What Is Occupational Therapy?

“Occupational therapy is the use of purposeful activity or interventions designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury or disability, and which develop, improve, sustain or restore the highest possible level of independence of any individual who has an injury, illness, cognitive impairment, psychosocial dysfunction, mental illness, developmental or learning disability, or other disorders or conditions. It includes assessment by means of skilled observation or evaluation through the administration and interpretation of standardized or non-standardized tests and measurements.” Definition of Occupational Therapy Practice for State Regulation by the American Occupational Therapy Association, 1994.

Occupational Therapy and the Sensory Bin

The Sensory Bin Pediatric Therapy Clinic is a pediatric-focused therapy clinic that provides a variety of therapeutic services for children with disabilities, including occupational and music therapies in both individual and group settings. Services are provided for children ranging in ages from birth to adolescence.

We provide OT intervention in the following areas:

  • Sensory Processing
  • Fine and Visual Motor Skills
  • Gross Motor/Mobility Skills
  • Oral and Feeding Skills
  • Play Skills
  • Daily Living Skills
  • Functional Communication Skills
  • Social Skills

Our OT intervention methods include:

  • Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI)
  • Feeding Therapy (S.O.S Approach)
  • Therapeutic Listening Program (TLP)
  • CranioSacral Therapy (CST)
  • Neuro-developmental Treatment (NDT)
  • Infant and Pediatric Massage
  • Floor Time (DIR) and SCERTS Interventions
  • Developmental Fitness
  • Visual Perceptual and Motor Learning
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • Music Therapy
  • Therapeutic use of Art

To initiate OT services, your child will need to be evaluated. This will help to identify the problem areas that therapy services could potentially improve within your child. We use many standardized assessment tools, Ayres/Blanche Sensory Integration® clinical observations, play observations; and parent information as part of our intake process. Our clinic provides specialized testing for children with SPD and other related sensory-motor dysfunction using the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test.

Sensory Integration and Praxis Test

The SIPT is a specialized group of 17 standardized subtests appropriate for children who may have deficits with sensory processing. The SIPT is regarded as the “Gold Standard for Determining Sensory Processing Deficits”.

Major areas of testing include:

  • motor-free visual perception
  • motor planning (praxis)
  • sensory-motor processing
  • somatosensory processing

You will learn about your child’s:

  • praxis skills
  • various aspects of the sensory processing status of vestibular, proprioceptive, kinesthetic, tactile, and visual systems
  • major behavioral manifestations of deficits in integration of sensory inputs from those systems

Age Limit: 4-8 years old

Time Required: 2-3 hours

Cost: $600; includes testing and interpretation. Portions of the SIPT can be administered at a reduced rate

Role of the COTA

Registered occupational therapists (OTRs) often work in collaboration with certified occupational therapist assistants (COTAs). The following paragraphs help the reader understand the important role played by COTAs.

Certified occupational therapist assistants (COTAs) assist with the evaluation and treatment of individuals with injuries, cognitive impairments, psychosocial dysfunctions, mental illness, developmental or learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or other disorders or conditions.

Under the supervision of occupational therapists (OTs), COTAs:

  1. contribute to the evaluation process through the administration of assessments (standardized and non-standardized) for which they have established competency; and
  2. implement therapeutic interventions which use purposeful activity for developing, improving, sustaining or restoring function in performance skills, and leisure capacities.

The performance components (sensorimotor, cognitive, psychosocial, and psychological) are the elements of performance in which COTAs intervene for the purpose of attaining an individual’s highest level of functional independence within the appropriate environmental context.

Under the supervision of an OT, COTAs also assist in the design, development, adaptation, application or training in the use of assistive technology devices; the design, fabrication or application of orthotic devices; training in the use of orthotic or prosthetic devices; application of physical agent modalities; and the adaptation of environments and processes to enhance functional performance.