April Is National OT Month

April 10, 2018

Krista Shutvet Explains What Makes Pediatric Occupational Therapy Unique at Milestones – For Kids’ Success:

Occupational therapy is used to support a person’s participation in their daily activities – the things they need and want to do. Occupational therapists (OTs) consider a person’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills, as well as look at the physical and social environment and the demands of any given activity. For children, their primary occupation is play, so naturally in pediatric occupational therapy, we use play to help address any challenge areas. Through a holistic lens, an OT will support a child in improving skills and collaborate with caregivers to modify factors in the environment and activities to best help their child succeed.

Parents Involved

OTs at Milestones, which is located in Downers Grove, Illinois, see children from birth to 3 years of age through Early Intervention in the home and children up to age 18 in our therapy center. Common challenges for the children we see include difficulty with self-care, school tasks, play and social participation.

The pediatric occupational therapy process at Milestones begins with an evaluation with the child and parent, followed by a parent meeting to discuss results and formulate goals. When the treatment sessions begin, parents are strongly encouraged to participate in the sessions to gain strategies to use at home. Parent meetings are used frequently to maintain collaboration with the parents and modify goals as needed.

At Milestones, we also offer social skills groups led by both an OT and a social worker. Within these small groups, up to six children work on relating to each other in a structured way and gain skills in perspective-taking and self-regulation.

Child-led, Therapist-guided

At Milestones, our therapies are child-led and therapist-guided. Through following the child’s lead, the child feels respected, safe and empowered. Using their ideas, the therapists build in challenges to help the child improve in their goal areas.

Recently, I was working with a young child hesitant to try new movement activities. During the session, she became very interested in a slide. I set up a rope and dropped it to where she was at the bottom of the slide. With encouragement, for the first time she was able to use her upper body strength and motor skills to coordinate both sides of her body to climb up the slide with the rope. She got to the top, stood up, raised her arms in the air and exclaimed, “Mission Completion!” She was thrilled with her success and, of course, wanted to do it over and over again! (What a perfect example of April’s National Occupational Therapy Month theme – Empowering Independence!)

Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Another unique aspect of therapy at Milestones is that, in addition to OTs, we also have speech-language pathologists, social workers, physical therapists and neurofeedback, all under one roof. We are constantly collaborating amongst disciplines to best support the child and family. We also offer co-treatment sessions where the child sees two disciplines simultaneously, which means that two therapists, each with different lenses, are assessing the child and working together to target more goal areas and modify treatment within the moment based on the child’s performance. This provides the family with the most holistic care that we can provide.

To learn more about occupational therapy services at Milestones, please call us at 630-792-1800.

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A native of the Chicagoland area, Krista Shutvet, OTR/L, is a graduate of Grand Valley State University in Michigan and Midwestern University. She made a “lucky draw” for her student fieldwork while at Midwestern and spent three months at Milestones. She came on staff full-time in February 2017. She says she fell in love with the passion of all the therapists, the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team, and the efforts for ongoing continuing education at Milestones, but mostly she fell in love with the kids and couldn’t imagine herself anywhere else!

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