April is National Occupational Therapy Month, which allows us to highlight the different types of occupational therapy and feature some of the incredible clinicians at UF Health Jacksonville. Our first highlight is on pediatric occupational therapy.
What do pediatric occupational therapists do?
Pediatric occupational therapists, or OTs, support and treat children for a variety of reasons. Children who have sensory processing delays which involve sight, taste, touch or hearing can benefit from occupational therapy. OTs can also help children learn basic self-care tasks, like getting dressed and feeding themselves.
Additional functions of pediatric OTs include helping children strengthen their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, which include writing, cutting, playing with or using small objects. OTs can also help children strengthen cognitive skills, like problem-solving, memory and attention.
How do pediatric occupational therapists develop a multidisciplinary approach in treatment?
OTs work closely together with speech-language pathologists and physical therapists to develop a multifaceted treatment plan for each child in order to strengthen all of their developmental skills and abilities. Clinicians from each discipline communicate closely with each other to note what functions the child may need to work on during their sessions.
At UF Health Rehabilitation – Wildlight, occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy are offered for children of all ages.
Meet a pediatric occupational therapist
Shannon Taylor, OTD, OTR/L, is a pediatric OT at UF Health Rehabilitation – Wildlight. She has five years of experience as an OT and has been with UF Health for five years. Her favorite population to work with is pediatrics.
Shannon uses a wide variety of therapy techniques for her patients. One of her favorites is sensory integration for feeding intervention. She also likes incorporating fine and visual motor skills into sessions by making crafts with her patients, like coloring, cutting, pasting and lacing.
Shannon’s inspiration to become an OT stemmed from a family member’s personal experience.
“My grandmother fell and broke her femur several years ago,” said Shannon. “After a short hospital stay and a brief bout of inpatient rehab, she received home health therapy where I was introduced to the value of occupational therapy. The environmental and activity modifications required creativity, innovation and most importantly, were client-centered. The more I looked into occupational therapy and all that the profession had to offer, I fell in love.”
Learn more about Shannon’s responsibilities at UF Health Rehabilitation – Wildlight and what she enjoys about her career in the video below.
Visit UFHealthJax.org/rehabilitation-services to learn more about occupational therapy and other services offered at UF Health.