Occupational Therapy with Kim

Occupational therapy is a comprehensive treatment approach and can help provide structured opportunities to help target specific skill development related to deficit areas and thus help to generalize and improve overall functioning in multiple aspects of our daily routines.

Kim enjoys working with elementary (ages 6+) and middle school-aged children, adolescents, young adults, and their families to address a wide variety of participation challenges in everyday tasks to promote independence. She also works with adults individually. She specializes in the treatment of executive functioning deficits, motor planning disorders, visual perceptual disorders, non-verbal learning disorders, ADHD, anxiety, and mood disorders including depression and bipolar disorder.

Her inclusive treatment approach allows her clients to engage in interactive working partnerships that are tailor-made to fit each individual's unique needs. She supports her clients by helping them obtain the skills and discover the necessary strategies that will allow them to participate in what they want and need to do in their daily routines occurring at home, school, work, and play.

Occupational therapy with Kim can provide:

Treatment sessions with Kim are typically one hour in duration; evaluations are on average two hours; consultation times vary. Yoga can be combined with occupational therapy treatment as appropriate. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Kim.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is an evidence-based holistic scientific health profession that works with individuals of all ages and levels of ability to help them do the things they want and need to do in life. In fact, many people are completely unaware that OT exists until they or a family member becomes sick or injured! However, individuals do not need to be disabled before taking advantage of what OT has to offer. Many people choose to work with an OT to enhance their wellness and overall quality of life. OT's practice in many diverse settings that may include hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, schools, community centers, and pediatric outpatient clinics. They can work independently or with other professionals including doctors, psychiatrists, teachers, psychologists, counselors and case managers, physical therapists, and speech and language pathologists.

OTs are required to complete a master's degree of education, participate in fieldwork on a variety of clinical and community sites, and pass a national standardized board exam. Licensure is then granted and regulated by the individual states. An OT's educational process focuses on all aspects and levels of human development with an emphasis on enhancing performance during meaningful daily occupations within social, physical, and other environments and contexts.

OTs help individuals improve or adapt their function in areas such as self care, home management, school, play, leisure, and work. It is NOT necessarily about helping individuals find a job! Although OTs sometimes do this with clients, it is not what the profession specifically focuses upon.

For a more in-depth description of occupational therapy and how OTs enhance the lives of children, adults, and the elderly, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association's consumer page to find out about how OTs can help individuals in wide range of situations.

What is Executive Functioning?

Executive functioning is a set of overlapping mental processes that occur in the frontal lobe of the brain throughout the lifespan. When used together, these skills allow us to manage our attention, emotions, and regulate our behaviors as well as to initiate, shift, plan, organize, and remember details necessary for optimal functioning during our everyday tasks, activities, and routines.

Executive functioning deficits can run in families. Individuals may be genetically predisposed to weak executive functioning abilities, or they may not develop fully as a person matures, or they may become impaired at some point secondary to damage to the frontal lobe (i.e., due to a sports injury or car accident). Children may begin to demonstrate executive functioning difficulties in their elementary to middle school years when managing increasing schoolwork demands. That said, executive functioning deficits often affect children and adolescents beyond their schoolwork needs; relationships with peers and all parts of the daily routine (i.e., getting out the door on time when, consistently having a plan and following through on what needs to be done on any given day) can also be negatively impacted when these skills are underdeveloped.

Oftentimes, regardless of age, our executive functions can be strengthened or compensated for within everyday activities. Our brain continues to develop throughout the lifespan! Occupational therapy is a comprehensive treatment approach and can help provide structured opportunities to help target specific executive skill development related to deficit areas and thus help to generalize and improve overall functioning in multiple aspects of our daily routines.

What is Social Thinking?

Social thinking is complex skill set that allows us to interact and relate with others via our words and body language. Being socially competent requires the ability to interpret or act upon what we are thinking AND respond to what others might be thinking as we engage with each other within various environments and contexts. We express social competency by effectively taking turns, demonstrating an ability to read another’s emotions during interactions, staying on topic during a conversation (or switching topics as needed), making appropriate eye contact, and physically keeping oneself an acceptable distance from another. Applying competent social thinking and social reciprocity skills inform us and others about what we and others know and think!

Social thinking and executive functioning deficits can co-exist; outsiders may view individuals with these concerns as a person who may struggle with conceptualizing ideas to a larger whole (displaying literal or concrete thinking patterns), has difficulty with grasping the main idea or interpreting themes, and/or generalizing a learned response to other related situations. Occupational therapists and speech and language therapists can help to improve social skills to support occupational participation in various environments.

What is Sensory Integration?

Sensory integration is the body's ability to take in, organize, and process all the various sensations from the environment so that the individual can respond to the world in a meaningful way. This involves seven senses, including the five traditional senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch, along with two others, proprioceptive (positioning and movement of our joints and muscles) and vestibular (sense of gravity, head movement, and balance).

Sensory integration is a complex neurological process that all children and adults experience on a continual basis throughout the lifespan. Some individuals have excellent sensory integration and processing, some have problems in only a few areas, and some others have much broader difficulties that cover a wide range of activities and occupations. Sensory integration is therefore a continuum and each individual person processes sensation in his/her own unique way. However, if an individual has a hard time processing some or all of the sensations that come into the body, there is a very good chance that performance in daily tasks and activities will be negatively impacted or limited. It can be said that these individuals have a form of sensory integration dysfunction.

Individuals with sensory integrative dysfunction can have difficulties with over-responsivity (over-reactive), under-responsivity (under-reactive), and/or may experience motor planning difficulties (getting the body into position to do a task) due to inadequate to sensory information entering the body from the outside environment, depending upon the sense or senses affected.