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Occupational Therapy

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  • Cheryl in CA
    started a topic Occupational Therapy

    Occupational Therapy

    I was wondering what your experiences have been with Occupational Therapy. I tried searching, but "OT' is too short to search (won't let you search for it), and searching for "occupational" didn't bring much up. My 10 year old son has his first appointment on Friday, and I'm so excited! I was going to ask his Pediatrician to order it, but before I had a chance to ask her he broke his arm really badly. So, those plans were put on hold, but due to the broken arm I was able to get Ortho to order it. He got his cast off a week ago (was in a long arm cast for 4 weeks, then a modified long arm cast for 4 week...no short arm cast because he also broke his elbow). Now he has to be in a brace (looks like a short arm cast but can be removed) 24/7 for 8 weeks with all the same activity restrictions. After 6 weeks he can gradually go back to normal activities but wearing the brace during anything active (I think until the 6 month mark). Though, he was walking when he broke it, so maybe I should have him wear it whenever he isn't sitting, LOL!

    Anyway, this will be our first experience with OT, and I'm curious about others experiences. Thank you :-)

  • Cheryl in CA
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    My son had his evaluation yesterday.

    The Good: the evaluation went well, he had a session, he'll go weekly, and we have exercises for him to do at home. I liked the OT, and he responded well to her.

    The Bad: the OT doesn't do fine motor control/handwriting.

    Occupational Therapy through our Children's Hospital does do OT for fine motor control. Since the Pediatrician wrote us a second order specifying fine motor control (thank you all for that suggestion!), I called her office and had them change the order so that the provider was our Children's Hospital. Currently the closest office is about 50 minutes away (they are opening a large facility next door to where we are currently going, but it is unknown when the OT will be hired or what the waiting list will be like), and they are currently scheduling evaluations in mid-September. Early next week (when the order has made it to them), I'll schedule an evaluation. In the meantime, we'll continue with the OT he is currently getting. It focuses on recovering strength and mobility, which he really needs (his wrist is very stiff and weak from having been immobile for 8 weeks, and it will remain immobile for an additional 8 weeks while in the brace) and will be good preparation for fine motor control work...and it's local. Hopefully by the time we get in, the local office will be open (or soon thereafter) and he can get a spot there before too long.

    Thank you all for your help!

    Leave a comment:


  • Cheryl in CA
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    Originally posted by Miah View Post
    My oldest did occupational therapy for ten years. During that time it covered many different things. Sensory integration, fine motor, handwriting, visual motor integration, motor planning, life skills, and more. OT is such a catch-all therapy that it can easily go on for years if you want it to. We could have continued with my oldest for a few more years, but he was very tired of therapy by that stage, and they were still in their old tiny building where it made it painfully obvious he was the oldest kid there. He was old enough and at a point coordination wise that he could see how he compared to adults and accept that while he may never be great at coordination, he wouldn't stand out too much. If they had had the new building and extended community and life skills programs, I might have made him keep going.

    My youngest has been going since he was five. Most of his therapy has been focused on sensory integration and listening/planning. They get him together with another boy his age once a month and they bake using cupcake mixes, which has so many therapeutic aspects to it - many social skills, direction following, and life skills.

    When they get into teen years at this company, they really start hitting those life skills hard. Teaching them to make lists, taking them shopping at local stores, much more emphasis on cooking. I am not sure, but I think they also work on things like filling in forms and making budgets. All of which, of course, could be taught at home, but sometimes really helps a teenager to have a neutral party involved. A friend of ours started her child in OT at 13 to teach him those things, because he had so much anxiety built up over potentially making a mistake at home, especially in front of siblings (who wouldn't actually be mean, but he was still a nervous wreck about it). The OT was essentially using CBT tactics to get him over his anxiety and into the kitchen.

    Compared to physical therapy, occupational is really, really broad, so talking with his therapist about your goals is really important.

    (It's also usually the fun therapy that the kids don't really see as work.)
    Thank you so much, that is really helpful <3

    Leave a comment:


  • Miah
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    My oldest did occupational therapy for ten years. During that time it covered many different things. Sensory integration, fine motor, handwriting, visual motor integration, motor planning, life skills, and more. OT is such a catch-all therapy that it can easily go on for years if you want it to. We could have continued with my oldest for a few more years, but he was very tired of therapy by that stage, and they were still in their old tiny building where it made it painfully obvious he was the oldest kid there. He was old enough and at a point coordination wise that he could see how he compared to adults and accept that while he may never be great at coordination, he wouldn't stand out too much. If they had had the new building and extended community and life skills programs, I might have made him keep going.

    My youngest has been going since he was five. Most of his therapy has been focused on sensory integration and listening/planning. They get him together with another boy his age once a month and they bake using cupcake mixes, which has so many therapeutic aspects to it - many social skills, direction following, and life skills.

    When they get into teen years at this company, they really start hitting those life skills hard. Teaching them to make lists, taking them shopping at local stores, much more emphasis on cooking. I am not sure, but I think they also work on things like filling in forms and making budgets. All of which, of course, could be taught at home, but sometimes really helps a teenager to have a neutral party involved. A friend of ours started her child in OT at 13 to teach him those things, because he had so much anxiety built up over potentially making a mistake at home, especially in front of siblings (who wouldn't actually be mean, but he was still a nervous wreck about it). The OT was essentially using CBT tactics to get him over his anxiety and into the kitchen.

    Compared to physical therapy, occupational is really, really broad, so talking with his therapist about your goals is really important.

    (It's also usually the fun therapy that the kids don't really see as work.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Cheryl in CA
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
    Ours were weekly. When Michelle was your son's age, we requested OT for handwriting. She worked with our handwriting materials at our request, so we avoided confusion. You might bring your NAC to the first appointment.

    Someone on our MP-SC FB page just recommended these. Triangular and rubbery, rather than slick, yet not "primary" looking, these work well for her son with cerebral palsy and resulting motor difficulties. The mom uses them too!

    If the ortho ordered this OT, the orders may be very specific to his break. You might still need orders for broader concerns or for an evaluation, but you can mention to the OT that you intended for a broader OT evaluation prior to his arm breaking.


    We have appreciated OT from toddlerhood through teen years. In addition to handwriting, in later years the OT worked on bilateral coordination through baking, stirring, cooking; hand strength and dexterity through games, theraputty, and exercises; and more.
    Thank you so much; I hadn't even thought of that! I called OT, and they said that the order didn't specify anything (just said that he was referred for evaluation and treatment due to his broken arm). They didn't think that they needed anything stating that it was specifically for handwriting (thinks the therapist can make that determination at the evaluation), but I could get one just in case. He sees his Pediatrician tomorrow, so I'll ask her for one specifically stating that it's for handwriting in case we need it. Since we don't need authorization or a referral (just an order), I think we'll be okay...but better safe than sorry ;-) Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention.

    Thank you for the link. At present he uses this pencil grip. I am going to take one with us when we go to see what they think. I used to have him use The Claw, but this one holds the middle finger in a more natural position. I don't know if he is ready yet to be without a pencil grip.
    https://www.amazon.com/Firesara-Orig...cil+grip&psc=1

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    Ours were weekly. When Michelle was your son's age, we requested OT for handwriting. She worked with our handwriting materials at our request, so we avoided confusion. You might bring your NAC to the first appointment.

    Someone on our MP-SC FB page just recommended these. Triangular and rubbery, rather than slick, yet not "primary" looking, these work well for her son with cerebral palsy and resulting motor difficulties. The mom uses them too!

    If the ortho ordered this OT, the orders may be very specific to his break. You might still need orders for broader concerns or for an evaluation, but you can mention to the OT that you intended for a broader OT evaluation prior to his arm breaking.


    We have appreciated OT from toddlerhood through teen years. In addition to handwriting, in later years the OT worked on bilateral coordination through baking, stirring, cooking; hand strength and dexterity through games, theraputty, and exercises; and more.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cheryl in CA
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    Originally posted by sfhargett View Post
    If he's going just for fine motor, he can probably make quick progress.

    My youngest goes twice a week for an hour and my oldest goes once a week for an hour. They work on fine motor skills some, but spend more time on other issues. For the most part my boys think of it as play more than work and really look forward to going.
    Thank you, I really hope so :-)

    Leave a comment:


  • sfhargett
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    Originally posted by Cheryl in CA View Post
    Thank you! I'm pretty sure my son's will focus on fine motor skills due to the reason it's being ordered, but I didn't actually see the order. That's something we would find out at the evaluation, right? He doesn't really have issues with the rest of what you listed (possibly motor planning, but not the rest), and he already receives Neurodevelopmental and Speech Therapy. How often do you have OT sessions?
    If he's going just for fine motor, he can probably make quick progress.

    My youngest goes twice a week for an hour and my oldest goes once a week for an hour. They work on fine motor skills some, but spend more time on other issues. For the most part my boys think of it as play more than work and really look forward to going.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cheryl in CA
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    Originally posted by sfhargett View Post
    I absolutely love OT. Absolutely.

    It is a very large umbrella though -- fine motor skills, motor planning, emotional regulation, social skills, sensory regulation -- so the activities your child will do will vary depending on the issues being treated.

    My boys have received/are still receiving OT for all those things at various times. The focus has changed depending on what the major challenges are at the moment. It has made a huge difference for us.
    Thank you! I'm pretty sure my son's will focus on fine motor skills due to the reason it's being ordered, but I didn't actually see the order. That's something we would find out at the evaluation, right? He doesn't really have issues with the rest of what you listed (possibly motor planning, but not the rest), and he already receives Neurodevelopmental and Speech Therapy. How often do you have OT sessions?

    Leave a comment:


  • sfhargett
    replied
    Re: Occupational Therapy

    I absolutely love OT. Absolutely.

    It is a very large umbrella though -- fine motor skills, motor planning, emotional regulation, social skills, sensory regulation -- so the activities your child will do will vary depending on the issues being treated.

    My boys have received/are still receiving OT for all those things at various times. The focus has changed depending on what the major challenges are at the moment. It has made a huge difference for us.

    Leave a comment:

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