Occupational Therapy Evaluation
During an occupational therapy evaluation, standardized testing and clinical observations are combined to evaluate a range of gross motor skills and core muscle control, fine motor skills (including handwriting), cognitive and visual perceptual skills, and sensory processing. Parent and teacher concerns are combined with the testing results to guide treatment goals. Specific recommendations are devised to help each child thrive within their home, school,
and social environments.
Fine Motor Intervention
Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the hand and allow for refinement of grasping and manipulating small objects, hand dominance, and bilateral control (using both hands together in a coordinated effort). Skills in this area include: using writing tools, scissors, eating utensils, buttons and zippers, tying shoe laces, opening bags and containers, and playing with various toys. Specific games, toys, and fine-motor manipulation exercises are used to strengthening and improve muscle coordination so that your child is able to participate and complete everyday activities with ease and efficiency.
Handwriting remediation focuses on the skills needed to be successful for children from pre-school through high school. Therapy involves improving hand mechanics, which include: the muscles of the hand, wrist, forearm, and shoulder. All of these areas need to work properly to be successful with any formal handwriting instruction. Through muscle control exercises, repetition of motor planning, and multi-sensory input, children increase the accuracy of letter formation, spacing, and fluency in writing.
Sensory Integration is the brain’s ability to organize sensory information from one’s own body and the environment, thus making it possible for the body to respond appropriately and effectively. During therapy, specific activities are chosen to address touch, pressure, movement, body in space awareness, and the visual and auditory systems. A “sensory diet” along with the following programs are utilized to create a comprehensive plan to balance out sensory processing:
- Therapeutic Brushing
- Therapeutic Listening Program
- ALERT-How Does Your Engine Run
- Vestibular Integration
Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT)
Motor delays often result from either low (loose) or high (tight) muscle tone. No matter where motion starts, it ripples upward and downward through the core. That means a strong, flexible core underpins almost everything you do. NDT uses therapy balls, rolls, and specifically designed positions of play to target core muscle strength, motor coordination, and improve core control and balance.
Cognitive and Visual Perceptual Skills
Thinking, reasoning, problem solving and visual perception are important for all stages of learning. During treatment sessions, activities are selected that target specific areas such as visual tracking, scanning, shape recognition, eye-hand coordination, puzzle building, patterning, and drawing. Through the exercises, your child will learn to work with these visual materials and increase their attention, spatial planning, initiation, and processing of visually based information.
Children know when they are challenged but are not always good at telling us. When participation is difficult, excessive effort and energy is used to complete tasks. To improve these difficulties, therapeutic activities are selected to work on the following:
- Sensory regulation
- Awareness of body in space
- Attention and focus
- Perceptual knowledge
- Graphomotor skills and fine-motor control (writing, drawing, scissor use, block and puzzle building)
Activities of Daily Living are basic self-care activities, such as feeding, bathing, dressing, work, and play. Hand coordination, body balance, strength, and perceptual skills are all needed to accomplish these activities. During therapy, motor planning and muscle control activities are used to develop the fine motor manipulation, coordination, and balance necessary for independence in daily activities.