Helping Hands Pediatric Therapy is proud to offer a wide variety of services to meet the needs of our clients, please navigate below to learn more about what we offer as well as different programs!
Occupational therapy is a form of intervention in which the therapist and child work to develop or improve the necessary skills for daily living through activity. Therapy can target skills needed for coordination, school readiness and performance, self help such as feeding, dressing and grooming, safety, focus and attention, play/social interaction, eye-hand coordination, calming and regulatory behaviors and more. We use a variety of treatment approaches, one of which is Sensory Integration, the ability of the brain and body to take incoming sensory information and create an efficient motor output. We also use the Handwriting Without Tears program for handwriting issues, and the Food Chaining approach to treat eating/food issues. Your therapist will develop appropriate home programs and family education in addition to direct treatment of your child.
Reasons Your Child May Need Occupational Therapy
- Overly sensitive to certain sensations
- Poor attention
- Poor fine motor skills
- Immature gross motor skills
- Difficulty calming self
- Exaggerated behaviors or reactions
- Limited play skills
- Poor social development
- Limited Independence in self care skills
- Difficulty transitioning or accepting change in environment or routine
What We Offer
- Handwriting Without Tears Program
- Sensory Integration Therapy
- Developmental Therapy
- Fine motor skills development
- Coordination/Gross Motor skills
- Visual/Perceptual therapy
- Oral motor & feeding therapy
- Interactive Metronome
- Sequential Oral Sensory Feeding Program
Pediatric Speech Therapy
Pediatric speech and language therapy provides assessment and treatment of your child’s communication skills. These include speech, language, play and interaction development. The focus of treatment may be on oral-motor skills, stuttering, tongue thrust, voice or augmentative communication. As a parent, you are provided with strategies to help your child to communicate better at home and in the community.
Speech and language therapy can help your child to:
- Improve understanding and expression of language
- Improve speech/sound production
- Decrease stuttering behaviors
- Improve swallowing patterns to reduce tongue thrust
- Improve communication through the provision of augmentative communication systems
- Improve eating and swallowing skill development
- Promote age appropriate play skills
The Speech Therapy staff of HHPT hold a Masters Degree and are licensed by the State of Georgia. They hold Certificates of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language and Hearing Association.
Reasons to refer a child for Speech Therapy
Toddlers often have trouble with pronunciation and difficulties putting sentences together. A child between the ages of 18 months and 3 years will generally mispronounce many words. It’s perfectly normal to have to play a guessing game to figure out what your child is saying, and at times you may have absolutely no clue what she’s getting at. That’s okay If the problem is not pronunciation but rather that your child isn’t talking or is talking very little, you should act a little more quickly. You should have your child evaluated if he or she is doing any of the following:
- Doesn’t react normally or consistently to sounds. (May be overly sensitive to sounds such as vacuums or hair dryers yet seem indifferent at other times when people call their name.)
- Mispronounces vowels, saying “coo” instead of “cow”.
- Uses one catch-all sound or syllable to name most things (“duh” or “duh-duh”).
- Doesn’t point to common objects in books.
- Uses a word once and then doesn’t use it again frequently.
- Still says single words only, and not two or three word sentences.
- Answers a question by repeating part of your question.
What happens during speech therapy?
A speech therapist will test your child and find out the types of speech and language skills that he or she needs to work on. Speech therapy includes training and repetitive exercises and use of devices that can make it easier for some children to speak. Speech therapists also work closely with the parents so that they may help their child.
The therapist works one-on-one with your child or in a small group. During therapy your child may do a variety of age-appropriate fun activities.
- Language exercises: During these exercises the therapist plays with and talks to your child. The therapist may model the correct way to say words and have your child repeat words and sentences.
- Articulation exercises: Articulation means the making of sounds. The therapist will do sound exercises with your child by making the correct sound or syllable of a word for the child to repeat. Your child is shown how to make the sound with his or her mouth and tongue. Your child may use a mirror to watch how the mouth and tongue move to make the correct sound.
- Relaxation and breathing exercises: Breathing techniques and relaxation exercises may be done to help your child relax the face and mouth muscles.
The Interactive metronome (IM) is a computer based technology that enables individuals to directly exercise and improve the processes of motor planning and sequencing. Motor planning and sequencing problems are commonly part of a variety of developmental and learning challenges, including dyspraxia and other motor problems, language difficulties, attentional challenges, different types of cognitive problems and a range of sensory integration challenges.
How does IM work?
The IM is a Pc-based interactive system based on the traditional music metronome. Hand and foot sensors are used to objectively measure a user’s planning and sequencing performance during a variety of tapping exercises. The program analyzes exactly when in time each tap occurs in relation to the reference beat and instantaneously transposes this timing information into special sounds that are heard in headphone and the taps are occurring. Like training wheels on a bicycle, the sounds are used by the individual to more accurately synchronize the tap with the steady metronome beat.
What improvements are seen with IM?
Documented studies have indicated improvements in the areas of attention, motor control, coordination, language processing, reading, academic achievement, and the ability to regulate aggression. Over the course of the treatment, patients learn to:
- Focus and attend for longer periods of time
- Increase physical endurance and stamina
- Filter out internal and external distractions
- Improve ability to monitor mental and physical actions as they are occurring
- Progressively improve coordinated performance.
Such patients include:
- Sensory Integration Disorder
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Non-verbal Learning Disorder
- Balance Disorders
- Limb Amputation
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
***Information obtained from the Interactive metronome a promotional brochure. Additional Information may be obtained at www.interactivemetronome.com.
What Is Sensory Integration?
Just as a computer is made to process data, the human brain is made to process sensory data into meaningful information. The brain is designed to be able to process classroom sounds into instructions, written numbers into equations and even sights along a roadway into traffic signs.
Examples of sensory processing that the brain handles might include:
- Ability to process sounds into language, music, or the wail of a siren
- Ability to process sights into works, pictures or faces of people you know
- Ability to process touch into the soft feel of a silky blouse, the itch of a garment tag on the back of your neck, or the light touch of a bug on your arm
- Ability to process tastes and textures in the mouth into the sweet taste of ice cream, the bumpy texture of tapioca, the tingle of a stick of cinnamon gum, or the sour crisp of a pickle
- Ability to process moving through space into the gentle lull of a boat ride, the plummet of a roller coaster dip, or the alert to danger when stumbling
- Ability to process smells and feeling associated with the aroma of hot bread, the fragrance of a flower, or the stench of a boys locker room
The brain is designed to simultaneously integrated these types of sensory inputs and compute their meaning, given a particular context. e.g. A light moving touch on the arm while sitting on a blanket on a sunny day at a picnic might be computed as a bug on your arm while a light moving touch on your arm might be computed as an invitation to dance.
Sensory Integration Disorders
Sensory integration disorders represent a group of developmental disabilities that emerge when the brain consistently fails in its ability to analyze and interpret sensory data. They include:
- Developmental dyspraxia-a disorder of the ability to coordinate movements of the body
- Sensory Defensiveness- a disorder of the ability to assess the intensity of the sensory input so that an over-reaction occurs
- Various other disorders of mood, attention, and activity level
Sensory integration disorders impact learning and social behavior. When left untreated, the behaviors of children with sensory integration disorders tend to show associated disorders such as attention deficit, learning disability, behavior problems, dyslexia, and other perceptual phenomena.
For example, when the ability to process sounds is impaired, the child might be able to hear, but not necessarily understand speech and other environmental sounds. Following instructions may be difficult as well as developing intelligible speech.
When the ability to process sights is impaired, although the child is able to see, they may not necessarily be able to recognize common objects and associate them with their function. At times these children may not be able to judge how close they are to objects and frequently stumble or trip.
When the ability to process touch is impaired, although the child may be able to appreciate touch to some degree, they might not necessarily understand how to touch. Grip may be too hard, too light, or too rough. Broken toys, and difficulties with safe play may be problematic.
When the ability to process taste or even touch inside the mouth is impaired, although the child eats, typically they are very picky eaters. Since healthy nutrition impacts mood, activity level, and attention, learning will be affected as well.
Children with sensory integration disorders can be helped through treatment that is provided by a therapist who is trained in use of the specialized equipment and techniques needed to address the underlying sensory processing issues.
Therapeutic Listening® (TL) is an expansion of Sensory Integration (SI). It is an auditory intervention that uses the organized sound patterns inherent in music to impact all levels of the nervous system. Auditory information from Therapeutic Listening® CDs provides direct input to both the vestibular and the auditory portions of the vestibular-cochlear continuum. The emphasis of TL is on blending sound intervention strategies with vestibulo-proprioceptive, core development, and breath activities so as to sustain grounding and centering of the body and mind in space and time. Providing these postural, movement, and respiratory activities as part of the TL program is critical.
Therapeutic Listening® utilizes numerous CDs that vary in musical style, types of filtering, and level of complexity. The music on Therapeutic Listening® CDs is electronically altered to elicit the orienting response which sets up the body for sustained attention and active listening. Above taken from Vital Links 2006 Newsletter
Therapeutic Listening® coupled with SI tends to speed the emergence of:
- Organized Behavior
- Self regulation
- Postural control
- Bilateral coordination
- Fine motor control
- Oral motor/articulation
- Social skills
- Visual motor integration
For more details on the Therapeutic Listening® program including case studies see this brief introduction to Therapeutic Listening.
There is a new peer-reviewed article on the effectiveness of Therapeutic Listening in the March/April 2007 issue of The American Journal of Occupational Therapy. In this article, Leah Hall (MS, OTR/L) and Jane Case-Smith (EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA) explored the effect of Therapeutic Listening® on children with sensory processing disorders and visual-motor delays.
Therapeutic Listening has always been embedded in the sensory integration framework. This article provides new evidence for the wisdom of that approach. Highlights of the article are provided below.
Handwriting Without Tears
Handwriting Without Tears Program
Handwriting Without Tears® aims to make legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic skill for all students. The programs unique and compelling curriculum design and teaching strategies facilitate this goal.
- Engaging techniques and activities that help improve a child’s early self-confidence, pencil grip, and body awareness skills
- Multisensory techniques and consistent habits for letter formation to help all children learn handwriting—from preschool through cursive
- Instructional methods that use fun, entertaining, and educationally sound principles
HWT designed their program to be simple for you to use at home. Your Occupational Therapist will guide you to become familiar with the program and the lesson/letter teaching strategies for using the workbooks. Strategies for effective teaching are clear and simple to follow. There are also tips for helping your child overcome specific handwriting difficulties.
Spend no more than 10 to 15 minutes on handwriting each day. Your goal is to form letters correctly, not to finish a predetermined number of pages. You will teach your child how to write through imitation.
To learn more, please visit their website at http://www.hwtears.com.
SOS Approach to Feeding
The SOS (Sequential-Oral-Sensory) Approach is an evidenced based program designed to address feeding behaviors that are problematic, and weight/growth difficulties in infants, children, and adolescents. The SOS Approach integrates motor, oral, behavioral/learning, medical, sensory, and nutritional factors to evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems. The SOS Approach is based on the stages and skills of feeding found in typically developing children.
The theory and methods for SOS Approach has been developed by Dr. Kay Toomey, a Pediatric Psychologist with almost 30 years of experience working with children who have difficulties with feeding.
For more information, please visit http://www.sosapproach-conferences.com.