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Students at IC have the opportunity to participate in a unique program called Center for Life Skills. In this interdisciplinary program with physical therapy, speech language pathology and therapeutic recreation students, OT students are exposed to learning situations involving adults with various neurological impairments. Programs for improvement in areas of occupational performance are provided for participants. Included in this program are aquatic therapy and intergenerational activities. The program takes place at Longview, an adult residential facility across the highway from Ithaca College.
Occupational Therapy focuses on planning and leading activity type groups with the goals of increasing endurance, motor performance, cognition and social interaction. The groups may consist of cooking groups, woodworking, ceramics, community outings, and participant determined activities. Graduate students will focus on activities of daily living, functional mobility, and general motor control as well as community reintegration (including car transfers, ordering from menus, grocery gathering, and shopping). Management of hypertonicity will also be addressed through home exercise programs. Possible splinting also addressed.
Occupational therapy services focus on developing a child or adult's ability to perform activities of daily life, such as bathing, dressing and feeding, by enhancing or restoring function lost due to injury, disease, aging or congenital abnormality. Easter Seals licensed occupational therapists incorporate the use of adaptive methods and devices, such as reachers or splints; sensorimotor rehabilitation to calm or focus attention; purposeful, everyday activity and fine motor skill development to promote independence in self-care; work and productive activities; and play or leisure skills. Treatment may aim to:
- Improve independence in self care, such as dressing, bathing, cooking or work skills
- Improve development of age-appropriate play and learning skills
- Improve fine-motor dexterity (coordination), behavior and social skills components and sensory or perceptual processing
- Develop specialized seating and positioning
- Achieve independence in vocational pursuits
- Develop workplace accommodations, assistive technology and devices
- Provide driver training for adults with disabilities
- Provide low vision rehabilitation
Services may be provided in an Easter Seals outpatient clinic, child development center, or adult day program, as well as at home, at school, and in a variety of other care settings. State and federal laws determine referral requirements and funding opportunities.
Campus School occupational therapists provide treatment individually and in small groups of students to develop function in four specific skill areas:
Fine Motor Abilities- coordination of movements and movement blends to promote functional hand use for classroom tasks.
Visual-Motor/Sensory-Motor Abilities- Directing hand and body movements using sensory information from the eyes, sense of touch in the skin, and sensory feedback from the muscles.
Self-Care Abilities- The performance of personal management skills that are part of daily living such as dressing, feeding, hygiene, and toileting.
Oral-Motor Abilities- safe and pleasurable eating and efficient handling of secretions.
All therapy is guided by the principles of sensory motor integration (the processing and organizing of sensations to maintain optimal arousal and attention for learning and for performing functional tasks).
Therapy goals are designed in collaboration with the parents and the child's team. Individualized goals are embedded within each student's classroom routines to maximize opportunities for practice of targeted skills. At least two times a week, the child's occupational therapist works alongside the teachers and all of the students in the class, on a group activity. One group session addresses the students' goals through fine-motor/visual-motor activities. The other group session (OT/PT group) addresses the students' goals through gross motor group activities.
Students who are learning to taste or eat food/drink liquids by mouth work individually with therapists, usually within the classrooms, until the intervention strategies can be carried out by the classroom staff. Oral treatment addresses both sensory-based and motor-based feeding problems. Student participation in mealtime routines is an essential component of each program. Self-feeding is developed through methodical collaboration with the teaching staff and families. Family training occurs at home or in school. depending on student/family needs.
An important aspect of the OT program often involves prescription and fabrication of adaptive equipment and upper extremity orthoses. Thermoplastic hand splints are fabricated either at the Campus School or at local rehabilitation departments, depending on the student need and parent preference. Therapists also prescribe and fit hand splints that are prefabricated by outside companies. Therapists monitor the use of these orthoses and collaborate with the classroom staff and parents on wearing protocols.
When appropriate, with parental permission, the Campus School OTs collaborate with outside medical and educational professionals who may contribute to the child's physical well being or educational development. The Campus School OTs provide training for all staff in the areas of mealtime safety, hand skill development, acquisition of dressing, feeding, hygiene, and toileting skills, and application of principles of sensory motor processing to enhance learning. Therapists also participate in training students from the Lynch School of Education at BC and occupational therapy students from outside universities.