTS AND INFORMATION ON PEDIATRIC THERAPYFOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN
Here you can find information regarding pediatric therapy for neurologically-based needs to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a broad scope of diagnoses of developmental difficuties.
ABOUT OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY FOR CHILDREN
The primary goal of pediatric occupational therapy is to enable children to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by enabling children to do things that will enhance their ability to participate or by modifying the environment to better support participation.
Play is considered the ‘job’ of a child – this is where they learn how to interact with the world, learn the rules of socializing, and develop their cognitive, language, and motor coordination skills.
At school, a child learns the basic skills they will need as an adult out in ‘the real world’. As a teenager, we learn own sense of self, our passions and interests, and make decisions about our skills and future.
A child’s occupations will typically include self-care activities, play and social interactions, and learning. If a child is having difficulty in performing any of these tasks, an OT will look at what components of the task are providing an obstacle, and work together with the child and their family to help the child successfully participate in their daily occupations. This might include showing the child how to do the task more effectively, changing the requirement of the task to suit the skills of the child, or changing the environment to support independence.
An OT working with children helps kids having difficulties with sensory integration, gross motor, fine motor, visual perception, behavioral, and self-care. These may include:
Play with peers
Sports or physical activity
WHAT IS SENSORY INTEGRATION?
The sensory system takes information from the surrounding environment through touch, smell, sound, vision, taste, movement and gravity. It processes or interprets these sensations together to make sense of the environment. The ability to process and integrate these sensations is important for efficient operation of the nervous system and the parts of the body that work with the nervous system.
Once our brain has made sense of the information, it sends signals to our body to make appropriate responses to perform the skills required. The ability to process sensory information is vital for children to learn and explore, and begin to understand where they fit in the world around them.
We rely on different sensations to provide us with alerting (chewing gum helps us to concentrate in exams), and calming (patting helps babies to fall asleep) input to our brain. This allows us to be at an optimal level of alertness to learn from our surroundings and experiences.
WHEN THERE IS A SENSORY INTEGRATIVE DYSFUNCTION (SID)
For some children, the brain does not process or organize the flow of sensory messages in a way that gives the child precise information about themselves and their world. As a result, children may feel very uncomfortable or have difficulty coping with the stress of daily sensory and organizational demands.
This inability of the brain to correctly process information brought in by the senses often results in behavioural difficulties:
Liken to a traffic jam in the brain
A feeling of being out-of-sync, out of tune, out of touch, out of order, out of control, or just “out of it”
Inability to function happily in daily life and interact successfully with the world and others around them
Responds in an atypical way to sensations, especially in connection with physical impairments, developmental delays, medical issues, or appropriate emotional response to problems
SPEECH THERAPY FOR CHILDREN WITH AN ASD
Speech pathologists play an integral role in the assessment and treatment of children with an ASD, and report the assessment results and clinical information to the other members of the multi-disciplinary team. Speech pathologists have expertise in the areas of social communication, speech and language development, learning and cognitive abilities, and play skills.
Speech pathologists are involved in the diagnosis and intervention for delayed language and other communication problems, including the lack of appropriate use of language in social settings, which are associated with ASD.