Occupational Therapy

Here at ABS, Occupational Therapists support children and their development in a number of ways.  They help them to develop gross and fine motor skills, to deal with feeding challenges and to manage the way their body processes sensory information.  All of these factors are important for success with self care, with building relationships, and with playing and learning.   We begin the therapeutic process by attempting to understand the neurological underpinnings behind a particular child’s behaviors and patterns.

Once we assess the challenges a child is facing we work with the plasticity of their brains to support development, and adaptation.  When neurological adaptation is not possible or not fast enough to meet the child’s current developmental needs, we work with the child and their family to develop ways to compensate.

We provide Occupational therapy at the following offices: 

Salt Lake City, UT

Layton, UT 

Orem, UT


Many of the children we see have to manage an inconsistent or uncomfortable experience with sensation in their bodies.  Sound, smells, touch, and even the feeling of their body in motion or working against gravity can be overwhelming, uncomfortable, or scary for a child when the way their brain is processing information prevents them from reacting in a useful way.

Challenges with sensory processing can impact attention, emotional regulation, coordination, and their ability to socially interact.  It can lead to avoidance or behaviors that others may not understand and that make it difficult to successfully participate in the world around them.  It can also cause children to be emotionally dysregulated and can lead to maladaptive behavior like excessive  tantruming, self harming, and elopement.  Here at ABS,  Occupational Therapists try to provide a safe space for kids to explore their sensory needs, learn ways to manage them, and to help their brains adapt.

How We Start

Like many other members on the ABA team we are frequently addressing a child’s emotional regulation, behavior, and social skills.  We begin by approaching these factors through the lens of their sensory processing and their gross and fine motor function.

We want the children we see to feel confident, balanced, coordinated, and strong in their bodies so that feelings of discoordination and over stimulation aren’t making them overwhelmed which can lead to escalation or emotional withdrawal or shutdown.   For this reason we often begin by letting the children we see direct the session.  We want to know what they are avoiding and seeking out and we want them to feel safe.  Once they do, we begin to look for ways to integrate higher demands like attention, following directions, turn taking, waiting, and sharing.


Gross and Fine Motor Skills

Many of the kids we see have gross and fine motor deficits.  These could be the result of avoidance patterns, low arousal or inconsistent balance and postural control.   Helping kids develop skills in order to better manage safe play, participation in future academics, and self-care is a big priority for Occupational Therapists.

How We Work Together

One of the many strengths of working at ABS is that the opportunities for implementing a team approach are very frequent.  We collaborate with the behavior therapists by providing sensory strategies for attention, regulation, and to maximize success during the programs they run.  They, in turn provide us with information about the home environment and how well skills acquired in sessions are working in the rest of the child’s daily routine.

Sensory strategies are also provided to speech therapists to support the attention and flexibility which are so important for getting maximum benefit out of Speech Therapy Sessions.   In turn they inform us about the child’s cognitive patterns and challenges with language so that we can integrate and renforce the strategies they are using into the gross and fine motor play that is happening in OT. With clinical psychologists here at ABS, the Occupational Therapists work to understand where the neuroscience of sensory processing and motor performance is overlapping with psychological patterns.  It is a privilege to work with all of these clinicians to support all aspects of development and to provide one another with useful strategies.


 About Our Occupational Therapy Team

What we Occupational Therapists particularly enjoy about the team approach is that it brings us into collaboration with the most important team members of all, the wonderful parents and caregivers and of course the children themselves.  What can you expect in an occupational therapy session?  Well to begin with the OT is likely to ask a lot of questions about your home environment and your child’s patterns.  We will want to know your priorities and we recognize they can change.  For this reason open dialogue and collaborative problem solving is key.   If you have a question, always ask.  Understanding the way your child’s brain is working is complex and open collaboration between parent and clinician is going to get the best results with the best carry over.
Like the other team members at ABS parents can benefit from sensory strategies to use at home, often these come in the form of sensory diets.  Barriers that made no sense for parents can often suddenly be understandable when parents and caregivers are empowered with the information about what their child is facing neurologically.   It is our priority that parents have as clear an idea as possible what their children are experiencing so that they can understand, and empathize.  But that also they have the tools to integrate useful strategies in the moment of every day life in support of their child’s everchanging development.

Get Started today!

Call us at 800-434-8923 or click below to fill out our contact form.