What is an Occupational Therapist?

What does an occupational therapist do?
Occupational therapists, or OTs, work to increase your child’s independence in the things they do everyday!
For example, they work on fine motor skills. Fine motor skills mean the way someone uses their hands and fingers. This can help with things like putting on shoes, brushing teeth, and holding a fork.
OTs work on visual motor skills to help with things like putting on pants, reading and writing, and doing puzzles.
They work on self-care skills like learning to use the toilet and bathe.
OTs work on gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are ways a person uses their bigger body parts. Working on these skills in OT makes sure both sides of the body are able to work together for everyday tasks. This can include riding a bike, climbing stairs, or catching a ball.
Also, OTs work on feeding to make sure children can chew effectively. They are the MVPs of working with extreme picky eating and food refusal.
Our occupational therapists can assess your child’s unique sensory profile to help give them a list of activities that can help them focus and learn all throughout their day!
What is an occupational therapist?
We like to call ours superheroes!?

About Joy Opens Doors

Who we are

Joy Opens Doors provides pediatric speech and occupational therapy. Our philosophy is summed up in our name: we believe that by tapping into a child’s joy, we can open doors of communication and language.

What we do

We believe in using cutting edge approaches combining naturalistic play with behavioral techniques. This means that we use meaningful play and social connection in a child’s natural environment.  Including your child’s daily routines means faster learning and more comprehensive gains.

Where we go

Joy Opens Doors serves children and their families in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

How we work

Therapy is individualized to meet your child’s needs and your family’s needs. Depending on your child, therapy may include:

  • DIR Floortime
  • Hanen It Takes Two To Talk
  • Hanen More Than Words
  • Hanen Talkability
  • Pivotal Response Treatment
  • Picture Exchange Communication System
  • Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets



Speech Therapy for Pronoun Reversal

Pronoun reversal is one of those wildly frustrating things to work on in speech therapy, like a game of “Who’s on first?” In pronoun reversal, your child refers to themselves as “you” and refers to you as “me.”

It’s even more frustrating than that comedy sketch, because your communication partner isn’t joking and might actually cry after telling you, “You do it,” and then seeing you follow through on their request.

What’s happening and why is this so persistent?
Your child is a Gestalt learner, and is learning whole sentences at a time, without learning the meanings of each individual word.

Basically in order to fix pronoun reversal in speech therapy, you need to teach a whole lot of sentences containing your target words, in this case, you and I/me. Only once your child has command of lots of different sentences containing these target words can he start to break down the sentence into meaningful units that can start to be switched out.

  • Correct your child when they say something with the wrong pronoun that can be immediately reinforced. Example, my child says “Pick you up” when he wants to be picked up, because he’s only ever heard the sentence, “Do you want me to pick you up?” I’ve never once told him to “Pick me up.” Model the correct sentence and immediately reinforce it with whatever makes sense, in my case, picking my kid up.
  • If necessary, act confused when your child uses the wrong pronoun. This gives the critical feedback that what they have said does not make sense. When my kid asks to “pick you up,” I say “really? Ok, I’m pretty heavy, but you can try? —– OHHH you want ME to pick you up. Say ‘pick ME up.’”
  • Start teaching lots of different “I” and “me” sentences:
    • Give it to me
    • Throw it to me
    • Show it to me
    • Tell me how
    • Give me a turn
    • I want…
    • I need…
    • I hear…
    • I see…
    • I like…
    • Can I have…
    • I am… (in response to “where are you?” — right here, in the bath, sitting with Daddy)
    • I am… (in response to “how are you feeling?” – happy, sad, hungry, thirsty, tired)
    • I have to…
  • This will make an immediate difference in producing the right pronoun in context with your learned sentences, and with enough sentences, will teach your child the actual meanings of you and I.
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