Related Services - OT

Occupational Therapy (OT) At Newmark 

We use evidence-based practices to provide high quality therapeutic interventions to our students. The goal is to help children fulfill their role as a student through prevention, promotion and/or intervention strategies for mental and physical wellbeing. 

Students work toward developing the necessary skills to help manage emotional regulation, sensory integration, executive function and fine/gross motor skills to maximize their participation and progress in their role as a student. 

Developmental Functional Skills

 

Individualized services, provided to the students through group therapy, promote customized opportunities to practice the skills they need in a supportive setting to ensure success. Skills are then integrated into the classroom through consultation and in-class services to support the carryover of learned skills.  

Occupational Therapy, along with the rest of the Newmark team, aims to support the students’ needs in this way to allow for structured practice of these functional skills within the school setting. The goal is to guide the students through these developmental foundational skills to prepare them for whatever their future endeavors hold. 

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Newmark OT

At Newmark 

Occupational Therapy Services are provided by highly qualified, licensed and certified Occupational Therapists.

Building Foundational Skills

As Occupational Therapists, we strive to provide your child with the tools they need to thrive as a student.  Sometimes that means providing opportunities to practice a skill they will need in the classroom and other times it is supporting your child to develop a skill they have not yet developed.  Here are some of the foundational skills we focus on: 

  • Sensory Processing – This is the process of the body taking information from the senses and the brain producing a motor or behavioral response. 

  • Motor Planning - the ability to conceptualize a plan, take action, and receive and use feedback to produce a coordinated response.  For example, if you are standing on the edge of a river and you need to cross it using the rocks you see.  You make a plan, take action, and adjust it if you lose your balance.  That is motor planning.   

  • Executive function – The higher-level skills we need for self-control, attention, planning and organizing in order to complete complex tasks expected in the classroom.  

  • Visual motor – Coordinating the eyes and hands in order to do things like writing and typing or throwing and catching a ball.  

  • Fine motor - Small movements of the hand and fingers that enable us to do more refined movements.  These motor skills help us with tasks like handwriting and typing.  

  • Gross motor - Movements of the larger muscles in the arms, legs, and torso. These skills help us with balance and provide the stability we need for more precise mobility.   

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Occupational Therapy Programming 

Handwriting 

Occupational therapists provide direct handwriting instruction to students using the Learning Without Tears Curriculum in both print and cursive. Through the Handwriting Without Tears program, we address letter formation, size, spacing, line placement, etc. in order to help promote student’s handwriting legibility and fluency. Gross and fine motor strengthening activities are utilized to help increase overall endurance and pacing in order to help students produce the expected quality and quantity of academic work within their school environment.   

Sensorimotor  

Each student has unique sensory needs and preferences that shape who they are and how they interact with their environments. We all seek out or avoid different types of sensory input regularly throughout our day.  Sensory strategies are things we can use or do to provide comfort, stimulation, or minimize sensory information.  Sensory integration happens when our sensory system is regulated and supports our emotional and behavioral regulation. It is important to recognize our sensory system's role in our ability to participate in our daily activities. Therefore, by providing targeted intervention, our goal is to help our students achieve and maintain a state of regulation so that they are better able to participate throughout the school day. At Newmark, we assess students as a whole and the OT team provides recommendations that best fit students and their needs. This may look like classroom modifications (i.e. seating/furniture) movement breaks (i.e. running, heavy work), use of calming techniques (i.e. cooling strategies, deep breathing, etc.), use of adaptive devices (i.e headphones, neck fans, weighted lap pads, etc.) throughout various environments.  

Functional Living Skills

Functional living skills (FLS) are essential for a student’s overall wellbeing and a higher level of independence as they grow and develop. Students are provided with direct instruction and programming that provides education and training for basic functional living skills. The goal of this is to promote independence within the school setting and home environment.  Functional Living Skills include: 
  • Self-care 
  • Hygiene and grooming 
  • Food Management 
  • House Tasks 
  • Money management 
  • Safety 
  • Rest and Sleep 
  • Education 
  • School and Community Involvement 
  • Play/Leisure 
  • Health Management 

Children are encouraged to participate in these activities (i.e. make their bed, assist with cooking, do laundry, etc.) outside of school to reinforce skills and promote carry-over into their home and community environments! 

 

Executive Functioning 

 

Mindprint BOOST  

The Mindprint Boost program is an executive functioning program that helps students to better understand their learning strengths and provides them with specific strategies to support areas of growth. It focuses on the 3 main cognitive skill areas including complex reasoning, long term memory and executive functioning skills. Targeted strategies are provided and implemented to support the skills of visual/verbal/spatial reasoning, working memory, attention, processing, visual/verbal memory, and problem solving.  

Daily Routines 

A set of structured classroom routines and procedures have been created to help guide students through the sequence of tasks required upon arrival and dismissal. These routines and procedures are consistent in each classroom allowing for mastery over time. As a student becomes more familiar with the routines, it will require less active thinking skills allowing them to use their higher-level thinking for their academics. Routines and procedures include the sequencing and steps for packing/unpacking their bags, organizing personal belongings, storing classroom supplies and completing daily tasks such as lunch selection, morning work and APP/AMP activities. These procedures were put into place to promote consistency, while helping students gain more independence and efficiency in the classroom.  

Binder System 

One of the organizational strategies we use at Newmark is a universal color code system for academic subjects within student’s binders. According to neuroscientists, color perception is the first thing we use to help us comprehend and respond to our environment. A recent study found that colors increase student attention, therefore colored labels are used as a tool to support student’s abilities to identify and remember where items belong according to subject. Students are all provided with education and reinforcement of the color code system, which is also displayed in each classroom and on a visual key within their own binders. In addition to the color code system, each student participates in a monthly guided binder cleanout which helps students learn how to prioritize binder contents (i.e. sort and discard of papers by date, category, level of importance, for distribution to home, etc.) to maintain a tidy and organized binder. 

The current color code system is as follows: 

Occupational Therapists help people of all ages develop the skills they need for success in everyday life where they live, learn, work and play.  Occupational Therapists use activities meaningful to a person's life to enhance physical and cognitive functions as well as overall mental health.  Routinely engaging in activities that contribute to their identity will increase their quality of life. 

Questions?  Contact ot@newmarkeducation.com