Colin is one of many patients who work with the hospital’s occupational therapists to develop skills needed for age-appropriate, meaningful undertakings, such as playing, getting dressed, writing and participating in other school activities. Each occupational therapy session is tailored to the goals of the patient and family.
Colin participated in numerous tasks designed to move him toward his goals, such as stacking objects, cutting items with scissors, crawling up inclines, assembling puzzles and drawing—which remains one of his favorite pastimes.
“We talk with the family about what’s important to them, and that drives our activities,” says occupational therapist Jessica Sparrow.
St. Jude occupational therapists help patients overcome challenges in areas ranging from hand-eye coordination to fine-motor and cognitive skills. Depending on patients’ needs, therapists can use customized medical technologies and activities to help them move better, read more easily, and strengthen and stretch their bodies. Occupational Therapy also conducts research to help develop new interventions for patients.
For instance, one such study is exploring whether an intervention originally developed to treat children with cerebral palsy can help brain tumor patients who experience difficulty using one side of their body. Therapists hope the project will help these children recover lost function.
Abridged from Promise, Autumn 2013