April is Occupational Therapy Month!

April is Occupational Therapy Month, and we are excited to celebrate this awesome field and the wonderful occupational therapists who promote OT on a daily basis!  I’ll start by answering this frequently asked question:

What is occupational therapy?

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), “Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations).” A child’s life is made up of many “occupations,” or daily activities, including playing, learning, and socializing. Occupational therapy practitioners work with children and their families to help them succeed in these activities throughout the day. Here are just a few areas of development that OT can help address:

Attention span and arousal level

If a child isn’t interested, fidgets constantly, or simply doesn’t look at what she is doing, she can’t learn effectively. An OT can help you discover what motivates your child and makes his body ready to learn, pay attention and stay focused.

Sensory processing skills

Every day, our bodies are exposed to sensory input from the external environment (seeing, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) as well as from inside our bodies (movement, balance, and internal body awareness). All this input must be registered by sensory receptors, processed in the brain, and acted upon in an adaptive way in order for a child to function at her best.

Fine motor and gross motor skills

OTs can help children with fine motor skills such as drawing, using scissors, buttoning, and stringing beads by improving the strength, coordination, and dexterity needed to complete these tasks. OTs also work on gross motor skills, such as throwing and catching a ball, coordinating both sides of your body (bilateral integration), and planning and carrying out movements smoothly and efficiently.

Activities of daily living (ADLs)

Children have many ADL tasks to master, and most children love becoming independent with these tasks. OTs help children learn to eat with utensils, get dressed and undressed, use the toilet, and handle grooming and hygiene tasks appropriately for their age.

Visual-perceptual skills

From stacking blocks to doing puzzles, a child must be able to perceive differences and relationships between objects in his environment. An OT can help a child to perceive these relationships in order to better understand the world around him.

Handwriting

Handwriting skills, from writing your name to taking class notes legibly, can be extremely difficult for some children to learn. OTs use a multisensory approach to handwriting, and look at how the child’s fine motor, visual-perceptual, and other skills impact handwriting performance.

Read more about what the role of occupational therapy is when working with children and youth by click here.

Autism Awareness Month

April is dedicated as Autism Awareness Month. So what exactly is autism, and what is the difference between autism and autism spectrum disorder? Previously, autism had distinct sub-types such as autistic disorder, Asperger, childhood disintegrative behavior, etc. Recently the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) has put all autism disorders into the umbrella term of autism spectrum disorder or ASD.  According to Autismspeaks.org, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term for complex disorders of brain development that vary in degree of severity. ASD can cause difficulties with social interaction, communication, repetitive behaviors, motor coordination, and intellectual disabilities. Autism typically emerges between the ages of 2 and 3 years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in America 1 in 68 children are on the autism spectrum.

How can therapy help my child with autism? Children with ASD can benefit greatly from physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Physical therapy works on strengthening the muscles in the body and can help with motor planning and coordination with difficult taks. Occupational therapy can work on a variety of skills such as activities of daily living, sensory integration, fine motor tasks, and social interaction. Speech therapy can help you and your child communicate more effectively with one another. These are just some of the basic skills that physical, occupational, and speech therapy can work on to help your child with ASD.

For more information and resources on autism you can go to Autism Speaks. Also during the whole month of April, Wiley is opening up their Autism Awareness Research collection to the public for free! This link will provide you with over 100 different research articles pertaining to autism. Click Here.

There are also a few local resources in the area. Lowcountry Autism Foundation is located on Hilton Head Island and helps to provide resources to families and individuals with ASD. There is also Palmetto Autsim Connections which is located in Bluffton and helps to connect children with autism and their families with information, support, therapeutic tools, and community involvement.

Welcome to our Blog Part 1!

Hello! Thank you for checking out our new blog! Lowcountry Therapy Center strives to have a strong community presence, and one way we are achieving that is with this blog. We are so excited to share this with the community, so be sure to check here weekly for updated blog posts! Some topics you can expect to see soon include celebrating April as OT Month and Autism Awareness Month, and preparing for Screen-Free Week. Head over to our Facebook and ‘like’ us to see posts about projects, community events, and other updates!

First, I will introduce myself. I am Krista Flack, one of the occupational therapists at Lowcountry Therapy Center in Port Royal. I am a Michigan-native, but relocated to Beaufort 2 years ago to join the Lowcountry Therapy Center team. Prior to that, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Grand Valley State University, and my Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University. I have a one-year-old son who has given me a whole new perspective on childhood development. Being an occupational therapist has greatly impacted how I raise my child, and being a new parent has definitely impacted my work as an occupational therapist!

I am very excited to share about a variety of topics that I am passionate about, like sensory integration, feeding, and turning every-day tasks into therapeutic activities! I’d also like to know what YOU would like to read about. Interested in finding more sensory-friendly attractions in the area? Wondering how your child can have fun at one of the festivals coming up? Looking for more ideas for games and activities to reinforce what your child is working on in therapy? Tell us what topics you would like to see discussed in upcoming blog entries!

Welcome to Our Blog Part 2!

Hello everyone and welcome to the new Lowcountry Therapy Center blog page!

 Lowcountry Therapy Center has started this new blog page as a way to give back to the community. There will be a new post every week with all sorts of information. We will be posting new research, home exercise ideas, upcoming events, and so much more. Some upcoming events that we will be posting about this month are Autism Awareness Month, Occupational Therapy Month, and Screen-Free Week (May 2nd – 8th). In this first post I would like to introduce myself.

My name is Matthew D’Antonio and I am one of the physical therapists at the Bluffton clinic. I am originally from Pittsburgh PA and I am a die-hard Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins fan. I completed my undergraduate degree at Slipper Rock University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. I then attended Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV where I obtained my doctorate in physical therapy. I moved down to Bluffton in January of 2015. I enjoy going to the beach, playing golf, and just being outside. Make sure to come back next week and check out my post about Autism Awareness Month. Also I have posted the link to our Facebook page below. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to get more information on different things happening throughout the clinic.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST / COTA OPENING!

Lowcountry Therapy Center, Bluffton Clinic, is interviewing for an occupational therapist position OR COTA position. Our clinic offers a multidiscipline (OT, PT, ST, ABA, Mental Health) environment with a collaborative team approach. Strong mentorship/supervisor program. GREAT working environment, benefits package. Growing company, opportunity to advance your career. Opportunities to work in multiple service environments, including school and home-based (early intervention) as well! Email resume to humanresources@lowcountrytherapycenter.com.  

NOW HIRING... 2 SLP POSITIONS OPEN

We are interviewing for 2 pediatric SLP positions.position offers a multidiscipline (ST, OT, PT, ABA, Mental Health) environment with a collaborative team approach. Connections-based position offers daycare/preschool and some home-based settings - and an overall more flexible schedule. CFYs welcome (and encouraged!) to apply, strong mentorship program provided.There is opportunity to advance and a benefits package offered. Please send resume directly to humanresources@lowcountrytherapycenter.com.

POSITION OPEN for SLPs & SLPAs!

Come be a part of a highly-trained group of therapists that work in a collaborate atmosphere! We have recently expanded into a larger facility with state-of-the-art equipment. Lowcountry Therapy Center offers a competitive benefit package! New graduates and CFs are welcome! We offer a strong, well-supportive mentorship program! 

Please contact Jessi at jdolnik@lowcountrytherapycenter.com.

ATTENTION SLPs and SLPAs!!

**Clinic-Based** Lowcountry Therapy Center, Bluffton and Port Royal, are seeking a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist AND a Pediatric Speech Language Pathology Assistant.  

**Daycare/Preschool and Home-Based** Lowcountry Therapy Connections is also seeking a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist! Flexible scheduling.

CF's are encouraged to apply - we have a strong mentorship program.  Great benefits, positive/solution-based working environment.

Please contact Jessi at jdolnik@lowcountrytherapycenter.com.

Occupational Therapists and COTAs... Check us OUT!

Lowcountry Therapy Center is looking for a pediatric occupational therapist for our Bluffton and Port Royal Clinic.  We are also looking for driven OTs (that may need a more flexible schedule) for our Lowcountry Therapy Connections program - serving our families in the child's daycare/school or home environment.  COTAs, please apply.  We have a STRONG mentorship/supervision program.  Great benefits.  A positive and solution-based environment.  Please contact Jessi at jdolnik@lowcountrytherapycenter.com.

**Occupational Therapist Position OPEN**

Lowcountry Therapy Center is looking for an Occupational Therapist for our Port Royal Clinic! Musts: Positive, upbeat and professional. Experience (including fieldwork) in a clinical setting or other setting working closely with parents is a must. New grads encouraged to apply, strong mentor program.


We have a fabulous team of STs, OTs and PTs with over 155 years of combined experience. Every day is truly a new learning experience! Contact Jessi at jdolnik@lowcountrytherapycenter.com to apply or ask additional questions.

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