Physical therapy addresses a wide range of disorders for people of all ages. Adults may need PT to focus on recovering from an injury or illness, for pain management or for other chronic conditions. Children with developmental delays, physical challenges or balance difficulties will gain critical skills, independence, and confidence while under the care of a VITAL physical therapist.
Individuals see physical therapists for a variety of reasons including:
- Improving mobility and flexibility
- Recovering from an injury
- Reducing pain in muscles and joints
- Preventing falls
- Improving balance and motor planning
- Increasing strength and endurance
How can I get my child started with PT?
You will first need an evaluation. Depending on your insurance plan, you may need to obtain a referral before your appointment is scheduled. On the day on your evaluations, which will take approximately an hour, please be prepared to provide your child’s medical history including developmental milestones, areas of difficulty, relationships with others. Your PT will check your child’s strength, development, and see how easily they can stand, walk, and complete tasks appropriate for their age.
Following the evaluation, your PT will work with you to develop your child’s goals for success. This plan of care will follow them as they work to make progress. You will also discuss frequency of service as there is no one size fits all approach. Treatment options will vary for each child as will the duration of therapy.
What does an PT session look like?
Sessions are tailored to your child’s specific needs and challenges. Most sessions go for an hour but can be shortened if your child is not able to handle that amount of time to start. We work with each family to find the fit that is needed to support the child and the family where they are at. Physical therapy is about movement and play for young children. At VITAL we strive to make each session feel fun and engaging. More like play and less like work to make the gains needed. We include the family as appropriate so that you can see what we are doing and facilitate functional carry over at home with exercises and games for your child to work on to achieved goals.
Pediatric Occupational Therapy
Pediatric Occupational Therapy helps children succeed in important areas of their lives. Occupational Therapists look at children from a holistic perspective. We work to determine where delays or limitations are coming from, especially in the areas of fine motor skills, cognitive skills, social development and establishing self-care routines. Together these skills lead to children being able to grow into healthy well-functioning adults.
Children see occupational therapists for a variety of reasons including:
- Develop fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting or computer skills.
- Improve visual motor skills such as eye–hand coordination so they can play and do needed school skills such as bat a ball and copy from a blackboard.
- Feeding therapy is also an area that Occupational Therapy addresses to help children learn to eat a greater variety and get beyond the frustrations of mealtimes. Picky eating and problem feeding are areas that several OT’s are also able to help with.
- Master life skills such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and self-feeding.
- Learn positive behaviors and social skills by practicing how they manage frustration and anger.
- Increase cognitive skills so they can remember letters, shapes, sequencing task, manage time and solve problems.
- Learn emotional regulation so they can practice how to manage emotions so they able make friends, developed relationship and self-advocate.
- Sensory processing and regulation learn coping skills to reduce sensory aversions that prevent participation with activities of daily living, dressing, eating, brushing teeth etc.
- Develop gross motor skills such as balance and body coordination so they can ride a bike, navigate playgrounds, and play sports.
How can I get my child started with OT?
Your child will first need an evaluation. Depending on your insurance plan you may need to obtain a referral before your appointment is scheduled. On the day on your evaluations, which will take approximately an hour, please be prepared to provide your child’s medical history including developmental milestones, areas of difficulty, relationships with others. Your OT will work with you to develop your child’s goals for success. This plan of care will follow them as they work to make progress. You will also discuss frequency of service as there is no one size fits all approach. Treatment options will vary for each child as will the duration of therapy.
What does an OT session look like?
Sessions are tailored to your child’s specific needs and challenges. Most sessions go for an hour but can be shortened if your child is not able to handle that amount of time to start. We work with each family to find the fit that is needed to support the child and the family where they are at.
Children do not like to just sit in therapy, so Occupational Therapists strive to make therapy sessions feel like play. By participating in motivating activities that are meaningful to your child, such as games, crafts, and building obstacle courses, we work to make gains towards goals while having fun! Occupational therapists help children develop these necessary physical, cognitive, and sensory skills so they can perform daily tasks more with more confidence and independence.
Visual Processing Therapy
What is Visual Processing?
Visual processing is how our eyes work with the brain to interpret information in order for us to navigate and make sense of our environment. Most people are familiar with visual acuity difficulties which can be corrected with glasses. Visual processing difficulties may present as learning problems such as difficulty with letter reversal, learning the letters of the alphabet, poor recall of visual information and having trouble writing, spelling or reading. Our VITAL occupational therapists can help determine if your child has difficulty with visual processing. Our occupational therapists can address common visual processing issues to help your child succeed. Your therapist may refer you to a developmental ophthalmologist who will assess the severity and prescribe the best course of action.
What does visual processing therapy look like?
Here at VITAL we stive to develop fun and engaging therapeutic interventions, therefore therapy often resembles play. You may observe your child swinging a bat at a ball suspended from the ceiling, this address difficulties with eye tracking and motor coordination. Your child may complete mazes, puzzles or looking for hidden items in order to improve visual processing.
How do I get started with Visual Processing Therapy ?
Your will first need an evaluation. Depending on your insurance plan, you may need to obtain a referral before your appointment is scheduled. On the day on your evaluation, which will take approximately an hour, please be prepared to provide a complete medical history including developmental milestones areas of difficulty at home or at school. Your therapist will work with you to develop goals for success. This plan of care will follow each client as they work to make progress. You will also discuss frequency of Treatment options will vary for each person as will the duration of therapy.
Children often have many reasons why they have difficulty with feeding. Here at Vital we take a holistic approach by taking your families unique needs. Vital feeding therapist considers your entire family, including your culture, routines, and priorities as we develop a custom approach to mealtime and feeding.
At Vital our feeding therapist take a sensory, oral motor and play-based approach to feeding that alleviates children’s anxiety surrounding foods while building strong foundational skills for success.
Eating and oral motor skills are very closely linked. Feeding therapy can be done by both an Occupational Therapist or a Speech and Language Pathologist. Most often feeding teams consist of both! However, if your child has difficulties with coordinating suck-swallow-breathing, chocking or trouble swallowing an evaluation with a Speech Language pathologist will be required to ensure a comprehensive and safe approach to feeding therapy is taken.
What is Feeding Therapy?
Feeding and the act of eating is a developmental skill. From birth, children learn to develop emotions and routines surrounding mealtime. Some of the first bonds a child makes with their parent are during feeding. As children grow and begin to explore their world, they develop more meaningful and complex relationships with foods. During this phase, children begin to explore foods with their sensory systems (taste, touch, smell, sight, sound). Food begins to play a significant role in their daily habits and routines. When a child has underlying sensory processing difficulties, visual or fine motor challenges, this relationship with food and mealtimes can become disrupted. They may begin to avoid foods, become upset or present with behavioral challenges during mealtime, and new patterns regarding foods can emerge. Feeding Therapy is an approach that helps to identify these challenging patterns or underlying sensory processing difficulties and help to remediate them making eating a positive and enjoyable experience.
Does My Child Need Feeding Therapy? (sensory based)
The following are some signs your child might benefit from feeding therapy:
- “Picky Eater”, resistant to trying new foods.
- Gagging or vomiting with foods present or during meals (not while eating).
- Limited diet.
- Developmental history of feeding challenges (bottle/breastfed, purees to solids).
- Nutritional Challenges.
- Failure to Thrive (FTT) or below growth curve.
- Behaviors or emotions (anxiety, meltdowns) surrounding mealtime.
- Doesn’t ask for food; not hungry often.
- Craves certain foods/tastes/textures. Chooses these above all other foods/snacks.
- Excessive drooling.
- Pockets food or overstuffs while eating.
- Difficulty identifying tastes/smells.
- Overly concerned with how food “looks”.
- Gagging or difficulty with tooth brushing.
- Mouthing of non-food objects and other oral motor seeking behaviors. (oral motor based)
- Swallowing challenges including choking, or coughing when eating or drinking.
- Dietary restrictions based on the thickness of liquids (i.e. can only eat purees or semi-solid foods).
- Young children who cannot synchronize suck-swallow-breath during bottle or breast feeding.
- Children with a G-tube, N-G-Tube or other feeding tube who have not had prior exposure to feeding therapy or food eaten by mouth.
How can Feeding Therapy Help?
Feeding is complex! Our VITAL feeding therapists use a comprehensive approach that specifically targets each client’s specific needs. If your family needs a sensory-based approach to decrease anxiety around mealtimes or if improvement of oral motor skills can make feeding safe and enjoyable, our skilled therapists have a variety of interventions to guide your family to happy, safe mealtimes. If you feel your child may benefit from feeding therapy or have any questions regarding our oral motor and feeding therapy approaches, please call the office!
Speech-Language Pathologists, Speech Therapist or SLP help people of all ages, improve their ability to take in information, process it and generate a response. Individuals can depend on VITAL therapist to help them gain skills to make them feel more confident in everyday social settings, school or work. SLPs have specialized training to determine what area of language can be targeted to maximize progress.
Speech-Language Pathologists address a wide range of disorders including:
- Expressive or receptive language delays, difficulty with speaking or understand language.
- Social Communication disorders weakness with tone of voice, expressing or interpreting body language.
- Swallowing and Feeding difficulties, trouble with gaging, chewing or swallowing.
- Articulation, difficulty with producing certain word sounds.
- Organizing thoughts and tasks
- Problem solving
- Understanding and expressing emotions
How can I get started with Speech Therapy?
Your will first need an evaluation. Depending on your insurance plan, you may need to obtain a referral before your appointment is scheduled. On the day on your evaluation, which will take approximately an hour, please be prepared to provide a complete medical history including developmental milestones (if a child), areas of difficulty, and describe relationships with others. Your Speech Language Pathologist will work with you to develop goals for success. This plan of care will follow each client as they work to make progress. You will also discuss frequency of service with your SLP as there is no one size fits all approach. Treatment options will vary for each person as will the duration of therapy.
What does Speech Therapy look like for my young child?
Children learn best when they are having fun and engaged in play. At VITAL our Speech Language Pathologists work to make every session feel like play. We also work with our families in an inclusive format to allow parents to practice with their child on the skills they need to practice so that families feel more confident in carrying over strategies to home. Every child is different, so every therapy session is tailored to meet the needs of your child and your family. Therapy sessions are generally 1-2 times a week for 30 minutes depending on the needs of your child and your family’s ability to attend services.
What does Speech Therapy look like for older children and adults?
At VITAL our Speech Language Pathologists strive to make our sessions representative of everyday activities. We want our sessions to enable a person to practice skills in a setting which is as close to their home environment and/or a preferred leisure activity as possible. Our SLP’s enjoy collaborating with families, caregivers, and other colleagues (such as Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists) to allow each person to receive maximum benefit from the services provided. Therapy sessions are generally 1-2 times a week for at least 30 minutes per session depending on the complexity of the disorder, the needs of each patient, and the patient’s ability to attend services.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
What is AAC ?
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) address the communication and other related needs of individuals who experience significant and complex communication disorders. The goal of AAC is to achieve the most effective communication possible for the individual in order to maximize their potential and lead the highest quality of life possible. AAC includes all of the ways we share our ideas and feelings without talking. We all use forms of AAC every day. You use AAC when you use facial expressions or gestures instead of talking. You use AAC when you write a note and pass it to a friend or coworker. We may not realize how often we communicate without talking.
People with severe speech or language problems may need AAC to help them communicate. Some may use it all of the time. Others may say some words but use AAC for longer sentences or with people they don’t know well. AAC can help in school, at work, and when talking with friends and family.
Your VITAL speech language pathologist will help you and your family find the correct AAC system that works best for your needs. AAC devices are as unique as their users, not every device will work with every person. Your VITAL therapist will take the necessary time needed to teach users and their families the many different ways to communication. Users may need only basic devices for short period of time or more complex programs to make communication more cohesive for a lifetime. Please do not hesitate to contact a VITAL speech language pathologist if you have questions about AAC devices and how they can be used to increase communication.
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