This form of medical-based therapy is the use of treatments to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental or developmental condition. Occupational therapy is a client-centred practice that places a premium on the progress towards the client’s goals. Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skills, and educating the client / family / caregivers in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the client. Occupational therapists often work closely with professionals in physio-therapy, speech-therapy, nursing, social work, schools, edu-centres, etc.
The two examples of pediatric occupational treatment are listed below:
Sensory Integration Therapy
Jean Ayres’ Sensory Integration (ASI) is a theory that describes how the neurological process of processing and integrating sensory information from the body and the environment contribute to emotional regulation, learning, behaviour, and participation in daily life, empirically derived disorders of sensory integration and an intervention approach. The brain must organize all of our sensations if a child is to move and learn and behave in a productive manner”. The main form of sensory integration therapy is a type of occupational therapy that places a child in a room specifically designed to stimulate and challenge all of the senses. During the session, the therapist works closely with the child to provide a level of sensory stimulation that the child can cope with, and encourage movement within the room.
Sensory integration therapy is driven by four main principles:
• Just right challenge (the child must be able to successfully meet the challenges that are presented through playful activities)
• Adaptive response (the child adapts his behaviour with new and useful strategies in response to the challenges presented)
• Active engagement (the child will want to participate because the activities are fun)
• Child directed (the child’s preferences are used to initiate therapeutic experiences within the session)
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)
This is a profound technique that may be effective in managing symptoms and providing solutions associated with mild to moderate sleep apnoea, poor digestion, headaches, TMJD (Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction), periodontal disease and many other common ailments. The technique is based on the neuromuscular re-education or re-patterning of the oral and facial muscles, and includes facial exercises and behaviour modification techniques to promote proper tongue position, improved breathing, chewing and swallowing. Proper functional head and neck postures are also addressed.
E.g. infants with Down syndrome often present with a typical orofacial disorder, the features of which include hypotonicity of the perioral muscles, lips and chewing muscles, and a protruding tongue, later followed by active tongue protrusion, as well as problems with sucking, drooling, etc. The effects of this therapy with Down syndrome children show significant positive results in spontaneous tongue position, upper and lower lip tonicity and position, mouth closure, drooling and sucking.