Meet the Therapist/Teacher
Sandra O'Brien, DT, CHC
Sandra O’Brien, DT has over 40 years experience in education-with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. Certification in Early Intervention, Milestones Specialist, Autism Assessment, Art Therapy and Health Coach Certification. Sandra has experience in schools, hospitals, and home visitor. Sandra is looking forward to working with you and your child at the Caring Strategies Center with an array of classes for all children of all ages.
A Developmental Therapist (DT) has a background in child development, psychology, education, special education, plus experience with children under 5 years of age, and a degree in Early Intervention. The DT works with families to help children achieve skills in a typical developmental order. (Milestones) They can assist children in the areas of physical skills, cognitive development, communication, social/emotional skills, and adaptive skills. The DT helps families learn to manage challenging behaviors and provides developmentally appropriate suggestions for rules, routines, and play.
Megan Patorno, MOT, LOTR
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Megan graduated from University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. She then went on to earn her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from LSU Medical Center - New Orleans. Megan has worked as an occupational therapist for over 8 years in the the specialty area of pediatrics with a variety of diagnoses. She has worked extensively with children as an Early Steps provider for the state of Louisiana, providing occupational therapy services in the schools of greater New Orleans, and for medically fragile children at Pediatric Health Choice medical daycare. Recently Megan became trained to be a pediatric yoga teacher to help further support a child's physical and emotional needs. She is also currently working on classes to become an ADHD Intervention Specialist. She looks forward to participating in and teaching a variety of classes at Caring Strategies Center to help your child learn and grow through meaningful activities.
According to the school of Allied Health, pediatric occupational therapy focuses on helping children develop the skills they need to grow into functional, independent adults. Physical impairment, injuries and a host of other issues can hamper a child’s ability to perform common tasks or progress normally through the stages of social or cognitive development. The longer a child goes without learning these skills, the more the problem compounds as the child ages—which makes the skills of a pediatric occupational therapist critical to their patients.
Pediatric occupational therapy can benefit children who fall into several categories, from premature infants, to kids with ADHD, to children struggling to read or write. What areas can pediatric occupational therapy address? Consider the following list:
Cognitive skills – remembering letters, shapes and sequences
Fine motor skills – finger dexterity, wrist and forearm control, and hand strength
Gross motor skills – balance and body coordination
Self-care tasks – dressing, bathing and self-feeding
Social skills – taking turns, listening and following directions
When working with children, pediatric occupational therapists often incorporate play into practice as a way of motivating them and reducing any anxiety or fears they might feel toward therapy. Play can involve games, toys, puzzles, songs or physical exercises. In all cases, the goal of pediatric occupational therapy is not only to help children adequately progress but to challenge them appropriately, helping to build self-esteem and confidence when it comes to their capabilities and aptitude.