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Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a division of rehabilitation medicine that helps individuals of all ages to develop the skills required to become more independent in their day to day life. Here at Chitter Chatter, our goal in occupational therapy is to help children develop fine motor skills, sensory processing, gross motor coordination, self-feeding skills, visual-motor integration skills, and dressing skills to help each individual grow to reach their full potential. 

 The first step in this process is to use standardized assessments that will help the practitioner understand your child and their strengths and weaknesses. With the parent as an integral part of the team, the occupational therapist will collaborate to create goals to give your child the skills to participate in everyday life. 

 From there, our occupational therapists understand that play is one of the most important occupations in a child’s day. We use play and creative activities to work towards goals. By increasing the challenge each week, the child will be pushed to learn new skills at a pace that is therapeutic and appropriate for them.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs Your Child May Need a Skilled Occupational Therapy Evaluation

For more details see the Centers for Disease Control Developmental Milestones 

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html 

Fine Motor

  • Your child is not picking up small objects with pincer grasp (thumb and index finger) by 12-18 months

  • Your child cannot clap hands or bring hands together by 12-18 months

  • Your child is not beginning to color with a fisted grasp by 12-18 months

Dressing

  • Your child is not taking off socks or shoes by 12 months

  • Your child is not helping to remove shirt and pants by 2 years old

  • Your child is not attempting to unbutton by 2.5 years old

Visual motor: 

  • Your child cannot imitate horizontal line, vertical line, or circle by 2.5 years 

  • Your child holds writing utensils with a fisted grasp after the age of 2

  • Sensory Regulation

  • If your child frequently has tantrums or becomes upset during haircuts, brushing teeth, bathtime, brushing hair, etc. 

  • If your child struggles with loud noises or bright lights

  • If you feel your child is always on the move, running, jumping, swinging, climbing on furniture, etc. 

  • If your child struggles with tags on clothing or unfamiliar people touching them when unexpected (i.e. holding hands with a new teacher, if they bump into someone in the grocery story)

 
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Procedural Skills

 

Feeding Therapy: During the initial evaluation, our clinician will discuss with the family what concerns they have regarding feeding. Our clinicians are trained in oral motor, sensory, and behavioral based evaluations and interventions. In order to eat, a child must first have the oral motor skills to manipulate food in their mouth safely and effectively. If the child demonstrates competent oral motor skills but, instead, demonstrates sensory dysregulation in relation to feeding skills, such as poor tolerance for messy play (i.e. getting their hands dirty) this may be targeted. Other children may have a limited food inventory and will work on including more food into their diet. Our clinicians will determine the best plan, in collaboration with the family, to allow the child to eat a variety of food in a safe manner.

Our clinicians are trained in: 

  • Beckman Oral Motor

  • Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding

Signs Your Child May Need Occupational Therapy to Address Feeding Concerns: 

  • Difficulty breathing while feeding or eating

  • Coughing, choking, or gagging during or after swallowing

  • Inability to chew foods that are texturally age-appropriate

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Excessive drooling

  • Refusing foods based on type or texture

  • Weight loss or lack of weight gain