Toileting (OT, PT)
Children can become independent in using the toilet by 2.5 to 3.5 years on average. When children have underlying physical or digestive issues, this progress may be delayed. Terms such as encopresis, incontinence and constipation are frequently noted to be involved. Children may refuse to sit on the toilet due to pain and previous unsuccessful experiences. Setting up a successful toileting space includes sound control, safe positioning on the toilet and parent coaching skills to support ongoing successful practice. Both Occupational therapy and Physiotherapy maybe needed to address toileting concerns.
Occupational Therapy (OT) will support the body awareness, environment and routines of toileting. Physiotherapy (PT) will support the physical skills including body alignment and the efficient use of muscles involved in toileting including the Pelvic Floor.
Child Dressing: Life Skills
At Playful Strides Therapy we support children who require extra support to become independent. Life Skills include all the activities required for daily life as well as activities that support living independently. An Occupational Therapist will meet with the child and family and assess skills to find the barriers to independence. They will build a home/school program or set up a treatment in the clinic that will increase their independence in areas that are meaningful to them. Life Skills can support many areas. Some examples include dressing, self-feeding, cooking, community mobility
Feeding and Eating Skills
At Playful Strides Therapy an Occupational Therapist supports learning to eat. We believe that children who struggle to eat and families who struggle to feed them require responsive and relationship focused support. No diagnosis is required for Occupational Therapy support but children may have been diagnosed with ARFID, Pediatric Feeding Disorder, Dysphagia or Failure to Thrive. We treat all children where mealtimes are a challenge. All feeding therapy is done by staff who have training in the SOS Approach to Eating and/or Get Permission Approach to Eating
In our clinic:
- Parents are part of the session.
- The focus of support is on building skills not coercion.
- Play is the base of all therapy.
- We work closely with your health care and family team to support progress.
Central Stability and Postural Control
When children are unable to keep their body still for activities they may have issues with trunk weakness. A child who struggles with posture and motor skills frequently has poor posture as the inner muscles of the trunk are not working effectively. A physiotherapist will assess a child’s body posture, trunk control and movement pattern. They will reinforce body alignment, use of diaphragmatic breathing to stabilize the central core of the body and build skills from the inside out. Finally the PT activities will mimic school, home and play physical demands for success in the community.
Social Emotional Learning, Group Skills
Many of the activities at school and home involve working in a group setting. If the sensory and social expectations of group environments are difficult, a child may demonstrate this through unexpected behaviours. Occupational Therapists address Social emotional skills through increasing the overall awareness and providing tricks to social interactions. At Playful Strides Therapy, we use many different modalities to support social connection. The Social Thinking® programs are used by the clinic as a framework for understanding the hidden rules of social communication. Other programs included in Social Emotional Learning are the Interoception Curriculum ® and the Zones of Regulation ®. We offer many individual and group programs throughout the year to address group skills.
Gross Motor Skills
At Playful Strides Therapy our Physiotherapists support all children to be their best. Without effective gross motor skills, children may become less interested or hesitate to join peers in Physical Education, , at sports or in the playground. This can impact a child’s physical fitness and health.
Whether a school or family has identified and referred a child for service, all gross motor skills begin with an assessment which will look at posture, balance, strength, range of motion, and the issues the family has raised for assessment. A treatment plan is provided to the family. Gross motor skills treatment follows different approaches depending on the child’s age. PT identifies barriers to movement and focuses on building the underlying skills to get your child caught up.
Sensory Processing and Integration Skills
Every person notices information around them and then puts emphasis on what is important. This is sensory processing & integration. How we choose what is important depends on what we are expected to be doing. At Playful Strides Therapy, Occupational Therapists first support a family in understanding how a child processes and uses sensory information and then build a wellness plan so that a child can enjoy and engage at home and school. Once brain and body strategies are supported by the family, OTs work on building more strategies and skills so a child can be their best self.
We have training in a wide variety of tools available including: Polyvagal Theory, Safe & Sound Protocol, Sensory Processing Strategies, MORE, Zones of Regulation, Astronaut Protocols, Willbarger Deep Pressure Protocol, Bal-A-vis-X and more.
In our clinic:
- Education to caregivers and school is key to understanding.
- The focus is on setting up the “just right” challenge for child engagement and learning.
Safe and Sound Protocol
When a child has difficulty with sound in their environment, an Occupational Therapist can support using this unique program. Safe and Sound is a music listening protocol that is designed to reduce stress, trauma and auditory sensitivity while increasing tolerance and endurance. The SSP is used by therapists as a support for therapy to help children to have a greater window of tolerance and return to a safe feeling state quicker. Once children can regulate easily, they respond more effectively to life’s challenges, build positive social relationships, and can be more connected with others. At Playful Strides Therapy we offer this as part of a therapy session or as its own treatment pathway. It can be delivered intensively in clinic or virtually with check ins.
Torticollis and Plagiocephaly
Torticollis (head persistently turned to one side) is a condition in an infant that can be present at birth. Torticollis can also be found when a child has other issues of the digestion, vision, muscle tone and medical intervention. Physiotherapists first provide a physical assessment and then build a program to support the caregivers with education, positioning and gentle playful exercises. The PT will also work with your child’s doctor to manage any underlying issues. When Torticollis is not treated, it can lead to head shape positioning, eye movement issues and fine motor challenges.
Executive Functioning Skills
Occupational Therapists support children who require support to remember, focus and priorize activities. Children with executive functioning skills can learn but struggle to apply their knowledge. These struggles can negatively impact academic performance, social relationships and overall quality of life. At Playful Strides Therapy, OTs support the child and family by building skills and strategies to increase attention, organization, impulse control, flexible thinking and time management. This may include body-based strategies, brain-based strategies or both. This may be provided in individual, small group and group intervention model, both in clinic and virtually. Many children who are not achieving due to reduced output require fine motor and emotional regulation support as well.
Fine Motor Skills, Printing, Writing
At Playful Strides Therapy we acknowledge fine motor challenges impact a child’s ability to engage in school, play and home activities. Occupational Therapists support children learning to use their hands effectively. Whether a school or family has identified and referred a child for service, all fine motor skills begin with an assessment which will look at large and small body movements, posture, hand skills and the issues the family has raised for assessment. Printing, Cursive Writing and Keyboarding assessments can be included if this identified as a challenge. A treatment plan is provided to the family. Fine motor skills treatment follows different approaches depending on the child’s age. An Equipment prescription for school or home programming can be provided after the assessment and trial has been completed. If the family would like a formal report for school, this can be provided at an additional cost of the therapist’s time.