Our mission is to offer Pediatric Occupational Therapy services with a focus on Sensory Integration and its impact on learning and behavior. We believe in intervention as early as possible to help facilitate growth and prevent further delays. We treat each child based upon his/her developmental level rather than diagnosis and create an individualized and customized plan for that child. Each child has an inner drive to do their best, and it is our job as clinicians to help that child reach his/her fullest potential. We encourage caregivers to participate in their child’s treatment program and help to educate and empower them as an integral part of their child’s growth and maturation.
As Occupational Therapists in a Pediatric setting, we look at the “whole” child and use a holistic treatment model. We help children acquire or gain skills needed to perform activities of daily living. When a child first comes to us, they typically present a delay in activities they should be performing at their particular age, including delays in gross motor skills (i.e. throwing a ball, balance, jumping), fine motor skills (i.e. using utensils when eating, holding small objects, holding a marker or scissors, handwriting), praxis skills (i.e. attempting and mastering new skills), self-help skills (i.e. buttoning, zipping, dressing), attention to tasks (i.e. uneven levels of arousal, difficulty focusing in class, impulsive, unable to follow directions), and/or behavior (i.e. acting out due to hypersensitivity to sound, movement and/or visual stimuli, emotional dysregulation, frequent tantrums). We address all of these needs with a focus on the underlying layers first that foster higher-level learning.
What is Sensory Integration
Sensory Integration is based on the theories developed by Dr. Jean Ayres in the 1970s. She theorized that children and adults have difficulty processing sensory stimuli from their body and environment, which impacts academic and motor learning. More specifically, Sensory Integration is the ability to register, organize, and adapt to different sensations that occur in everyday life. This information can be perceived through seven sensory systems: olfactory (smell), auditory (hearing), visual (sight), gustatory (taste), tactile (touch), vestibular (pull of gravity and movement of the head in space), and proprioception (body position and movement of joints and muscles). Sensory information is first perceived by these systems and then, through sensory integration/sensory processing, registered and differentiated by the body.
We believe that we all have Sensory Processing challenges. It may be the tag in our shirt that bothers us, the need for complete silence when reading a book, the need to chew on our pen cap during times of stress, but it is not until it impacts our daily life that it becomes an issue. The environmental processing through our senses is not a foreign concept; it is something we do each and every day without thought. For children with sensory processing difficulties, it can be hard to get a haircut, tolerate change in routine, interact with peers, focus in class, watch a movie at the theatre, sit through a lecture, follow directions or write a story. This is when intervention is needed and can help.