Pediatric activity ideas for Occupational Therapists

Posts tagged ‘Autism’

Occupational Therapy and Work Settings

The basic definition for an occupational therapist is one who assists a multitude of different people in finding independency or “normalcy” in their everyday lives. Many of these patients have some sort of illness or disorder that inhibits normal living. These people can range from children who were born with a disability to the elderly who are going through a difficult time with the loss of agility or mobility. Occupational therapists help people regain skills or learn new ones that will make their everyday lives easier.

The types of services occupational therapists offer include evaluations with the client and family to determine what goals would like to be met, creating an intervention and plan for helping the patient reach these goals, and ensure the goals are being work towards and met long term. Occupational therapists not only assist their patients firsthand but also monitor them long-term to ensure that success is being met.

Types of Occupational Therapy
During and after your education and schooling in the field of occupational therapy you will probably find that there are many settings in which you can work. The area you will work is dependent upon what type of patient you would like to work with and what unique skills they will require with therapy.

Once you have obtained your degree in occupational therapy you will be able to pursue which ever specialization you wish. These specializations may include pediatric, hand therapy, adult rehabilitation, vision rehabilitation, assisted living care and much more. New opportunities of work settings are opening up for occupational therapy every day.

Locations for Occupational Therapy
The location and area in which you practice occupational therapy really depends on what types of patients you are working with. Some therapists may work in one individual area or a number of them. These locations include schools, detention centers, clinics (public and independent), communities (city and rural), corporate areas and health centers. Some therapists may work entirely with other medical professionals at their locations.

Occupational Therapy for Children
Working as a pediatric occupational therapist is a rewarding job. There are an abundance of children who require the assistance of an occupational therapist to reach their true potential and independency in life. A child with congenital disease, injury or illness that has caused life-altering affects may benefit from occupational therapy services. Other children who require occupational therapy might have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, PDD, Autism, Cerebral palsy, or anxiety disorders.

Occupational therapists help children acquire and maintain the skills required to engage in everyday life. Finding creative and meaningful activities is an essential key in assisting those children to participate in self-care, school and social settings. Pediatric occupational therapists work closely with the child’s family, care givers, and educational team, in order to come up with the best therapy program and intervention strategies.

Occupational Therapy for Adult
The general population that is commonly seen by occupational therapists is adult of various ages. Adults who require occupational therapy may include those with disorders (developmental and psychological), illness or injuries, and finally, those who are going through a major life change or crisis.

Occupational therapists working with adults often help their clients become more independent and improve the way they function. Sometimes this requires the use of certain technology, assistive devices, or adjustments to the client’s environment. In some settings, such as rehab or hospitals, the occupational therapist role is to assist their client relearn the basic skills that might have been lost due to illness or injury. These skills may include, but are not limited to, eating, dressing, walking and mobility, communication, and the use of assisting devices. In other settings, such as mental health, occupational therapists may help their clients find strategies that will promote the engagement in meaningful activities, which in turn improve the quality of their life.

The help that adults require is highly dependent on the individual person. There will be occasions in which “normalcy” won’t be possible for certain adults. In the event of this situation it is important that occupational therapists help their client get to the highest level possible through the use of strategies that can be used within their limitations.

Occupational Therapy for the Elderly
Occupational therapy for elderly people is growing due to the baby boomer generation aging as well as technological advances allowing for longer lives. Many of the occupational therapists who specialize with the elderly are working with those who have age-related diseases and aliments or may have suffered from heart attacks and strokes.

Those who have suffered from a recent stroke or heart attack may have a difficult time adjusting to their now limited abilities and independence. In extreme cases these people may have to essentially relearn daily life tasks from scratch. Other elderly people may be suffering from debilitating disorders and diseases such as arthritis. Learning to use assistive devices due to lose of agility and balance is another area that the elderly may need help with.

Source: http://www.otplan.com/articles/occupational-therapy-and-work-settings.aspx

Apps for Autism

Lesley Stahl reports on “60 Minutes” on autistic people whose condition prevents them from speaking are making breakthroughs with the help of tablet computers and special applications that allow them to communicate, some for the first time.

Apps for Autism

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-20124225/apps-for-autism/?tag=currentVideoInfo;videoMetaInfo

3-D 'Occupational Therapy' for Children: Virtual Muscle Machine for Kids With Disabilities

It was her love of ballet that led her to work with children who have motor disabilities. The retired dancer, now an occupational therapist, is pioneering a new “virtual” method to analyze movement patterns in children ― and more effectively treat those with debilitating motor disorders.

Dr. Dido Green of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Occupational Therapy in the School of Health Professionals is using a “virtual tabletop” called the ELEMENTS SYSTEM, developed by her partners at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, to “move” kids with disabilities and provide home-based treatments using virtual reality tools. Combining new three-dimensional exercises with two-dimensional graphical movement games already programmed into the tabletop (which resembles an early video game), she reports not only success but also enthusiasm among her young patients.

“I’ve been working with children with movement disorders for the last 20 years,” says Dr. Green. “By the time I meet these children, they’re sick of us. They’ve been ‘over-therapied,’ and it’s difficult to get them to practice their exercises and prescribed treatment regimes.”

Fun for kids from three to fifteen

“The virtual tabletop appealed to children as young as three and as old as 15,” Dr. Green reports. “The movement-oriented games allowed them to ‘make music’ and reach targets in ways that are normally neither comfortable nor fun in the therapeutic setting,” she explains.

Dr. Green determined that children with partial paralysis and motor dysfunction resulting from disorders such as cerebral palsy may be helped by giving them a new interface to explore. Building upon earlier research she conducted at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, Dr. Green found that virtual reality applications enhance the skill sets learned by her patients.

Coupled with new technology involving 3D Movement Analysis, a technique she is now integrating into research at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Green hopes to develop this virtual tabletop-type game into new and effective therapy treatment regimes.
“Traditional approaches are labor-intensive and their results limited,” Dr. Green says. “Our research aims to create a complete system for therapist, parent and child. It could bring daily treatments into the home and provides therapists with a complete solution to track and analyze improvements or setbacks in the most accurate way to date.”

From the virtual to the real world

In children who attended sessions with her interface for three days a week over a period of about one month, Dr. Green found some impressive results. One child with a paralyzed hand was able to perform more complicated movements, culminating in a “eureka!” moment when she opened a door for the first time in her life. The girl was also able to gain control over some motor movements essential for basic life tasks, such as buttoning sweaters, opening doors, or going to the washroom. These are skills some children never develop with current therapy regimes.

In the near future, Dr. Green hopes to develop the technique for remote rehabilitation, enabling children to practice movements at home with parental supervision. Therapists located elsewhere could “log in” with a webcam and computer to coach the students or monitor their progress.

The researcher also plans to analyze brain function using trans-cranial magnetic brain stimulation. Currently, brain function relating to motor activities is analyzed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). But many children are too impatient to sit in an MRI machine, so clinicians need a more accurate means of analyzing movement in children with disabilities to develop individualized therapy regimes.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427171842.htm

American Friends of Tel Aviv University (2010, April 28). 3-D ‘occupational therapy’ for children: Virtual muscle machine for kids with disabilities.

Autism Survival Manual – Fine motor skills tips and tricks

Swing Invention for Autism

Check out this video on a new swing invention for autism that a grandfather invented. Looks great for a sensory clinic or playground. You can view more info at the website for the Swring at http://swring.com/

Source: ABC News