Occupational therapists focus on developmental milestones as well as the fine motor, visual-motor, and sensory processing skills needed to perform activities of daily living. These include self-feeding, dressing, play skills and the development of handwriting as well as adaptive technology. Occupational Therapists facilitate the development of self-regulation and organization skills that improve classroom performance and social interaction within the community. For the older students, facilitating work and independent living skills is integral to their school experience. Occupational Therapy services within the Center consist of both individual and group therapy sessions. Our groups include Sensory Integration, Handwriting, Life Skills, Yoga, Keyboarding, Adaptive Technology, Pre-vocational and Transition groups. We follow an interdisciplinary approach, working closely with Physical and Speech therapists and teachers. Depending on the student’s needs, Co-Treatments may be beneficial.
We seek to meet students at their individual developmental levels and progress them toward their maximum potential. Therapists are trained in motor development and the effects of abnormal tone on functional movement. Occupational Therapists are also trained in activity analysis, thus planning the most efficient way for each individual to be successful, and taking into account the sensory influences involved in movement and play. Therapists are trained in splinting and fabrication of adaptive equipment. Occupational Therapists at the 1st Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey school are very experienced, and also hold certifications in The Listening Program, NDT (Neurodevelopmental Treatment), Sensory Integration and Yoga For The Special Child.
“The Listening Program,” developed by Advanced Brain Technologies, is provided by the Occupational Therapy department. This program stimulates the brain through listening to specialized auditory input. Specifically designed CDs of classical music are utilized. This program can be effective for increasing attention span, receptive and expressive language, social interaction and motor coordination. It is especially effective in remediation of auditory hypersensitivity.
We offer year round aquatic therapy in our on-site pool. The pool is heated to a therapeutic level and has a salination system. The pool area is covered by a sliding dome that can be opened for summer programming making summer therapies feel more like camp. Our therapists have trained in aquatic therapy and use the pool as a wonderful tool to reach a child’s goals in water and on land.
At 1st Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey, we help students move about more easily and communicate successfully through the use of advanced devices that help them stand straight, walk and talk.
Sensory Integration is the neurological process that organizes sensation from the body and from the environment,making it possible to function effectively within the environment. Sensory Integration theory is used to better understand why individuals respond in a certain way to sensory input and how it affects behavior. When students have difficulty handling typical sensory experiences, specific techniques are implemented to help them function successfully in school and in the community.
Eating is an essential element of our physical and mental well-being. Our feeding program is designed to help students develop a positive experience with food. Mealtime guides are created to train staff and parents how to safely feed our students with dysphagia, including any diet modifications, positioning techniques and specialized feeding equipment. In addition, programs are offered to our students with behavioral feeding difficulties to help them maximize good nutrition.
Community Based Instruction
The Transition program offers life skills groups, pre-vocational groups, job exploration, job shadowing and Community-Based Instruction to students 14 and over. Transition services are a coordinated set of activities for students with disabilities that promote movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living and community participation.
Adaptive Equipment is used to assist students with performing the activities of daily living, including feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting, writing, computer access, and environmental controls. Occupational Therapists assist in selecting or fabricating adaptive equipment according to individual needs.
Hippotherapy is provided at Rocking Horse Rehab in West Orange by an OT and a PT. Students can attend hippotherapy on a ten-week rotating basis as an adjunct to traditional PT and OT. Hippotherapy has been proven to have a positive effect on posture, muscle tone, and balance.