Physical Therapy READ MORE
Physical Therapy, commonly referred to as “PT”, helps to improve an individual’s gross motor development which involves a person’s larger, stronger muscle groups. For children in particular, Physical Therapy helps to enable a child to hold his/her head up, sit, crawl, and eventually walk, run, jump and skip.
If a child qualifies for PT Services through the developmental screening and evaluation process, therapy services will be provided by a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant in a child’s natural environment. For children ages birth through two years, this is usually the home or a childcare setting. For children ages three through five years, it is often a preschool setting or another educational setting. The goal of Physical Therapy is to improve a child’s motor skills and increase his/her independence through developing muscle strength, coordination and flexibility.
Targeted Areas for Motor Skill Development:
• Developing head and trunk control
• Balance and transitional movements
• Range of Motion
• Coordination through use of developmental sequences
• Development of protective reactions, and inhibition of “primitive reflexes”
• Tone adjustment techniques, and special equipment
• Sensory Integration
Occupational Therapy READ MORE
Occupational Therapy, commonly referred to as “OT”, helps people achieve independence in all aspects of their lives. For children specifically, Occupational Therapy helps to promote development of self-help skills (feeding, dressing, grooming); hand-eye coordination; sensory integration (ability to process sensory input such as sound, light, touch, smell); taste, textures, motor skills, regulatory behavior skills, and play skills.
If a child qualifies for OT Services through the developmental screening and evaluation process, those services will be provided by an Occupational Therapist or Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant in a child’s natural environment. For children ages birth through two years this is usually the home or a childcare setting. For children ages three through five years it is often a preschool or other educational setting. The goal of Occupational Therapy is to develop or improve a child’s skills for daily living and independence.
Main Areas of Focus for Occupational Therapy:
• Motor Skill Development: Motor skill development involves learning sequences of movements that when combined will produce a smooth, efficient action so that a child may master a particular task such as writing or cutting. Many factors contribute to a child’s motor skill abilities and rate of development. Uncontrollable factors that influence a child’s motor skills include genetic or inherited traits and/or learning disorders. Controllable factors include the environment/society and the child’s culture. Occupational Therapy focuses largely on fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are those skills that allow a child to do such things as write and manipulate small objects.
• Self-Help Skill Development: Self-help skills allow children to be independent and do things on their own. The primary areas of self-help skills include: self-feeding, independent dressing and grooming, hygiene and toileting, and cooperative and play skills.
• Sensory Processing Concerns: Children experience a variety of sensory issues while exploring and interacting within their environments. However, if these sensory concerns continue and/or escalate, it may hinder a child’s ability to learn or function appropriately in his/her environment. Sensory disorders in children need to be identified early so a child may receive proper treatment and intervention. The categories of sensory function include the following: tactile (touch), auditory (hearing), visual (sight), taste, olfactory (smell), vestibular (movement and gravity), and proprioceptive (body awareness, muscles, and joints). Occupational Therapy helps children to organize and process sensory messages so that they can be successful in everyday activities.
Speech & Language Therapy READ MORE
Speech & Language Therapy assists children in developing communication skills that allow children to engage in daily activities and verbally interact with peers, adults and their family. Speech & Language Therapy for children helps to address concerns related, but not limited, to the following needs: delayed language development, hearing impairments, feeding/swallowing difficulties, stuttering, voice disorders, preschool aged children with articulation and phonological disorders and children with communication disorders related to a specific diagnosis (autism, down syndrome; hearing impairment, etc.).
If a child qualifies for Speech & Language Services through the developmental screening and evaluation process, therapy services will be provided by a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) or Speech Language Pathology Assistant in a child’s natural environment. For children ages birth through two years this is usually the home or a childcare setting. For children ages three through five years it is often a preschool setting or another educational setting. The goal of Speech & Language Therapy is to develop or improve a child’s communication skills in order to help them effectively communicate with others.
Areas of Speech Language Development/Therapy:
• Indirect Language Stimulation: Language stimulation techniques are enrichment activities that are taught to a child’s family and caregivers to facilitate a child’s language development. Indirect language stimulation is a valuable part of all speech language therapy and is used by SLPs during the intervention sessions.
• Receptive Language Development: Children with a receptive language delay may have difficulty comprehending or understanding what is said to them. They may not appear to be listening when spoken to and have difficulty following directions. The SLP focuses on developing the child’s ability to follow verbal directions, understand language concepts, and understand complex sentences.
• Expressive Language Development: Children with an expressive language delay may have difficulty developing spoken language. They may use gestures instead of words and rely on short, simple sentences to attempt to communicate with others. The SLP focuses on assisting the child in developing functional communication skills so that the child is able to request, ask/answer questions, and share information with others. The SLP also assists the child in learning to format grammatically correct sentences, complex sentences, and to carry on a conversation.
• Articulation/Phonological Development: All children make some pronunciation errors when they are learning to communicate. A child whose speech is difficult to understand may have an articulation or phonological delay. The SLP works with the child to correct a child’s articulation or phonological delay by teaching correct placement and production of speech sounds and/or sound patterns. The focus of therapy is to decrease the child’s sound pattern errors and sound omissions, substitutions, and/or distortions that are persisting beyond the age at which the majority of children have mastered production of sounds.
• Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): This includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used for functional communication; including expressing thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write. AAC users do not stop using speech. The AAC aids and devices are used to enhance their communication. SLPs work with the child and his/her family to determine the most appropriate communication system and assist the child in learning to use the system.
Cognitive Skill Development READ MORE
Cognitive skills are the basic mental abilities used for thinking, problem-solving, studying and learning. In children this includes the ways they solve problems and learn. As children develop cognitively, they build knowledge and learn about their environment. The key components of cognitive development include memory, concentration, attention, perception, imagination and creativity.
If a child qualifies for Cognitive Skill Development Services (also called “Specialized Instruction”) through the developmental screening and evaluation process, intervention services will be provided by an Early Childhood Educator or Early Childhood Special Educator in a child’s natural environment. For children ages birth through two years this is usually the home or a childcare setting. For children ages three through five years it is often a preschool or other educational setting. The goal of Cognitive Skill Development is to develop or improve a child’s ability to learn, study, analyze, recall information, and make associations between various pieces of information in order for the child to successfully process information. Strong cognitive skills are the basis for strong academic performance.
Activities to Focus on for Cognitive Skill Development:
• Reading: One of the components of cognitive development is language skills. Reading activities are very important for helping children to develop language skills. Also, interacting through books can promote verbal skills and visual development.
• Memory: Building skills in concentration and memory are a part of cognitive development. Various activities such as matching games, puzzles, and toys that focus on construction help to build a child’s cognitive ability.
• Mathematics: Math skills are also a component of cognitive skill development. Activities that encourage learning and talking about numbers, playing math games, and counting can help children to build cognitive skills.
• Creativity: Creative activities can help to promote many types of learning and build important connections in the brain. Art and music activities can promote and encourage a child’s cognitive development.
Social & Emotional Development READ MORE
Social and emotional development in early childhood refers to a child’s ability to form close and secure adult and peer relationships; experience, regulate, and express emotions in socially and culturally appropriate ways; and to learn to explore the environment. For some children, their social and emotional development is delayed and they are in need of additional support to aid their success. Services for social and emotional development promote a child’s ability to manage their own feelings, understand other’s feelings, and interact positively within their world.
If a child qualifies for Social and Emotional Development Services through the developmental screening and evaluation process, those services will be provided by a Behavior Interventionist in a child’s natural environment. For children ages birth through two years this is usually the home or a childcare setting. For children ages three through five years it is often a preschool or other educational setting. The goal for providing services for social and emotional development is to help a child have emotional regulation, maintain positive interactions with others and effectively engage in their environment. Strategies and curriculum to achieve these goals are based on the Conscious Discipline and Al’s Pals Models.