Pediatric Occupational, Physical,
Behavior, Nutrition, Speech
and Language Therapies
1445 East 10th Street
Cookeville, TN 38501
Phone: (931) 372-2567   Please call today to get started!
Fax: (931) 372-2572

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Home > What is Occupational Therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy?

What can you expect us to evaluate and treat?

OT Evaluation Information

Occupation???  Confusing to hear this when we think of a child.  But what are the "occupations" of a child?  Developing motor skills, crawling, creeping, walking, playing, eating, learning, school academics, paying attention, dressing, leisure skills, writing, reading, sports...the list is endless on what "occupations"  a child needs to learn! 

Occupational therapy focuses on how to help a child achieve all the skills needed to be the best they can be!

We treat many diagnosis of pediatrics.  Examples include:  low muscle tone, motor delays, Learning Disorders, Dyslexia, Autism, Developmentally Delayed, ADHD/ADD, reading delays, Sensory Processing Disorders, and behavioral disorders that are related to sensory issues. 

We essentially treat any child that is having difficulty  functioning on a developmentally appropriate level and it is interfering with their academic, social, emotional, and other life skills or "occupations".

We use assessments and treatment approaches that are very in depth so that treatment plans and goals address underlying developmental issues.  Our treatment sessions are much more intensive than educational therapies, since we are medically based therapy. 

By treating the lower levels of the brain processing first (ex. sensory functions, developmental milestones, motor coordination, sensory processing, sequencing), then working up to higher cortical tasks (ex. reading, writing, math, complex problem solving, self esteem, sensory integration) we can give the child the building blocks and developmental skills needed to developing more normally and reach optimum higher cortical functioning for the rest of their life!

Medical Based OT evaluations will include:

1. Developmental Milestones: which ones were missed, which ones done incorrectly, crossing of midline, coordination of opposite sides of the body such as creeping and crawling patterns, crossing midline, sequencing body movements, reflexive patterns and integration of reflexes, timing and sequencing, long and short term memory, hand, eye, leg, and ear dominance, motor coordination.

Standardized tests and clinical observations are used depending on age and ability.  Bayley Scales of Infant Development is used for 5 and under.  BOT-2 is used for 5 and up. 

If any developmental milestone such as creeping less than 4 months is missed or impaired, then there is usually a consequence in development later in life, usually seen by 6-7 years when it is time to learn to read or sit longer in class.

By doing therapy to "fix" these developmental delays, we can greatly change how the child learns, attends, and focuses. 

2. Sensory Processing:  

In depth evaluation of the Power Sensations:  Vestibular (3 semicircular canals isolated and tested), Ocular movements separate from Vestibular and vica versa, Proprioceptive (joint and muscle reception, muscle tone, coordination), Tactile (processing of light and deep touch), Auditory filtering of input, Visual Processing, Reflexes and Integration of those reflexes, and Attention in many differing environments.

Attention and focus in sitting is greatly dependent upon adequate sensory processing, vestibular processing and core strength. If there is a disturbance in sensory processing skills, then this shows up as in-attention, fidgeting, inability to sit still, and poor visual focus.

 3. Perceptual skills: Visual perceptual skills with standardized testing pre and post therapy to show results, long and short term memory, hemisphere dominance, handwriting and left-right laterality and directionality skills are assessed.  We use standardized tests like the BOT-2, VMI, Jordan and more if needed. 

Difficulties with visual perceptual skills can cause delays in reading, writing, visual scanning worksheets, visual attention, and even cause reversals in reading and writing. 

4.  Fine Motor Skills and Self-Help:  In depth evaluation of fine motor abilities for a child's daily life skills will be assessed using standardized testing and clinical observations.

Delays in fine motor coordination can greatly affect a child's self esteem and cause frustration in school and home skills.  Early treatment of fine motor and self help delays is essential to help them gain more confidence and prevent awkard grasp patterns. 

5.  Balance and Motor Coordination:  A child's balance skills can greatly affect their ability to sit and attend in a chair at school, or do well in sports.  Their balance and coordination skills directly affect their playground skills and normal development.  We believe that a child's balance, motor coordination, and overall motor development along with their sensory processing skills are the foundation to improving functional skills.  Standardized testing along with clinical observations will be used in evaluations to determine their balance, vestibular functioning, vestibular-visual-proprioceptive integration, and overall motor coordination. 

Occupational therapy sessions that integrate motor coordination skills along with sensory processing skills are more effective and can help get quicker outcomes!  Using an therapist that is trained in sensory integration and motor development can help your child reach their developmental goals quicker! 

4. Medical History: possible food allergies or sensitivities discussed, nutritional needs, developmental lags such as poor creeping and crawling patterns, illnesses, history of ear infections or fluid on the ears, sensory processing issues, and other important factors in developmental history that can cause missed or delayed neuro-development.

We have many referal resources for these issues as well to help the family begin to understand the cause of their child's delay and treat the cause rather then the symptoms.

We feel that medications should only be used when all attempts to find the cause and treat it have been exhausted. We would rather treat the cause of the child's inattention, behaviors, developmental delays... then to give medications that only cover up the problem and often cause many severe side effects. 

Most children who receive pediatric therapies no longer need any medications!  We can help prevent the need earlier by doing therapy before deciding to even start a child on a medication.  

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