Occupational Therapy is a health profession focused on maximizing an individual’s ability to function in his/her daily life. An Occupational Therapist addresses difficulties arising from cognitive impairment, physical injury, psychosocial dysfunction, developmental or learning disabilities. Many people associate the word occupation with “work”. Therefore, it is usually surprising to hear that Occupational Therapists often treat children. A child’s “work” is comprised of play, self-care skills, learning, school performance and social interactions. Most of these skills fall within the following areas:
Fine motor skills (ex: stringing beads, grasp on a crayon/eating utensils, manipulation of clothing fasteners)
Visual motor skills (ex: tracing lines, completing puzzles, imitating shapes via drawing, copying block designs)
Sensory processing skills
Self help skills (grooming and dressing)
Environmental adaptations (organizing and adapting home/classroom to meet each child’s specific needs)
Play and socialization
Neuromuscular development (muscle strength and endurance)
As therapists, we tap into a child’s interests to provide challenging therapeutic activities aimed at improving areas of weakness. We specialize in creating opportunities for children to master developmental tasks and achieve independence in home, school and within their communities. Therapy sessions look like “play”, which is exactly what the children who are participating think they are doing. Occupational Therapists are trained extensively in psychology, human physiology and development. Therapists often continue training beyond college to become certified in specific areas of treatment including, but not limited to, Sensory Integration (SIPT certified), Handwriting and Listening Therapy.
Lauren Stern, OTR/L is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist specializing in Sensory Integration and Handwriting. She currently shares her time between working at the YAI/New York League for Early Learning’s Gramercy School, and treating children privately in their Manhattan homes. Lauren has almost 10 years experience as an Occupational Therapist and is SIPT (Sensory Integrative Praxis Test) certified. She has developed individual sensory diets including: equipment suggestions for homes, weekly activity assignments and therapeutic exercises. Lauren strongly believes homework and parent/family involvement optimizes therapeutic intervention. She also specializes in handwriting. Lauren uses a sensory-based and hands-on program called Handwriting Without Tears, providing children with a fun and motivating way to learn writing skills. Lauren has supervised level one and level two graduate students and is continuously expanding her knowledge by attending continuing education seminars. She has received YAI’s annual Therapist of Excellence Award twice, exemplifying her dedication and passion for occupational therapy.