Occupational therapy (OT) is a science-based healthcare profession that helps people of all ages with a wide range of physical, mental and learning disabilities and conditions (including those caused by illnesses, injuries, and aging). Occupational therapists help patients re-gain independence by improving their ability to complete everyday tasks (such as learning, work, communication, and other everyday life activities).
OT therapists assess each patient’s physical, psychological, social, and environmental needs, and design the treatment plan accordingly. During these assessments, the therapists ask patients a list of questions to learn about the patient’s complete medical history, determine current complaints and problems, and identify the appropriate treatment goals.
This is a specialized branch of occupational therapy which helps older adults (over 65) with a wide array of issues, including:
OT was found to be particularly helpful for the elderly, as it helps them gain more independence in everyday activities; improve balance, strength and mobility; and promote cognitive functioning. OT therapists can also provide advice about how to create a safer home environment for seniors, by identifying and managing risks (such as risk of falls and fractures).
Neurological occupational therapy involves the treatment of people with functional movement disorders originating from problems in the nervous and neuromuscular systems.
These conditions are often associated with muscle weakness, poor balance and coordination, uncontrolled muscle spasm and tremors, loss of function, decreased sensation, and cognitive deficits or changes. Common neurological conditions include:
Neurological occupational therapists develop effective interventions to assist patients regain and maintain maximum functional independence, by helping them create new neural pathways through repeated activity and exercise.
Neurological disorders can significantly affect the lives of patients, family, and friends. Disturbance in the movement of messages between the brain and the body can result in the loss of movement, sensation, coordination, and balance, while affecting other body functions, such as perception, speech, memory, cognition, and behavior. That’s why neurological occupational therapists have to work closely with other members of the multidisciplinary team, including speech and language therapists, physiotherapist, dieticians, and homecare staff. Effective communication between the patient, family members, and the multidisciplinary team is critical to positive outcomes.
At Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) , we are fully aware that rehabilitative therapy can be overwhelming for a young child. Therefore, our considerate specialists do their best to treat children with tender care and patience, working hard to make the therapy experience pleasant and fun for the child. The Center offers one-to-one and group sessions, as well as complete assessments and treatments out of the center. We work with children, as well as their parents and caregivers, to evaluate and treat a broad range of complex needs and conditions.
Pediatric occupational therapy helps children gain independence and develop stronger fine, sensory, and visual motor skills which they need to function and socialize properly. Occupational therapists make a holistic assessment for each child to determine areas of delays or limitations in fine motor skills, cognitive skills, and social development. Together, these skills help children grow into healthy and well-functioning adults. Interventions are, then, designed based on the results of the assessment.
Children may require occupational therapy with or without the presence of a medical condition. A child may need to see an occupational therapist for many reasons, including:
• Birth injuries or birth defects
• Sensory processing disorders
• Traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
• Autism and other developmental disorders
• Behavioral problems
• Developmental delays
• Post-surgical hand conditions
• Spina bifida
• Cerebral palsy and other chronic illnesses
Sensory integration is the process by which we interpret and organize the information we receive from our sensory system, to produce purposeful and adaptive behaviors in response to this input. Our sensory system includes vision, auditory, gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell), tactile (touch), proprioceptive (joint position sense), and vestibular (balance and movement). The effective integration of these sensations enables us to develop the skills needed to successfully participate in major life activities, such as care of self and others, engagement with people and objects, and participation in social contexts.
Sensory integration dysfunction can limit a child’s ability to attend to tasks, perform coordinated motor actions, plan and sequence novel tasks, develop social relationships, manage classroom demands, perform self-care tasks, or participate in family activities. The Ayres Sensory Integration approach (ASI) mainly addresses the issues and concerns related to sensory processing disorders.
Research shows that 40%–80% of children and 3%–11% of adults with developmental disabilities also have significant sensory processing difficulties. Sensory integration disorders can also occur in 10%–12% of individuals with no identified diagnostic condition in the general population. Treatment referrals are most likely to come from children (from birth to adolescence) who are struggling academically without a clear diagnosis, as well as children with specific diagnoses such as: autism spectrum disorder, learning disability, nonverbal learning disability, developmental delay, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), regulatory disorder, and developmental coordination disorder.
Our licensed sensory integration therapists design careful intervention plans aimed to improve the child’s sensory processing and functional skills. All interventions are closely monitored by the therapists and conducted in a physically and emotionally safe environment rich in tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular stimuli. These sensory experiences help the children develop adaptive responses to the surrounding setting, while challenging them to generate ideas about what to do, create plans of how to implement these ideas, and carry out the plans successfully. Many therapeutic activities are also designed to promote postural control and balance, through the use of specialized equipment such as suspended apparatus, scooters, and balls.
How old are the children you treat?
Our team treats children of all ages from birth to the age of 18. After this age, adults are treated by our adult therapy team. In some cases, however, young adults can proceed with their care programs at CERC after the age of 18 if it is thought to be more helpful for their case.
Do your clinicians speak both Arabic and English?
Most of our clinicians speak more than one language, including Arabic and English. We are also able to provide translation services if required. Please call our Center for more information