Our OT Philosophy
People often ask us why a child may require occupational therapy. After all, isnt’ an “occupation” the same thing as a “job?” This question reflects a fundamental misconception about occupational therapy. According to Merriam-Webster, an “occupation” is “an activity in which one engages,” and a child’s primary activity, of course, is play. As kids grow, play enables children to develop their motor and sensory processing and integration skills through exploration and discovery. At Main Line Integrated Therapy, we use play to optimize engagement and participation in our occupational therapy sessions, to aid the development of sensory, motor and relational skills.
When functional skills development is challenged, it is important to consider the sensory foundations on which motor skills are developed. Sensations are the first things that children develop. The primary goal of the first few months of life is to take in the sensations of others and the environment and to eventually respond with an action (motor control – first gross motor and then fine motor). This sensory process – taking in the sights and sounds of early social interactions and moving to respond to them – sets the stage for all other motor skills needed to successfully participate in daily life. Recognizing that both sensations and relationships underlie all development, those are the starting points for our evaluations and treatment.
At MLIT, parents and therapists engage in play side-by-side by their children. Parents are encouraged to participate in every session. Therapists meet with parents to set functional real-life outcomes for goals and work with the family in each session. We also offer parent meetings to review progress, strategies and goals. This approach significantly improves carryover and enhances intra-family relationships!
Comprehensive motor learning requires the integration of both sensory and motor exploration. Without this integration, fine and gross motor skills can become splinter skills that are not fully generalized or maintained. By giving children opportunities to explore how they can move their body in different ways through guided play, MLIT enables them to discover the best ways to respond in the moment with precise motor control, and thereby integrating both sensory and motor skills. This discovery is the beginning of strong foundations on which other skills are supported; it forms the roots and trunk of their developmental tree.