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Children’s Occupational Therapy is Catching Up: July 16, 2011

With two pregnancies and two pre-term deliveries, Holly Hanni knew she would have her hands full.

“It was scary cause I knew the trials that we had with Ethan so it was definitely scary knowing we would have another preemie.”

Both Ethan and Noah are healthy but both are developmentally delayed compared to other kids. In their case, occupational therapy may help them catch  up.

“Occupational therapists, in pediatric health, basically deal with children from birth to 18,” says Jennifer Feinstein occupational therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.

The goal of occupational therapy is to teach children how to perform everyday tasks for themselves.

“We work on self help skills, helping them to get dressed,  to eat, to care for themselves at home, we also work on sensory processing skills, how they take in the environment,” says Feinstein.

Getting a head start can help jump start a child’s abilities. Much of what they learn in occupational therapy today is meant to get them on track for school tomorrow,

Pediatric occupational therapy simulates play.

“Most of the time they don’t really realize they’re working on their goals,” says Feinstein.

Putting children in complex settings helps them process motor skills, develop their thought process and rational thinking. Encouraging Holly, who is already contemplating life’s challenges for her sons.

“Just knowing what we would have to go through medically, physically, emotionally.”

She’s ready to grab on to the helping hand.