Occupational Therapy helps children gain independence while also strengthening the development of fine motor skills, sensory motor skills and visual motor skills that children need to function and socialize. A child’s role in life is to play and interact with other children. Here at Hopewell, we evaluate the child’s current skills for playing, school performance and daily activities. In collaboration with the family and classroom staff, the OT’s help children perform daily activities they may find challenging by addressing sensory, social, motor and environmental issues. Some examples of activities include teaching children to feed themselves, use technology, grasp and release toys, and transition from one activity to the next. It is an ongoing process that works on helping each child to reach what success looks like for them. Our Occupational Therapy team works with Early Intervention (ages birth-three), preschool, school age and transition. The tasks change as the children do, but the focus on maximizing success through functional skills stays the same.
Early Intervention physical therapy (0-3 years old) focuses on providing home based therapy to infants who display gross motor or movement delays. The goal of Early Intervention therapy is to help children with these delays as soon as possible so they can reach their fullest potential. Our focus is to work with the parent/caregiver on activities to do with the child in order to develop their gross motor skills.
School based physical therapy works with children who would benefit from therapeutic interventions to maximize their education and success in the classroom. The focus is on functional mobility and save, efficient access and participation in educational activities and routines in the learning environment. Staff education for follow through is key to the child being successful and maximizing their academic potential. The therapy staff follows the child's IEP (individual Education Plan) and is a member of a multidisciplinary school team.
Speech-language pathologists, as autonomous professionals, assume various roles in addressing the concerns and priorities of families and their infants or toddlers, and should be included on any early intervention team for children who are at risk for or have communication, language, speech, emergent literacy, or feeding/swallowing impairments. These roles are implemented in collaboration with families, caregivers, and other professionals, and include but are not limited to (a) prevention; (b) screening, evaluation, and assessment; (c) planning, implementing, and monitoring intervention; (d) consultation with and education for team members, including families and other professionals; (e) service coordination; (f) transition planning; (g) advocacy; and (h) awareness and advancement of the knowledge base in early intervention. These roles should be implemented in accord with the following guiding principles:
1. Services are family centered and culturally and linguistically responsive.
2. Services are developmentally supportive and promote children's participation in their natural environments.
3. Services are comprehensive, coordinated, and team based.
4. Services are based on the highest quality evidence that is available.
Extensive information and references about these guiding principles and roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in early intervention can be found in the companion ASHA technical report, guidelines, and knowledge and skills documents (ASHA, 2008a, 2008b, 2008c).