April is National Occupational Therapy Month! In America, there are over 177,000 certified Occupational Therapists. Rainbows is proud to have 6 Occupational Therapists and 1 certified OT Assistant as a part of our professional staff!
Occupational Therapy focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. OT can occur in a variety of settings. Rainbows’ Occupational Therapists visit children in schools, child care centers, and homes! Did you know there are things your children do every day that Occupational Therapists use to increase motor development?
- Picking up cheerios
- Screw/unscrew lids
- Moving refrigerator magnets
- Holding a pencil, marker, paintbrush, etc.
In more than 27 years of serving families through Rainbows, Occupational Therapist Laura Barnes finds joy in working with children as well as their families and caregivers. “I chose to work with children because I love them,” Laura said. Part of Laura’s role as an Occupational Therapist has been to learn to work with a wide range of people with different backgrounds, children with a wide range of diagnoses and abilities, and various professionals such as Speech and Physical Therapists, early childhood special education teachers, and social workers. “I have learned from each of the children and families I work with,” Laura said. Each day is unique for an Occupational Therapist.
Laura sees children daily for those she is the Primary Coach for, some days she has joint visits with other therapists. Therapists work with infants and toddlers and their families, child care providers, as well as other caregivers such as foster parents. Laura’s favorite Rainbows’ memories are the stories that families share with her such as videos of children performing milestones. “On one video you could hear the mom saying ‘Miss Laura will be so proud of you!’ as her son was taking his first steps,” Laura said. “I was happy and proud of their son, I felt honored they wanted to include me in celebrating their son’s special achievement.” Read Laura’s full staff profile here.