Occupational therapy can assist with acquiring or reacquiring function in physical, sensory and/or cognitive abilities. Although, traditionally, it is linked to assisting with a particular 'occupation' (i.e. buttoning of a button, putting on of shoes, self-feeding, writing, etc.), at SMILE, we take Occupational Therapy beyond that, to look at the child as a whole.
At SMILE Therapy we look at the child as a whole, body and brain, and ensure that no part is treated in isolation. Wee do this by paying special focus to the two sensory systems that are most often overlooked: vestibular and proprioceptive. These are the systems that help our brain understand where our body is in space and what needs to be done with it. The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and is our balance system. The proprioceptive system grounds us and makes us feel secure. A good example is one where if one were to lose their balance and be falling, the vestibular system is the one that would prompt us to wave our arms to try to find our balance, and the proprioceptive system is the one that would lead us to want to grab onto something to stabilize ourselves. Without the united functionality of both of these systems, the learning of additional skills, especially those that throw our centre of gravity off balance, are next to impossible.
Although, traditionally, occupational therapy focuses on fine-motor function and alignment, at SMILE Therapy, all of our children can benefit from seeing our Occupational Therapist. We find that combining Occupational Therapy with other therapies is always beneficial, as they're very complementary, and especially since our OT practice is much more holistic in nature than what may be found with a more traditional practitioner.
We don't have a cookie cutter model at SMILE Therapy, and how our therapies are delivered vary greatly with each child and that child's goals. Some tools that may be used during an Occupational Therapy session are: