As an Occupational Therapist (OT), I have a pretty fun job! I get to play, pretend, be silly and to share an amazing journey with some awesome kids! There is, however, a tough part of my job which requires me to be patient, flexible, and plan ahead but also think on my feet. Our ESGH clients keep me on my toes!
Over the years I’ve seen many children with different abilities. Upon initially meeting during our intake process with the family and child to complete an assessment of needs, I have an hour to “get to know” and evaluate the child and what is important to the family – their goals for their child, their needs for their child…. What seems to be the most common denominator is that parents want their children to do what their peers are doing and children simply want to play! Yes, everyone knows that, it’s not hard to figure out. But, the challenging part is that some children don’t know how to play, play differently or require special equipment and adaptations to be included in play whether it’s with friends, family or siblings. It may be physically, socially, or cognitively challenging.
Play is how children learn, problem solve, understand their body and how it works, form relationships, socialize, build new skills, gain independence and the list can go on and on. All of the therapists at Easter Seals Greater Houston Children’s Therapy Program are experts at “play”. So when someone accuses me of “playing all day,” then I know I’m doing my job!
If you were to take a look in our Occupational Therapy Gym at Easter Seals Houston Children’s Therapy Program, you would see among other things: a large rainbow barrel, 3 “crash pads,” a ball pit, several swings, a trampoline and mats covering most of the gym. Our Occupational Therapists are trained in a variety of treatments and therapies and know how to use the equipment to bring the best out of the children, use them to accomplish goals and even teach parents how to continue the therapy at home. Thanks to the support of The United Way Greater Houston, Valero, the George Foundation and the therapists, these are just some of the necessary equipment available for our clients/children to play with during their therapy sessions!
K.J is a little boy who I see weekly for OT. He was on his belly on the scooter board while he held onto a hula hoop as I pulled him through the hallway. After the session was over, his father and I discussed the session as we do most of the time. As I explained why he was on the scooter board and how it helped him gain strength in his hand grasp for writing and cutting, he looked at me and said “Oh, now I get it, you weren’t just playing, you are doing it for a reason.” Imagine now that dad is thinking the same way…what they can come up with at home. Even better imagine, when KJ gets to his first day of school….he WILL be school ready.
Here at The Children’s Therapy Program, “play” is our profession. It fosters growth and development, prepares our clients for anything that will come their way, gets them ‘school-ready’ and most importantly gives them the formative tools they need to reach goals and achieve their highest possible potential. It also brings big smiles to our kids, their families and our staff!
Monica Ramirez, OT, Easter Seals Greater Houston
Children’s Therapy Services are physical, occupational and speech therapy for children birth to fifteen including intensive therapy for potentially life-changing results as well as AAC/AT assessments and evaluations. Bellaire and Fort Bend Clinics. Our staff are trained and certified in OT, Speech, PT, sensory integration, autism, delay, sensory processing and more.