OTs, as well as PTs, and SLPs, use various methods and tools to evaluate an infant or a child. A therapist will begin the process by taking a thorough medical, developmental, and social history. Typically, a standardized test will be administered to assess overall motor development. In addition, other standardized tests and questionaries will be given to hone in on an area of specific concern. Occasionally, standardized tests are too cumbersome, or overwhelming for some children. In these circumstances, the therapist will use keen observational skills and conduct a functional performance assessment. Regardless of the type of evaluation, a comprehensive report is generated and reviewed with each family.
OTs evaluate and treat infants and children with a variety of medical diagnoses, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s, developmental delay, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, dyslexia, dysgraphia, low muscle tone, nerve injuries, orthopedic conditions, prematurity, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, seizure disorders, and more.
FINE MOTOR - pencil grasp, scissor skills, coloring, writing
GROSS MOTOR - upper extremity range of motion and strength, balance, endurance, mobility, skipping, hopping, jumping, ball skills
OCULAR MOTOR SKILLS - visual fixation, tracking, saccades, pursuits, convergence, divergence
PERCEPTION - visual discrimination, letter reversals, visual memory, processing speed, figure-ground ability, visual closure
HANDWRITING - manuscript and cursive letter formation, spacing between words, writing on the lines, copying from the board, and organizing written material on the paper. Handwriting Without Tears ®
SENSORY INTEGRATION - processing and regulation disorders, body awareness, tactile defensiveness, motor planning, coordination, bilateral coordination, auditory sensitivity, The Listening Program®, sensory diets, and The Brain Gym®
SELF CARE - self-feeding, dressing, toileting, buttons, snaps, zippers, tying shoe laces, organization of school materials
FEEDING - food selectivity/aversions, sensitivities, refusing solids, messy eaters, gags frequently
Physical Therapists (PT) are licensed professionals who evaluate and treat gross motor skill acquisition, orthopedic, developmental, and neurological disorders. Specifically, a PT examines ambulation (walking), attainment of developmental milestones, functional mobility using assistive devices, balance, coordination, endurance and overall strength.
AMBULATION - standing, gait training, running, negotiating stairs, walking on different surfaces, using assistive devices like walkers, standers, and crutches.
MILESTONES - head and neck control, rolling, sitting up, crawling, walking, running, refining gross motor skills
STRENGTH - balance, endurance, coordination, range of motion, exercise programs
SKILL REFINEMENT - strength, coordination, and motor planning needed for higher level skills like running, hopping, jumping, skipping
PAIN REDUCTION - Improve mobility and postural training to minimize pain associated with bone, joint, and muscular
FAMILY EDUCATION AND HOME EXERCISE PROGRAMS - Education is vital in therapy. PTs will collaborate and train the family and care team.
ADAPTIVE EQUIPMENT RECOMMENDATIONS - Sometimes, additional supports are required to increase a child’s functional level and independence. A PT will assess and monitor the use of orthotics (braces or shoe inserts) and other assistive devices to aid in mobility. Orthotic consultations and referral to other specialists may be needed. Your PT will be sure to provide you with the appropriate recommendation.
Speech therapists are licensed and American Speech Language Hearing Association certified to provide evaluations and therapeutic recommendations for receptive (understanding) and expressive (speaking) language disorders.
ORAL-PERIPHERAL SPEECH MECHANISM FUNCTION - Structural and functional abnormalities of the face, jaw, lips, and tongue
MOTOR-BASED SPEECH DISORDERS - Sometimes, a child’s speech is lacking clarity, and it is difficult for others to understand him/her. Disorders like dyspraxia, apraxia, and dysarthria are addressed via improving motor planning and execution for clear speech sounds.
ARTICULATION - Children may have a difficult time producing sounds by a given age. Errors in speech sounds may occur, and a child might not be able to say “th” or “r” correctly. In such cases, speech therapists administer the Goldman Fristoe Articulation Test.
RECEPTIVE/EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE - A speech therapist can assess the level at which your child produces and understands language. Some tests to obtain this information include the Picture Vocabulary Test, Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test, Preschool Language Scales, and Test of Language Development.
PRAGMATIC SKILLS - Speech Therapists work with children to understand the context and meaning of speech and the social component. Additionally, a speech therapist addresses play skills, such as turn-taking, sharing, peer interaction, and cooperative play.
FLUENCY/VOICE - Stuttering is a challenging obstacle to overcome. Speech therapists have a variety of methods to improve fluency or stuttering.
Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts diligently work with families of children with Autism and other disabilities. Their primary focus is to improve behavior, learning, and skill acquisition via Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the process of studying and modifying behavior.
The effectiveness of ABA has been rigorously tested and proven to benefit many individuals with Autism and other developmental disorders. ABA systematically changes the environment and monitors changed responses from the person to result in changed behavior or learning of life skills. ABA first seeks to understand why a behavior is occurring. Antecedents, behavior, and consequences are studied. Then appropriate techniques are utilized to change behavior. The most common ABA techniques include task analysis, chaining, prompting, fading, shaping, reinforcement, generalization, and modeling.
Behaviorists routinely conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment or an FBA. The goal of this test is to determine the purpose of a behavior, usually an unwanted behavior. Additionally, the factors that maintain the specific behavior are identified. This leads to the development of a behavior intervention plan, or a BIP. Your behaviorist will conduct the FBA, collect data, and write a detailed report, including an intervention plan if warranted. The behaviorist will then train family members or school staff in the proper techniques to modify behavior and collect data. Of course, your behaviorist checks in frequently to assist in the process, monitor change and revise the plan if needed.
Behaviorists regularly consult with a child’s teacher to devise an appropriate academic program for a child on the spectrum. Most commonly, this is referred to as discreet trail training or DTT. A behaviorist would assess, devise, and assist in implementing the appropriate DTT program for your child.