Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession with the aim of fostering the motor, sensory, and executive functioning skills. These skills are foundational to your child’s ability to participate in the things he or she wants and needs to do as part of their daily life. This includes self-care, functional play, and school-related tasks. Children with autism, Down syndrome, and other special needs benefit greatly from occupational therapy intervention to support and bolster these many areas of development.
Occupational Therapists are skilled in using a variety of strategies, particularly the child’s natural “occupation” of play, to address motor development, adaptive skills, daily life skills, self-regulation and sensory needs. Adaptive and daily life skills include things like brushing teeth, toileting, opening containers, writing, and getting dressed. OTs can also help children who struggle with sensitivity to touch and clothing textures, light and sound sensitivity, as well as balance and body positioning in space.
Healing Haven’s Occupational Therapy services provide one service location for children receiving ABA therapy, as well as the opportunity for therapists to collaborate. Get to know our OT team here.
Occupational therapy services are also available to families not participating in Healing Haven’s ABA therapy programs. To discuss options, please fill out the form on our Contact Us page.
Below is a summary of the process to begin Occupational Therapy services at Healing Haven and the areas and skills a child may need support with:
We accept the following insurance plans for occupational therapy services: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, HAP, Aetna, Priority Health, Cigna and United Healthcare. We also have private pay rates available for those who do not have insurance coverage.
An individualized evaluation will occur one week prior to your child starting services. This allows the Occupational Therapist to devise a child-centered treatment plan custom-tailored to their greatest needs and priorities for personal growth. The level of medical necessity will be determined at this time to establish the number of sessions per week from which your child would optimally benefit.
Following the evaluation, our Occupational Therapists work 1:1 with your child to strategically engage in their primary occupation of playing and learning in order to develop essential motor, sensory, and cognitive skills. They will work to build the skills and confidence for your child to thrive in their various environments with greater engagement and independence.
We will determine if a comprehensive team approach will help your child. Even if your child is not receiving ABA therapy, our OTs have access to our behavior therapists to brainstorm ideas to benefit your child.
Within your child’s treatment plan, Occupational Therapists can address areas of need including:
Fine Motor Skills:
- Finger dexterity, precision grasp, finger isolation, and in-hand manipulation skills
- Bilateral coordination (using both hands together) through play with a number of toys and fine motor objects
- Tracing and coloring skills
- Handwriting skills
- Cutting, gluing, folding, and tearing skills
- Hand and finger strengthening to open containers, snack packages, marker caps, toothpaste tubes, etc.
Sensory Motor Skills:
- Core strength
- Overall balance skills
Visual Motor/Perceptual Skills:
- Matching, locating, and identifying items in various environments
- Visual scanning to support reading
- Completing puzzles, crafts, and basic structures or models
- Using a mouse or keyboard to engage with computer tasks
- Hand-eye coordination skills
Activities of Daily Living:
- Dressing: putting on and taking off clothes, socks, and shoes; manipulating fasteners including zippers, buttons, snaps, and shoelaces
- Self-Feeding: Using a knife and fork without spillage, spreading with a knife, cutting with knife and fork, drinking from a straw or open cup
- Bathing, Toileting, and Grooming: brushing teeth, brushing hair, washing face, washing hands, wiping after toileting
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living:
- Set up and cleanup of meals
- Organization and care for possessions
- Laundry and dishwashing
- Care of others or pets
- Coin identification and money management
- Grocery shopping
- Responding appropriately to a variety of sensory stimulation including visual, auditory, tactile, vestibular, proprioception, taste and smell. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Desensitization to clothing items including socks, shoes, collared shirts, hats, and helmets
- Desensitization to food smells and textures to support a nutritious and well-rounded diet
- Use of a sensory diet to increase regulation for tolerance of seated activities
Sequencing and Executive Functioning Skills:
- Following two-step verbal directions
- Completing multistep processes
- Following written directions to complete a task or activity
- Attention to engage in age-appropriate life skills
Our Occupational Therapy team is also trained in use of the Interoception Curriculum. Interoception is an evidence-based intervention which can improve your child’s ability to notice and respond to internal body signals in order to self-regulate more independently. The interoceptive system is our body’s “eighth” sense. It allows us to perceive body sensations (e.g, upset stomach, racing heart, dry mouth) and associate these signals with an emotion or biological need (e.g., hunger/thirst, anxiety, sadness). Dependent upon your child’s needs, the Interoception Curriculum may be incorporated into their plan of care to increase ability to notice these body signals and proactively use appropriate sensory strategies to achieve self-regulation.
For more information or to get your child started with occupational therapy services, please contact us.