What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is designed to help children or adults acquire or regain any activity that a person does for daily self-care, play or leisure enjoyment. The occupation of play becomes a child’s work, as it is important to the progression of a child’s learning and development. The occupational therapist is able to identify areas of strength in interest and skills to blend with areas of need so progression of skills can occur.
Why occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy treatment focuses on helping people with physical, sensory or cognitive delays so they can be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. Most people think occupational therapy is for adults only because it involves “occupation”. Kids however do not have an occupation but a child’s main job is playing and learning. The occupational therapist can evaluate kids skills for playing, fine motor and other aspects that affect the child’s daily activities. Children may benefit from occupational therapy for a variety of reasons such as:
- My son seems to have difficulty standing in line at school. He seems to be bumping into other children for no apparent reason.
- My daughter has difficulty wearing jeans and her socks have to be inside out so the seams don’t touch her skin.
- My daughter just got diagnosed with Angelman’s Syndrome. You need some help understanding what this means for both her and her family.
- My son seems to have difficulty with his fine motor skills. He dislikes playing blocks and legos and doesn’t seem to hold his pencil correctly.
- After surgery, my son needs help to be able to dress himself and help himself in the bathroom again.
- My daughter doesn’t have a diagnosis, but seems to having difficulty meeting her developmental milestones.
- My daughter has difficulty focusing in the classroom and stays in trouble with her teachers.
When is Occupational Therapy needed?
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, kids with the following medication conditions may benefit from occupational therapy:
- Birth injuries or birth defects
- Sensory processing disorders
- Traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
- Learning problems
- Autism/ Pervasive Developmental Disorders
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- Mental health or behavioral problems
- Broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
- Developmental delays
- Post-surgical conditions
- Spina Bifida
- Traumatic amputations
- Severe hand injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral Palsy and other chronic illness
Occupational Therapy Treatment
Our Occupational Therapists (OT) provides a skilled evaluation to assess for fine motor, visual-motor and sensory deficits. The OT also identified the patient’s strengths and builds on them to reach their max potential. Through skilled treatment, we strive to improve such components, which may include but are not limited to the following:
- Fine motor skills
- Upper body strength and coordination
- Self-help skills, such as feeding, dressing and bathing
- Attention difficulties
- Sensory integration disorders
- Personal behavioral modulation
- Following directions and problem solving
- Positioning, adaptive equipment
- Upper body splinting to prevent poor posturing and improve functional mobility
- Address hand-eye coordination
- Visual processing
Our Occupational Therapists
Heather Keirn, OTD R/L
Heather was born in Batesville, AR and raised in Independence County. She graduated from Southside High School. She has earned an Associates of General Education degree from UACCB, a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Lyon College, and a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from ASU. She is married to Ryan Keirn and they have two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family and she loves being a part of the Batesville community.
Brooke Carter, COTA
Brooke is a native of Independence County. Brooke is an honor graduate of Batesville High School. After graduating high school, Brooke attended William’s Baptist College and University of Arkansas Community College of Batesville where she received her Associates degree. She furthered her education at Baptist Health School in Little Rock where she received her degree for Occupational Therapy Assistant...