Occupational Therapists work with people of all ages, and their families, to improve function and independence across environments (home, school or in the community/work) by addressing specific areas of skill development and when required, provide assistive equipment prescription or home modifications services.
Our Occupational Therapists can provide a variety of services outlined on our Service Styles page located in the drop down menu under OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY tab above.
Sensory Processing and Integration
Sensory Processing and Integration in children and adults refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into responses. For children with difficulties with sensory processing, the way they perceive and / or respond to information coming in through their senses, is different to most other people. Sensory information may be perceived more strongly (over responsive) or not as strongly (under responsive).
Learning to Play
Through play, a child learns about their own physical abilities, how objects work and how to get along with others. Pretend play, also known as imaginative play, is strongly linked to language and literacy development, problem solving, flexible thinking, the development of an understanding of social situations and forming of friendships with peers. Through play with peers, a child learns about getting along with others, how to take turns, to share and to negotiate. It prepares them for more advanced skills that are required for success at school, such as attending to others, engagement, and following instructions.
Developmental milestones provides us with information about how children perform in comparison to the expected developmental norms for their age. Checking this with an Occupational Therapist may help you to understand exactly what areas your child may need more support to develop over time, and can provide you with recommendations about what to you can do about them using a strengths and routine based approach.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD which can be difficult to define. To be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must be observed in two different settings for six months or more and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age. An Occupational Therapist can assist children who are easily distracted, have difficulty focusing attention, organising themselves or appear to be day dreaming impacting on thier ability to complete a task or learn something new.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour. There is no cure for Autism however Occupational Therapy can assit people with ASD to better engage with what they want and need to do in their life. Depending on the symptoms, an ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of individual children. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
Handwriting is actually an 'end product' of the combination of motor, sensory, planning, perceptual and cognition functions. Children often see an Occupational Therapist because their pencil grip is weak, sitting posture poor, and writing messy. Commonly parents report their kids writing is too messy, letters are back to front or formed incorrectly, or they write too slowly to keep up in class. Following assessment by an Occupational Therapist approaches to treatment might aim to address underlying inefficiencies in sensory processing, motor coordination and perceptual skills that will result in improved handwriting performance. This style of therapy can be clinic based (sensory motor approaches) or school/home based. Mastering of skills through practice and repetition might also be recommended. Like other acquistional skills (learning to tie laces) handwriting may be improved through sequencing, tracing, templates, practice and modeling. Compensatory equipment such as pencil grips, slant boards, iPads and computers, or recommendation to use a scribe for exams (e.g. HSC) also are becoming more commonplace, appropriate and affordable for people with more significant challenges.
''Gross motor skills'' refer to how well the child uses their large muscles that coordinate body movement. For example, this includes jumping, throwing, walking, running, and maintaining balance. ''Fine motor skills'' refers to how well the child can use their smaller muscles such as tying shoelaces, doing up buttons, cutting out shapes with a pair of scissors, and writing. "Dyspraxia'' is a condition where a person has problems with smooth movement and coordination to complete gross and fine motor skills. It has several other names including ''motor learning disability/difficulty'', "Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) or Perceptual Motor Dysfunction. Dyspraxia can be linked with language difficulties, and the organisation of perception and thought processes. Dyspraxia does not affect a person's intellegence, but it can cause learning difficulties, especially in children when they find it difficult to plan what to do, and how to do it effectively. An Occupational Therapist can help with diagnosis, and treatment to improve functional outcomes and understanding for children, their families and school staff working with them.
Trauma history and the implications of expereincing trauma in early childhood can be commonly overlooked when working with children on specific functional goals as an Occupational Therapist. At Harpers Health we understand this and as such can provide a more holistic service to children, their care team, and family around assessment, intervention and goal setting.
This is one of my favourite areas to work on as an Occupational Therapist because the independent use of the toilet is often the MOST appreciated by parents. Children can struggle to master this skill, can be delayed or resistant for a variety of reasons. Occupational Therapy can provide assessment which works with you to analyse the childs current physical skills, sensory and behaviour patterns, and daily routines which can be used in a personalised program. Your child will gain confidence and you will no longer need to be concerned about the health issues that can be caused by poor toileting habits, or the social issues that may arise as they get older and attend school or sleepovers.
Video shared by ESGWNRM
"A Child's View of Sensory Processing"
Video shared by MichaelGrass House
"What is Sensory Processing Disorder?"
Video shared by Healthchanneltv/cherishyourhealthtv
"ADHD - What is it and what's the difference with ADD?"
SPECIALISING IN INFANTS, KIDS, TWEENS,
TEENS AND FAMILIES.
Harpers Health offers Occupational Therapy assessment, consulation and intervention in the specialty areas of:
Video shared by Vu Lam
"HWT: Start Your Letters At The Top"
Video shared by Sesame Street
"Sesame Street:Potty Time"