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What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapists work with individuals of all ages and abilities to help them reach their full potential in each area of life. In pediatric occupational therapy we focus on the activities that surround a child’s life: play, social skills, recreational activities, school skills (fine motor development), self-care skills and self-regulation.

Play in Motion Occupational Therapy works with children ages 1 – 18 who need assistance with reaching their developmental milestones. We focus on fine motor skills (upper extremity strength, bilateral coordination, in hand manipulation, dexterity and finger isolation), sensory integration, sensory-based motor dysfunction, feeding concerns and difficulties with written output. We also work with children to ensure that they are developmentally ready to enter Kindergarten. Not only do we work with families but we also work with the schools for consultation, assessments and program development.

Motor Development
The term fine motor skill refers to the ability to use the small or fine muscles that control the movements of fingers, hands and wrists. Fine motor skills are developed as the neurological system matures and through time and practice. For some children fine motor skills are easily learned. Art projects, paper/pencil activities and colouring are seen as fun and rewarding activities.

However, for many other children, learning how to colour, hold a pencil, cut with scissors, complete a maze and put together a puzzle can become an overwhelming task. The development of fine motor skills is necessary for learning how to read and to write. It is also important for the functional activities of life such as getting dressed independently (buttons, zippers, lacing).  All young children will experience greater success when they are provided with activities that promote the development of fine motor skills.

It’s easy to tell whether your child is a picky eater…..but determining why your child is a picky eater is more difficult. Is there an oral motor delay? Does he have oral and tactile sensory issues? Does she have unwillingness to try new food?

A picky eater can be stressful in the house and there is always fear of impaired growth complications and poor nutritional intake. Play in Motion works with children and families to determine the cause of their feeding difficulties and provide therapy sessions to help alleviate these difficulties.

Sensory Processing
Sensory processing (sometimes called “sensory integration” or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as “sensory integration dysfunction”) is a condition that exists when these messages from the senses don’t get organized into appropriate responses.

When an individual finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses it can create challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. They may demonstrate motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, and school failure, to name a few. While most of us have occasional difficulties processing sensory information, for children and adults with SPD, these difficulties are chronic, and they disrupt everyday life. Sensory processing difficulties can isolate children from peer groups and decrease self-confidence.

Paediatric Physiotherapy

Paediatric Physiotherapy at Play in Motion aims to support children and their families work towards goal-driven outcomes in the areas of mobility, independence and gross motor function. Through one to one therapy sessions we work with children to improve or maintain flexibility, strength, balance and endurance to achieve maximum functional independence. The inclusion of structured play and physical activities is an essential part of a child-specific treatment plan and one of the more challenging aspects of pediatric physiotherapy. We like to have fun here at Play in Motion while working towards successful outcomes. Creating a positive attitude towards physical activity in children can only lead to great things.

We also believe that client education has a vital role to play in physiotherapy. When children and their families have a better understanding of why physical limitations exist and how we specifically hope to address those limitations, we see better outcomes. If you know why a certain activity or exercise has been prescribed and how it is related to your goal, you’re more likely to be motivated to work towards achieving that goal.  The same can be said about specific paediatric diagnoses. Children who have an understanding of their body are better prepared to manage their condition for the long term.

Play in Motion physiotherapy provides services to children with a wide range of conditions including neuromuscular, developmental, orthopedic and congenital disorders. We can also support children recovering from injuries and surgery.

 Speech-Language Pathology

Our speech-language pathologists (SLPs) offer screening, assessment, intervention, and consultation for a wide range of communication delays and disorders including: delayed speech and/or language development; speech sound disorders, such as lisping, phonological impairment, and Developmental Apraxia of Speech; language delay and disorders affecting both the understanding and production of spoken language; stuttering; Autism Spectrum Disorders; and Language-based Learning Disabilities that affect reading, writing, and spelling.

At Play in Motion, our SLP team focuses on helping children aged 0-18 who may have difficulty learning language, speaking clearly and being understood by others, have social communication delays, or who don’t have the foundational language skills necessary for academic success. They work with children who may be nonverbal as well as those who have normal to advanced language skills but struggle with the subtle aspects language has on social interactions

Infants and Toddlers
During this early developmental stage, SLPs assess both nonverbal and verbal communication skills such as eye gaze, use of gesture, reciprocal enjoyment, and babbling as indicators for appropriate language development. Our SLPs have a passion for prevention, increasing public awareness, and early intervention. They are excited to provide information on speech and language development, and to help families and caregivers learn early language stimulation strategies to alleviate some of the frustration young children experience when struggling to communicate. Such strategies help a child to better communicate his or her needs, understand more of what is said in his or her environment, and to more fully interact with family and peers.

Preschoolers are becoming more sophisticated communicators, and some children struggle with understanding and using longer and more complex sentences, higher level vocabulary, and story-telling. A number of children may experience difficulties with clearly producing sounds and being understood by others. At this stage, children are also developing more complex social relationships, as well as pre-literacy and kindergarten readiness skills. Our SLPs can provide the necessary assessment and intervention to evaluate and treat areas of concern or need, which can lead to improved communications skills, greater self-confidence and social competence, and positive academic outcomes in the school aged child.

School Age
Speech and language skills are foundational for academic success.  Oral language skills are essential for reading, spelling and learning.  In order to read, a child must be able to hear the individual sounds in words, break them apart, and blend them together. Children with language delays often go on to experience difficulty acquiring literacy skills. School-aged children also must develop strong literacy skills both to acquire and demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of subject areas and in accordance with school curricula. Older children who demonstrate stuttering or speech impairments may also become affected in social-emotional ways. Our SLPs can assist students by correcting speech difficulties, strengthening oral and written language skills, and helping students to improve their narrative language skills. Our SLPs also provide intervention for school-aged children with social-communication challenges.

We are committed to family-centered care and strongly encourage a family member to participate in therapy sessions.

Parents may self-refer their child. In addition, referrals for our services come from family doctors, pediatricians, teachers, day care providers, other health professionals.

Our SLPs are registered members of the College of Speech and Hearing Heath Professionals of BC (CSHHPBC).

Let us help you and your child.

We know that a new diagnosis can be overwhelming and confusing. Contact us today and we can provide you with access to helpful advice and resources so that you can navigate your way to the best course of treatment for your child.

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