For children with developmental delays or a known disorder associated with a high probability of delays, occupational therapy can help improve their motor, cognitive, sensory processing, communication, and play skills.
Sky Bridge Therapies specializes in pediatric occupational therapy providing both 1-on-1 and small group therapy to treat children of varying needs. Our occupational therapists are trained to help children succeed in activities of daily living in the home, school, and community. They are also trained to help children organize and interpret sensory information from the environment in an appropriate manner. Through individualized treatment plans and a play-based therapy approach, our occupational therapists work to help children improve their skills.
Occupational Therapy addresses these primary areas and many more:
Sensory processing refers to the way in which we take in information through our senses, process what that information means, and then produce an appropriate response. For example, if you step on a nail, your tactile system sends the message that you’ve stepped on something sharp, you determine this is painful, therefore you quickly lift your foot and inspect the damage. Other responses are less reflexive and we react with learned or conditioned behaviors. Upon hearing a dog bark, many of us may orient our attention briefly to the sound before carrying on with our business. However, an individual who has had a negative experience with one of these animals may jump at the sound. His startle response can cause him to feel anxious until he feels assured he is out of harm’s way and has had enough time to move on from any negative association triggered by the sound. For some with sensory processing disorder, this heightened state of alertness is how they live most of their day.
At Sky Bridge Therapies, our thoughtfully designed therapy rooms allow your child to navigate, explore, and discover new sensory-motor experiences, gaining vital motor planning skills and improving physical and social development. Through a combination of tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular, visual, taste/smell, and auditory input our occupational therapists help your child learn the skills and strategies to success in activities of daily living.
Sensory receptors for touch are found in our skin. They tell the child where their body ends and the rest of the world begins. Sky Bridge Therapies has a wealth of tactile experiences for children to explore including sensory bins and buckets full of varied textures to explore.
Proprioceptor receptors are found in muscles, tendons and joints. When a child moves, these receptors tell their brain about body position and how much force is needed for an activity. Sky Bridge Therapies has a wide variety of materials and experiences that allow children to use their muscles in different combinations including climbing our rock wall and navigating various obstacle courses.
Vestibular receptors are in the inner ear and tell the child how their body moves through space and against gravity. When a child’s vestibular system is not functioning correctly, they child may be under responsive or overly sensitive to movement. The child may either need to move constantly to feel satisfied or be fearful of movement because it makes him feel insecure and unbalanced. The child may move in an uncoordinated, clumsy manner, bumping into things, falling, and never fully walking or sitting in an upright manner. Our occupational therapists at Sky Bridge Therapies provide opportunities for children to move through space, allowing them to explore their vestibular system while engaging in a variety of exciting activities including swinging and spinning on our suspended equipment.
We depend on sight the most. Colors, visual patterns, and natural light reflection at Sky Bridge Therapies provide a variety of visual experiences for children of all abilities.
Children with sensory processing difficulties may be overly sensitive to smells. They may gag or even throw up when they encounter smells that, to most people, aren’t unpleasant or even noticeable. They may become distracted by smells that most people don’t even notice (e.g. the smell of the cleaner used on their desk or the smell of the soap they used to wash their hands).
Children with hypersensitivity to smell tend to struggle at mealtimes, both with smelling the foods on their plates and with tasting the food that’s presented to them. They don’t experience pleasure with smells that most of us associate with pleasant memories or good experiences, like smelling chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven.
Other children demonstrate decreased sensitivity to smells. They seem to crave certain smells, frequently holding non-food items to their noses to smell them (e.g. crayons, toys, etc.). These children may not have an understanding of “safe” versus “dangerous” smells, which can lead to safety issues (e.g. being drawn to strong smells like cleaning chemicals or strong-scented permanent markers).
Sky Bridge Therapies’ feeding program works to evaluate your child’s sensory processing skills related to taste and smell and help improve your child’s feeding skills in a safe, fun way.
Auditory receptors are in the ear. Children often hear a broad range of sounds that can enhance or hinder their play experiences. Our occupational therapists provide a variety of sound opportunities for children.