The Right Therapy For Your Child

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

The following areas of development can be addressed through Occupational Therapy by Jennifer Maud

SENSORY INTEGRATION

As occupational therapists we are interested in your little ones sensory integration. This meaning: how well they can take in information from the environment, process and understand it and then appropriately respond. Sensory Integration OT’s are concerned with this mechanism as it forms the foundation of all other development such as planning, gross motor and fine motor skills. We look at sensory integration as a means of two different processes. Firstly, sensory modulation and then sensory discrimination. This is determined through assessment.

Sensory Modulation:

Sensory modulation assists in controlling the amount of sensory input coming into and out of our sensory systems, so that we can be calm, alert and pay attention to and adapt appropriately to people, tasks and the environment. Everyone is unique in how they respond to sensory stimuli. Some are sensitive to certain stimuli, avoiding it or displaying emotional distress when they encounter it. For example, a little one who covers his ears when he hears a loud noise or another little one who hates certain clothing items and textures. Other children can crave the input, seeking it so they receive enough. This is often the child that is constantly on the go. Lastly, some individuals need a lot of input, but they do not seek it out, hence they appear lethargic and passive and thus need an OT to help get their systems awake and alert. In OT we talk about 7 senses namely vestibular (movement), proprioceptive (deep pressure), tactile, auditory, gustatory (taste) and olfactory (smell).

Sensory Discrimination:

Sensory discrimination refers to how accurately a person responds to and interprets incoming sensory information. Some children may not accurately take in the information in their environment and this can result in them appearing clumsy, struggle working with both sides of their body (bilateral integration) or struggle with planning.

The basis for all development depends of the ability for the child to receive incoming sensory input, process this information and integrate it into their functioning. Falling out in any of these capabilities could interfere with development and functional ability on a physical, social and emotional level. The sensory system comprises of 7 areas, namely: vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, vestibular (movement), proprioception (deep pressure input related to body scheme). An occupational therapist could assist in integrating any of these senses through sensory integrative techniques.

Gross Motor Skills, Control and Co-ordination:

Muscle tone, strength and endurance need to be intact for basic motor skills to develop. The child should have a good awareness of where their body is moving through space, as well as the ability to control their movements accurately and with fluidity. The ability to sequence their movement as well as use rhythm and timing is important. An occupational therapist could assist with improving gross motor skills, muscle tone, strength and endurance.

Neurodevelopmental therapy (NDT) is a hands-on treatment approach used in the assessment and treatment of children with neurological injuries such a cerebral palsy, who have sensory and motor difficulties as a result of the brain trauma. This approach looks at the individual’s abilities and impairments and relates them to participation in activities and functional ability. This is used to create goals related to motor control which are specific to the individual. The treatment programme is put together with input from the therapist, the family, the caregivers and the client.

What is MAES Therapy? 

MAES Therapy is an approach to treating neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, that focuses on developing co-ordination by increasing the quality and the variety of movements. It focusses on where movement originates i.e. the brain rather than just treating muscles. It develops the child’s ability to plan, co-ordinate and execute their movements.

Fine Motor Skills, Control and Co-ordination: by Jennifer Maud

Fine motor control can only develop once postural control, shoulder stability and in hand strength is underway. And occupational therapist can improve this area of development through improving the strength of the hand, developing bilateral integration (the use of two halves of the body working together) and midline crossing, establishing in hand manipulation and the use of different grasps, grips and pinches. Please look at the groups we offer at Jennifer Maud Therapy Group: The Fine Motor Skills Group and The Handwriting Group.

Planning, Processing and Sequencing:

Planning is an integral and complex area of development relying heavily on the development of all sensory systems, as well as the ability of the child to ideate (develop a “mind’s eye view” of what they wish their body to achieve and then execute it). Without the ability to plan, process and sequence the child will fall behind in all areas of development.

Visual Perception:

Receiving and interpreting information through the visual system. Areas that the Occupational Therapist could be involved in developing: figure ground, visual closure, spatial relations, position in space, visual motor integration, eye hand co-ordination, visual motor speed, form constancy, visual sequential memory. Please look at the groups we offer to assist in the development of Visual Perception

These skills form the building blocks of reading, spelling and writing.

See below on our approach to assisting the child with dyslexia.

Dyslexia: , at Jennifer Maud Therapy Group – addressed by an OT, by our Dyslexia Specialist Zaakirah Ebrahim

The international dyslexia association defines dyslexia as a neurological based disorder that interferes with acquisition and processing of language. It varies in degrees of severity. Manifested by difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including reading, writing and spelling.

The key features of an individual with dyslexia include; average to above IQ levels, poor self-esteem as they feel they do not fit in due to their reading and writing difficulties, poor frustration tolerance, difficulty with time management and working memory. Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that can affect individual from all walks of life and all levels of intelligence. When they learn to read, individuals with dyslexia guess at words and often forget what they said. They become so invested in decoding the words that they forget the meaning of the paragraph or what they read

The treatment approach used is a multi-sensory approach. Adequate sensory processing sets the foundation for all academic learning, it is about helping the child make sense of the world around them through their senses. Children with dyslexia often have weaker auditory processing and this is the most important sensory system to address when treating children with dyslexia as one can identify subtle differences in sound. If a child cannot hear the sound, it is difficult to connect a visual image to what they hear. Therefore, the OT will always work closely with our Speech and Language Therapist. The visual system also plays an important role, in therapy integration of the visual perceptual skills (visual discrimination, visual closure, visual figure ground) will form the building blocks for reading and writing. The most important guiding treatment principle is treating on a body level. Your movement and muscle joints play an important role in the integration of visual and auditory input to the body. When you do not have a good sense of your body then how can you orientate to and make sense of what you hear or see?

Get the body moving before you get the dyslexic child to write. Go back to the basics and just PLAY- go over, under, through objects. Draw on the carpet and allow the whole body to feel the movement, walk over the letters, crawl, use your body to form the letter with friend. Start on a body level before you move on to the 2D level of worksheets and pen and paper learning. Integrate the sensory system for an enjoyable learning experience. This is how we wish to approach all learning at Jennifer Maud Therapy Group.

Red Flags for Dyslexia:

• Poor spelling

• Reversing numbers and letters

• Left right discrimination is weak

• Poor organisational skills

• Telling the time is tricky

• Accurately copying from the board to paper

• Remembering or understanding what they have just read during story time or when learning for tests.

Body Scheme:

The development of body scheme is integral to developing co-ordination, spatial skills, postural control and alignment.

Social and Behavioural Development:

Children with social and behavioral problems often present with poor sensory processing abilities. A few examples follow:

– This could result in an overwhelmed/anxious child if their sensory system is very sensitive to sensory input.

– The child that constantly moves/spins/rocks/runs could have a high threshold for vestibular (movement input) before he feels regulated (calm and alert).

– The child that rolls on the carpet a lot during ring time/ pushes his friends and loves to wrestle/ jump too much/ uses excessive force during gross motor and fine motor activity could have a very high threshold for proprioceptive input (deep pressure). This child requires the input he so desperately seeks before he is able to feel regulated.

– The child that is avoidant, controlling, prefers to work in a structured/ routine environment could struggle with planning skills (dyspraxia)

These are just a few of the examples of a poorly integrated sensory system which could result in behavioral and / or social problems.

For further assistance from an OT addressing behavioral and social struggles, take a look at the DIR approach which we use at Jennifer Maud Therapy Group: by our specialist Camilla Price 

DIR:

This model of play is based on the Inside-out approach of play. The child is required to engage emotionally, and this the therapy is entirely relationship based. We base the therapy on the child’s strengths, thus using intrinsic motivation. Parents / primary caregivers are the corner stone of the therapy and its best for the parents to be actively involved. The goal of DIR Floortime is to increase core functions of relating, communicating, reasoning and thinking.

PHYSIOTHERAPY

by Sarah Torreo

Paediatric Physiotherapy:
We are trained to work specifically with children helping them to achieve age-appropriate gross motor skills. Not only do we look at whether each milestone has been achieved but rather at the QUALITY of movement the child presents with within each milestone. We aim to establish appropriate activation of the correct muscle groups to ensure correct movement patterns and work on improving strength and stability to ensure a stable base from which smooth, controlled movement can occur to optimise function at home, in the classroom and on the playground.

We promote early intervention and our treatment approach is paediatric-centred; we provide a supportive and fun environment to develop confidence in gross motor skills with the use of a variety of indoor and outdoor equipment.

We treat children of all ages and areas of skills. Some areas include: delayed motor milestones, poor postural control against gravity, poor endurance and poor control and co-ordination of movement, core muscle weakness and gait issues (including: toe-walking, pigeon toeing etc).

REMEDIAL THERAPY

by Kristy Jackson

Remedial Therapy supports children with barriers to learning in the areas of Literacy, Numeracy and Perceptual Skills, with the aim of overcoming these obstacles. We aim to ensure that your child feels confident and prepared to tackle the academic tasks that they face in the classroom.
The foundation to our approach is based on the Phono-Graphix reading and spelling program, which provides straight forward methods to assess and develop your child’s ​​literacy skills.

​Mathematics skills are consolidated by working from simple to more complex methods

​and using repetition ​for ​your​ child to understand the concept fully and build a solid foundation for future concepts.

We endeavour to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the children in our care. We focus on each child’s abilities and build their confidence and skills in the necessary areas. ​

SPEECH THERAPY

Speech therapy is an intervention service that focuses on improving a child’s speech, abilities to understand and express language as well as auditory processing skills. We also work with children with specific developmental and neural disorders.

Being a part of the Jennifer Maud Therapy Group, we work closely together in a multi-disciplinary team in order to achieve a shared goal of improving the child’s areas of difficulty. By working in a team, we are able to treat the child in a holistic approach and have achieved higher rates of success.

Auditory Processing:
This refers to the processing of heard information. This is not linked to hearing acuity. This relates to auditory memory, the ability to follow oral directions, discrimination of similar and same sounding words, understanding of information presented verbally and reasoning skills.

Phonological Awareness:
Phonological awareness skills refer to the ability to manipulate sounds within words, and having awareness of the phonological structure, or sound structure, of words. This is precursor for developing reading and literacy skills. This includes hearing sounds in words, segmenting sounds in a word, blending sounds together, and rhyming skills.

Speech production:
Remediation of misarticulated speech sounds, development of the speech sound system, planning and coordinating the oral-motor movements needed to make speech sounds

Feeding/ Dysphagia:

This refers to a variety of oral exercises as well as sensory techniques to improve the child’s chewing, swallowing, gag reflex and food refusal difficulties. Oral exercises are used to strengthen the muscles of the mouth for eating, drinking and swallowing. Sensory techniques include manipulation of the foods to improve the child’s oral awareness when feeding.

Breast feeding, and tube feeding is targeted as well and more information can be found on at Nurtured Life, enhancing the first two years of life.

Language:
Receptive language: This is the understanding of language. Receptive disorders refer to difficulties understanding or processing language.

Expressive language: This is the use of language. Expressive disorders include difficulty putting words together, vocabulary limitations, sentence formulation, grammar, vocabulary expansion, and verbal reasoning and storytelling/narrative skills.

Pragmatic language: This is the ability to use language in a socially appropriate way.

Stuttering:
Fluency disorders include stuttering, a condition in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions, or prolonging sounds and syllables.

PLAY THERAPY

by Julianna Yates

In play therapy, the psychologist provides a child with a safe space to explore and express their conscious and unconscious world through the medium of play. The psychologist supports the child in working through their emotions and experiences and helps them to develop adaptive coping mechanisms. Therapy is about supporting each child and working with them as an individual, attending to their individual needs. The psychologist also works closely with parents by providing them with regular feedback and recommendations on what might benefit their child at home. Play therapy is non-directive, meaning that the psychologist allows the child to lead the therapy in order to allow them to express themselves rather than being led. Play therapy is often used in addressing behavioral difficulties, emotional difficulties, anxiety, depression, and helping children with life adjustments or coping with everyday difficulties.

EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

by Juli Yates

Assessment services offered include psychoeducational, school readiness, developmental, and career assessments. Each assessment begins with a parent meeting to gain some background history about the child. The assessment is conducted in a one-on-one setting with the child and takes place over 1 or 2 days, depending on their child’s needs. Assessments are often conducted when concerns regarding a child’s development, or school performance have been noted. It is a way of gaining a holistic understanding of their cognitive, education, and emotional functioning. This then assists parents and teachers in understanding what the child might need in order to help them reach their potential. Parents are provided with a comprehensive report after the assessment, and a feedback session is done to discuss the results and recommendations.

Contact Jennifer Maud Therapy Group on admin@jennifermaudtherapygroup.co.za to get advice on the right therapy for you child. JMTG provides brief free screenings to assist you in the process of ensuring  your child will start with the right therapy for him/her.