CarolinaEast Rehabilitation Hospital is proud to announce the addition of an outpatient, pediatric occupational therapy program to its wide range of services available at its location at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern. Occupational therapist Tracy Hayes will spearhead the program and is excited about the benefits her “therapy through play” methods can offer the children and families of eastern North Carolina.
The goal of occupational therapy is, essentially, to train people in the skills needed to participate in daily routines and tasks. “For children, these daily “activities” include learning how to play, take care of themselves, how to be a friend and, when they are old enough, how to be a student. If a child has underlying developmental, physical or social limitations, occupational therapy can help develop those skills or teach them an alternative way to participate,” says Hayes.
Pediatric occupational therapy can be especially helpful to children with fine motor limitations, learning or developmental disabilities or other physical or social limitations. This may include those diagnosed conditions such as autism or cerebral palsy. “Children with learning disabilities often have underlying visual perception or visual motor limitations that make writing very difficult for them,” Hayes added. “Occupational therapy can help remediate those skills and provide adaptive tools to make tasks easier for the child.”
Since this therapy program is on an outpatient basis, involvement of family members, physicians, teachers and other care givers and consistently practicing the skills learned is crucial to maximizing progress. By working collaboratively and reinforcing the skills and exercises learned during the once- to twice-weekly sessions, children can be performing tasks more independently and effectively. After six weeks of treatment, the therapist, patient and family will get together to assess the patient’s progress and discuss next steps.
“I am so pleased to offer this service to the Coastal Carolina community because I know what a difference it makes in the lives of these children to be able to better interact with their families and peers and to be more independent and confident in their day-to-day lives,” says Hayes.
For more information on the Pediatric Outpatient Occupational Therapy services at CarolinaEast Rehabilitation Hospital, call (252) 633-8022.
Submitted by: Megan McGarvey, Director, Public Relations, CarolinaEast Health System