Season 4 Episode 8 : Occupational Therapy for Behaviors in Foster Care

Zielia Crespo, co-owner of Sensory Works in Dade City, Florida, join Jack & Nichole for a conversation about how occupational therapy can help improve behaviors. OT (occupational therapy) can seem like magic when your kids appear to just be playing with a therapist and within months you can see drastic improvements in their behavior. Whether a child has sensory issues, like struggling to wear shoes and socks or seeking input by running into things, or they just can’t seem to regulate their body and emotions while going through transitions during the day – OT is probably the secret sauce.

We have been discussing in this series how trauma creates physiological injury to the brain and nervous system which creates all kinds of undesirable behaviors, which we often see in fostercare. We would like to present OT as the FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE with trauma behaviors – regardless of age. In fact, not only can infants get a lot out of OT but so can adults!

Occupational Therapy works to integrate reflexes that may be delayed due to trauma and other negative events. OTs generally use a wide array of protocols like listening programs such as the Safe and Sound protocol in order to help not just regulate the body but help with audio processing disorders, trauma, and all kinds of things trauma soaked and neurodiverse children struggle with. Even better – using OT in conjunction with other therapies (such as EMDR, ABA, TBRI) – you are giving your foster children the absolute best leg to stand on (pt joke probably) to be able to heal through their trauma. Zielia also teaches us about rhythmic movements (somatic / bilaterals) that help to regulate your body when you are in a trauma state.

Sensory Works is an OT and play gym located in Dade City, Florida. They offer a variety of services including OT, open gym, art classes, craft classes, music classes, dance classes, mommy and me classes, adult sensory integration classes, and are constantly coming up with additional creative ways to serve their community.