Big Leaps physical therapists, Sneha and Alyssa, and occupational therapists, Danielle and Alison, all have specialty training in various areas of pediatric therapy. Each therapist's specialty training gives them the opportunity to help each child they treat in unique ways. Check out the following descriptions of the unique techniques/programs we offer at Big Leaps.
Infant Massage - Sneha, PT, DPT, CKTP, CPMT
Sneha is a certified pediatric massage therapist (CPMT) which allows her to provide safe and effective pediatric massage and touch therapy. Sneha took a 2-day training course that was led by a certified infant massage teacher. A written exam was then completed to receive the CPMT certification. Learning from a qualified and certified infant massage teacher is the best and safest way to use infant massage.
Clinical research has shown that massaging a baby/child can aid in their physiological and neurological development and function, help soothe common discomforts, promote restful sleep for the infant, and increase healthy attachment and bonding. Studies have also demonstrated that through infant massage, babies may gain healthy weight, can have improvements in improved immune function, and may even have improved myelination of nerves. All of which are needed to encourage appropriate emotional, cognitive and physical development.
If you believe your child would benefit from infant massage, please contact Sneha for an evaluation.
Therapeutic Listening - Danielle, MOT, OTR/L
Therapeutic Listening was developed to support people who experience difficulties in sensory processing. The music gives the listener unique and controlled sensory information. The music is electronically modified to highlight the parts of the sound spectrum that naturally capture attention and activate body movement, synchronizing it with the environment. Therapeutic Listening uses electronic modifications, along with the organized, rhythmical sound patterns inherent in music, to trigger the self-organizing capacities of the nervous system. It is a comprehensive sensory approach that utilizes multiple sensory systems. This listening program requires the use of headphones and should not be listened to over speakers. Carryover in the home environment is also important for a successful program.
Therapeutic Listening may benefit individuals who have: poor attention, challenges with transitions, difficulties interacting with peers, trouble following directions, poor timing and sequencing of motor skills, and difficulty responding to sounds and verbal directions.
If you believe you child would benefit from Therapeutic Listening, please contact Danielle for an evaluation.
Total Motion Release (TMR) - Alyssa, PT, DPT
Total Motion Release is a gentle technique used to help improve the mobility of the body's fascial system. Fascia, also known as myofascia, is a network of connective tissue that links everything in the body. It joins the bones, muscles, organs, and blood vessels throughout the body in various "lines" of fascia (see image below). Structures such as the tongue and neck muscles are connected via these fascial lines all the way to the toes. Because structures in the body are linked with these fascial lines, one area of tightness in the body can cause tightness, weakness, or diminished function in another part of the body. A common example of this is a baby with torticollis. Torticollis is when one muscle in the neck is tight/shortened, but because of the fascia lines, babies with torticollis commonly also present with tongue ties and tightness in their trunk. The tightness in the neck muscle causes pulling throughout the fascia line, leading to more tightness and fascial restrictions in different parts of the body.
TMR works by releasing fascial restrictions, followed by organizing the body with sensory input and then activating the muscles in their improved alignment/position. TMR can help improve mobility throughout the entire body, address any postural asymmetries, and even help improve bodily processes or issues such as digestion, respiration, and constipation. TMR is beneficial for children (and adults) of all ages. It is commonly used for infants with torticollis, reflux, postural asymmetry, hypotonia, hypertonia, or specific motion restrictions due to positioning in utero or in the NICU. In toddlers and older children, TMR is frequently used to help improve motor control, breathing efficiency, posture, muscular tightness, gait abnormalities, and mobility due to postural asymmetry or conditions such as cerebral palsy.
If you believe your child would benefit from TMR, please contact Alyssa for an evaluation.
Astronaut Training - Alison, MOT, OTR/L
Astronaut Training is a sensory-motor therapeutic protocol that was created to help optimize the performance of the vestibular system by creating a dynamic interaction between the vestibular, auditory and visual systems of the body. This specific protocol was created by Mary Kawar, OTR/L. Alison received certification in this protocol via a 2-day course and test completion.
The vestibular system stems from receptors inside the inner ear that help a person maintain orientation of the head and body against gravity and tells us where are our body is in space in order for an individual to move functionally with purpose. Proper functioning of the vestibular system helps activate important postural muscles of the body which provide a human with a solid base of support to perform daily tasks. If an individual is unable to detect the position of their head or process the angular and linear forces that are acting upon their head, they may demonstrate poor balance, fear of movement on unstable surfaces, avoidance of new environments, over or under active behavior, fear of the dark, hand-eye coordination challenges, visual motor difficulties, hyper awareness of auditory or visual input, emotionally instability, or poor regulation of body and thoughts. Primary vestibular processing can be influenced or can completely stop working for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: ear infections, high fevers, head trauma, medications, congenital or developmental disorders, sedentary lifestyles, and allergies.
The visual system works together with the vestibular system to keep our eyes on a target while the rest of the body is in motion. When the vestibular system is not functioning properly, the eyes can't work together to perform functional tasks that require eye coordination such as throwing and catching a ball, handwriting, reading, and performing dressing tasks.
When sound is introduced into an individual's environment, it provides them with a better understanding of spatial relationships, energizes the body, improves timing and sequencing of body movement and helps trigger core activation, which allows our body to develop a more upright posture. When the auditory system if not functioning optimally, visual perceptual, coordination, eye muscle function, and balance challenges may be present.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
To begin the protocol, Alison would first perform a comprehensive evaluation to assess your child's needs and better understand if this would be an appropriate intervention approach for your child. If Astronaut Training could be helpful for your child based on the results from the evaluation, Alison would begin by slowly introducing the protocol with preparatory activities that are made to be kid-friendly and coordinated with upbeat music that makes your child feel like an astronaut! Once your child has mastered the prep activities, we can begin to move on to the activation of rotary vestibular movement. The therapist will spin the child in counterclockwise and clockwise rotations on a specific spin board in both sitting and side lying to the rhythm of music. Eye movements will then follow after ten rotations in each direction. The protocol will end with more eye movements and interactive linear motion activities! The child is monitored closely the entire duration of the protocol to avoid overload. A home program is taught to families to continue the integration of sensory information on a daily basis.
If you believe your child would benefit from Astronaut Training, please contact Alison for an evaluation.
The content in this blog should not be used in place of medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes. All activities/exercises posted in this blog should be performed with adult supervision, caution, and at your own risk. Big Leaps, LLC is not responsible for any injury while performing an activity/exercise that has been posted on this blog. If you have any information on the content of our blog, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.