The Occupational Therapy team at The Reece School work to promote optimal participation in classroom activities. In addition to direct interventions to promote skill development, the occupational therapists at Reece also consult with classroom teachers and make recommendations for environmental modifications and sensory integration based interventions to support classroom functions.
Based on your child’s strengths and weaknesses, the OT’s prioritize development of foundation skills that generalize to a large number of tasks. These foundation areas include the ability to receive and interpret sensory information (such as the sound of the teacher’s voice, the feeling of glue on their hands, an awareness of their body position) to optimize attention, and to move through the task with efficiency, accuracy, and confidence. The OT is also ensuring the child’s postural strength is adequate for sitting upright at the desk and providing a stable base for fine motor development.
In addition to consistent work on foundation areas as needed, the therapist tailors treatment activities to address development of task specific skills based on challenges in the classroom. This might include specific types of coordination such as: bilateral coordination (using both sides of the body towards a common goal, such as cutting paper), fine motor coordination (manipulating coins or other classroom manipulatives with precision), visual motor skills (coordinating visual information with arm/hand movements such as catching, writing on a guideline), and ocular motor/eye-control skills (controlling eye movements to efficiently copy information from the board to a notebook). Naturally, many activities require skills from all of these areas. OT’s will also address skills such as visual perception (completing a jigsaw puzzle), balance responses (lifting one leg to put on pants), executive functioning skills (organization of materials in the classroom), and the ability to approach a challenging task with comfort.
Naturally, these skills will be better maintained when used in the context of a functional, meaningful activity. This includes incorporation of the following tasks into sessions as needed: handwriting, keyboarding, cutting, folding, gluing, drawing, coloring, dressing, fastener use/shoe-tying, self-feeding, diet expansion activities, sports/athletic activities, games, puzzles, and community participation activities. Activities are tailored to foster internal motivation.