All behavioral programs are not the same because any good program should be customized for the developmental objectives and abilities of the specific child who is receiving the treatment.
Hence, it is important that parents or caregiver research the credentials and experience of any Behavior Consultant prior to considering the intervention for your child. Ay Symbiosis, we have Behavior Consultants who are experienced in behavior planning and implementation. Our Consultant’s primary responsibility is the initial implementation of the Behavior plan and regular monitoring/revision to ensure your child’s intervention program remains relevant and appropriate during the duration of intervention.
At Symbiosis, we are able to provide more comprehensive and wide-ranging treatments for children who need our support. Lot of other service providers focus on one specific aspect of treatment for your child (for example, an Occupational Therapist may focus on sensory dysfunction, a Behavior Consultant might focus on behavior approaches etc.) but we take a holistic approach of treatment and which are embedded in our treatment protocols. If we are not able to provide some of the interventions, we would let you know the options available elsewhere, so you can make an informed choice.
Yes – and it is preferable for the parents to be involved in their child’s behavior program.
Parents can help their child to generalize the learnt skills and continue using them outside of the therapy session and in different environments. However, we do not encourage parents to do the bulk of the therapy hours because of risk of burn-out.
The approach taken for teaching skills to your child will be based on a process of modelling the appropriate behavior, practicing the skill and providing constructive feedback. Each session will cover a different social skill, but children will be encouraged to continue utilizing skills from previous weeks in each session.Often we use a “reward” system with children to encourage learning and application of new skills. The reward system can be applied both in the social group setting and by parents when the child is at home.
Every child is different, so there is no “normal” duration of treatment. Notwithstanding, any behavior program is a long term treatment program that requires consistency and patience. In most cases, most children receive treatment for 1-3 years but with a reduced model of service after some period of time after implementation of the intervention program.
Research has demonstrated that “more is better” when it comes to behavior intervention therapy. In general, our Intervention program requires a minimum of 20 hours a week for a program to be effective. This therapy could be a combination of direct intervention with the child and/or parent training session.
Your child does not need to join a social skills group but it is likely be very beneficial for them especially if they struggle with appropriate social behavior and interaction.
Your child will benefit from learning and interacting in a structured environment with their peer group. By observing and interacting with others, your child will should be able to better understand his/her own feelings as well as behaviors of others. Group settings also allow your child to practice behavior in a social setting with their peer group in a safe environment.
Occupational Therapists play an active and vital role in the development of all children. Below are a few examples of specific skills that can be addressed in children through OT intervention.
Fine Motor Skills
Children may face difficulties in using classroom supplies such as pencils, crayons, erasers, glue sticks etc. They may also find it challenging to manage fasteners such as buttons, zippers and laces. Their small hand muscles may not have the strength and coordination that is needed for those tasks. An OT utilizes the knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics and neurology to understand the missing components that may be hampering the development of a child’s hand functions. Through various therapeutic activities the child’s hands can get stronger and more coordinated, thus allowing him to experience greater mastery, increased skill and independence.
Gross Motor Skills
Children may show some delays in achieving gross motor milestones like crawling, walking, running, catching and throwing or simple jumping activities. These challenges later make it difficult for them to keep up with their peers. These children may avoid the playground, physical games or sports that other children their age find highly rewarding. An OT is the appropriate professional to address the child’s needs in this area. Please call our office to discuss what services can be provided by us to support your child.
Some children have significant difficulty with eating. They either eat a very limited repertoire of foods and / or gag very easily when trying new foods. These children are often referred to as “picky” eaters. Our therapists take a complete history of those foods that the children will eat including but not limited to taking note of the various temperatures, colors and textures the child will tolerate. Treatment for these children focuses on the sensory system that may be oversensitive and incorporates experiences with total body exploration as well as oral exploration. New foods are incrementally introduced following a protocol of what is more likely to be tolerated.
Handwriting skills from the basics of letter formation to taking class notes legibly can be extremely difficult for some children to learn. Occupational Therapists uncover the underlying causes of a child’s difficulty in this area. The child may have weakness, coordination deficits, sensory limitations that do not allow easy control of the pencil, visual tracking deficits or motor planning limitations. Occupational Therapists use a multisensory approach to handwriting remediation that is based on the foundations of hand anatomy, biomechanics and sensory functioning. OTs are familiar with the handwriting programs that are often utilized in your local school district and can be the expert you need to maximize their effectiveness.
Visual Perceptual and Visual Motor Intervention
From stacking blocks and doing puzzles to writing letters appropriately, a child must be able to perceive differences and relationships between objects in the environment. Occupational Therapists help children discover these relationships and begin a map of the spatial planning that is required to function in our world. All skills are learned through play as children are provided with therapeutic experiences that progress from simple to complex. Through Occupational Therapy treatment improvements have been reported by parents in a child’s handwriting, organizational skills, play skills and school performance.
Our Therapists work with children to maximize each child’s potential by providing individualized sensory-motor challenges that require a child to perform with a little more skill each time. Children learn and improve their motor skills through therapeutic play. In addition, when children engage in motor challenges, they not only learn the skills, which are stored as the “joint and muscle memory” but also this learning have a great impact on their social & emotional development, self-esteem and peer relationships.
Our therapists utilize a play based individualized approach that helps each child thrive. All our children look forward to come for their therapy sessions every week as they realize that the therapist understands their needs and will help them develop their skills. Our children simply view their therapy sessions as “play” with a special person in a fun filled environment.
Since therapy is play, it looks like play. The child is not aware that with every activities, the therapist has a therapeutic goal in mind and is moving towards those goals within each and every session. Many of the “equipments” are usually available in therapy catalogs however others are highly familiar and can be utilized in a new therapeutic way. Each treatment session is planned and customized for an individual child’s needs, goals and engages the particular child’s inner drive.
Occupational Therapy interventions can last from 3 months to few years depending on the severity of the child’s needs, parent’s goals and observable progress. The parent is given a choice to make informed decision after discussion with the therapist regarding the frequency and duration of service.
Therapy offered in a school district focuses on the “measureable” academic delays. If a child’s difficulties are not “measurable” and not significantly below average a child will often not get approved for therapy services at his / her school district. Private services can intervene and provide assistance to the students even though the school’s therapist might not identify them as significant.
School based services follow the frequency and duration based on their case load as well as based on their working days at a specific school. Private therapists follow the frequency and duration as requested by the parents and based on the assessment report and intervention goals.
We believe that if a child has a difficulty that is interfering with his /her daily functioning it makes sense to get a “trainer”. This holds true for sensory-motor functioning. If a child has a difficulty with sensory – motor functioning, an Occupational therapist can make a definite difference in the child’s daily life. The teacher and the parent may not know how to intervene to help and as a result the concerns may not resolve. “Practicing” a skill may help with that one skill but therapists are trained to understand the foundational skills that may be interfering. Our therapists work on the foundational skills so that a child can independently begin to master his / her environment.
Sensory Integration dysfunction or sensory processing difficulties are not caused by anything the parent did or did not do. Sensory processing difficulties are simply a weakness in that area of functioning for the child. We all have strengths and weaknesses and children do as well. If the child’s weakness in sensory processing is significant enough to interfere with a child’s self-esteem and / or ability to engage in the environment Occupational therapy services would be indicated.
It is believed that 95% of children on the autism spectrum have sensory integration difficulties. Children on the spectrum typically have a different way of perceiving the environment. This different sensory perception can interfere with the child’s ability to attend, have peer relationships and can interfere with learning. This alternate way of perceiving the environment can be highly distracting resulting in paying attention to less relevant stimuli rather than focusing on the stimuli that are necessary to complete a task.
There are many strategies that can be provided to a parent to help their child at home. Once a therapist gets to know your child, a home program can be provided that includes exercises, activities and suggestions that take into consideration your individual child’s current level of functioning. If you have not yet started therapy, an initial evaluation can be performed and you can be provided with ideas of what you can do at home.
Occupational therapy is a profession dedicated to improving an individual’s function and performance in everyday life. Through the use of therapeutic self-care, productivity and play activities, OT’s strive to maximize a person’s independence, enhance their development, and prevent disability.
Children’s productivity is play and learning, both of which are crucial for development. When a child’s ability is affected as a result of injury, illness, disability or disease, an occupational therapist can evaluate a child’s skills for daily activities, school performance and self care activities and compare them to what is developmentally appropriate for an age group. Treatment is focused on improving a child’s skill level to meet those of his/her peers.
Our pediatric therapists work with children to maximize each child’s potential by providing individualized sensory motor activities that require a child to perform with a little more skill each time. Children learn improved skills through therapeutic play. In addition, when children engage in these sessions, not only do their sensory processing and motor skills improve, we can also see a great impact on their social / emotional development, self esteem and peer relationships.
Our therapists use a variety of approaches including but not limited to Sensory Integration and Neuro Development Treatment through activities based in therapeutic play. The child is not aware that every step of the way a therapist has a therapeutic goal in mind and is moving towards those goals in each and every session. Many of the “toys” are usually available only in therapy catalogs however others are highly familiar and can be played with in a new therapeutic way. Each treatment session is planned and customized for an individual child’s needs, goals and that particular child’s inner drive to provide the ‘just right challenge’ for the child.
Our therapists use a playful, individualized approach to help your child reach his/her potential. Children view therapy as ‘play’ with a special friend and look forward to seeing their therapists every week.
Please contact us to provide some information about your child and a package of forms and questionnaires will be sent to you. These forms can also be downloaded from our website. Our office manager will then book an appointment with you and your child for a Comprehensive Assessment or a Clinical Consultation. Following either of these evaluations, treatment sessions can be booked based on our therapists’ availability and the child’s schedule.
For a child with a comprehensive OT assessment, only the Clinical Consultation will be indicated. This session will be spent on clinical observations of the child, going over the previous OT report and setting up OT goals with the family. A written report can also be provided upon request.
Sensory integration theory proposes that sensory integration is a neurobiological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. The spatial and temporal aspects of inputs from different sensory modalities are interpreted, associated, and unified.
Essentially, the theory holds that disordered sensory integration accounts for some aspects of learning disorders and that enhancing sensory integration will make academic learning easier for those children whose problem lies in that domain. (Source: http://www.siglobalnetwork.org).
NDT is a problem-solving approach to the examination and treatment of the impairments and functional limitations of individuals with neuropathology, primarily children with CP and adults with stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI). These individuals have dysfunction in posture and movement that lead to limitations in functional activity NDT focuses on the analysis and treatment of sensory-motor impairments and functional limitations that physical therapists (PT), Occupational Therapists (OT), and speech and language pathologists (SLP) can address. (Source: http://www.ndta.org).
There are many strategies that a parent or caregiver can use to help their child at home. Once your child starts therapy with our pediatric therapists, a home program can be provided that includes exercises, activities and suggestions that take into consideration your individual child’s current level of functioning. A Sensory Diet can be developed for the child if indicated. Suggestions to incorporate these strategies at home and school are also provided as part of the Comprehensive Assessment in the accompanying report.
Information for funding can be found on our Resource page under Funding Agencies. Occupational Therapy is not covered by M.S.P. but may be covered by some extended health plans and is a tax-deductible medical expense. Please contact our office for more information regarding funding.
Symbiosis provides Occupational Therapy intervention for children of ages ranging from infants through 16 years. The intervention is targeted to children who have a difficulty with participation in one or more of home, school and play environments.
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