We sat down with Emma Greenberg, our Occupational Therapist, to talk about what she does and why she does it!
So Emma, What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a regulated healthcare profession that aims to support folks in doing anything they want to be able to do or need to be able to do to live their life meaningfully! Occupational Therapists typically support people in the areas of self-care, productivity, and leisure, which you can more or less break down into everything that we do as people! We look at the person, the environment, and the occupation (or task) altogether, so that we can gather a holistic understanding and determine next steps towards our clients’ goals.
Why did you want to become an Occupational Therapist?
I always knew I wanted to work with kids and young adults, and when I discovered OT, it just seemed like the perfect fit for me. OT as a profession is so broad in its focus, and so collaborative in nature. You get to work with and learn from unique folks every day and focus everything you do on what is most meaningful for the client.
Why are fine motor skills important?
We use fine motor skills in so many tasks, starting when we are infants! We use our fine motor skills to grasp objects, feed ourselves, play with toys, get dressed, do our hair, write, type, etc.!
What would a session with an adult look like?
A session with an adult would typically look like collaborative problem-solving to best determine how we can meet your goals; it may involve breaking down a task to figure out how it can be adjusted or developing strategies to support you in your everyday tasks.
What would a session with a child look like?
My sessions with children are structured around their strengths & interests. I find games and activities that the child enjoys and incorporate our goals that way. This could mean playing a game of Jenga that involves writing prompts or playing a game of Simon Says to work on directionality. I follow the child’s lead and find ways to adapt what they are currently interested in to meet the goals of our session.
Why does a session sometimes look like playing?
Children learn through play! Often the skills that children are working on in OT are skills that are challenging for them, and nobody wants to focus only on things that they find hard. When we play, we can incorporate learning and skill-building into joyful activities. Also, play is an occupation on its own, and is one of the most important occupations a child has! Sometimes I am simply supporting a child in finding play that is meaningful for them!|
How can you help someone with ADHD?
I can support someone in coming up with strategies to support their executive functioning at school or at work (i.e. organization, planning, staying on task, meeting deadlines, starting an overwhelming task). I can also support sensory needs, accessibility, and emotional regulation.
How do you help someone with sensory processing challenges?
I start by gathering an understanding of their sensory profile, often via a combination of parent/child-report and my own observations. I then work with the child and family to figure out functional sensory strategies to help meet their sensory needs. This could be changing the environment (such as dimming the lights), providing sensory supports (such as noise reducing headphones or fidgets), or teaching person-based strategies (such as taking movement breaks).
What’s your favourite thing about helping people as an OT?
My favourite thing about being an OT is getting to collaborate with clients and families to find the “just-right” fit for their life at this moment in time!
What does a typical day for you look like?
For me right now, every day is different. Most days include seeing clients either in-person or virtually, some time working on program or group planning, and always some time documenting.
What is the best and worst part of your job?
The best part is getting to spend my day hanging out on the floor and playing! The hardest part for me at times is documentation, but coffee definitely helps!
Emma is here to help if you or your child need help with things such as;
- ‘Picky eating’
- Sensory processing challenges
- Social skills
- Emotional Regulation
- Focus and organization
- Executive function
- Fine motor skills -eg. Handwriting
- Gross motor skills -eg. Balance
- Personal care–toileting, washing, dressing, etc.
Emma is also a certified dance instructor, and is happy to work dance elements in to sessions with her clients to help support their goals! If you would like to learn more about what Emma does or to book a session with her you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 289-678-0581. OT sessions are covered by some extended benefit plans.