New Therapy Options Via TheraPinoy

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MANILA, Philippines - The last two months of 2010 spotlighted three centers for differently-abled children: the inauguration of Shine Intervention Center in Pasig, the Atty. Jose Miguel T. Arroyo Developmental and Behavioral Studies Unit inside Philippine General Hospital; and the re-dedication of Quality Life Discoveries in Quezon City.Filipinos can be proud that all three centers have world-class facilities. For parent advocates, we are happy that families dealing with autism and other developmental disabilities now have more options. We are even happier that even the marginalized families can avail of these services through TheraPinoy.Let our Angel Talker this week explain new therapy options and TheraPinoy. She is Raina Stella Reyes, an occupational therapist who graduated from the College of Allied Medical Professions, University of the Philippines.

She holds sessions in private centers such as the Quality Life Discoveries in Quezon City. Teacher Raina serves as adviser to the Occupational Therapy Students Assembly, the umbrella organization of OT student groups from various universities nationwide.* * * * *If you are a parent or a family member of a child with autism, you must have typed the keywords "treatment for autism" in the Google search bar at least once. It is also certain that the minute you pressed "enter,'' you were somewhat overwhelmed by the more than 10 million hits you received by just typing in those three words. If you narrow it down to only "pages from the Philippines", you get 8,000 hits, which still does not make it any easier to select the best available course of action for your child.The things we know about autism have greatly evolved since the diagnosis was first described in 1943. But a large amount of information still waits to be uncovered, specifically relating to what really causes these changes in our children. If you have ever spent an hour with a group of children with autism, you will realize that despite the similar diagnosis, each child is unique. Each has unique behaviors, weaknesses and strengths.Thus, it comes as no surprise that evidence for treatment options for children with autism has been so difficult to generate. The same can be said about services provided to other children with special needs, such as cerebral palsy.Back to basics: What is occupational therapy and how can it help your child?The World Federation of Occupational Therapy (2004) defines occupational therapy as a profession that is "concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life".At present, majority of Filipino occupational therapists (OT) are involved in pediatric practice, with clients that include children with physical and psychosocial disabilities, such as cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).The goal of an OT is to educate and guide clients in acquiring or rehabilitating the skills necessary for self-care activities (e.g. feeding, bathing, dressing), education, work, play/leisure, social participation, and other necessary life skills (e.g. buying from a store, using public transportation).Common approaches OTs use in order to ensure maximum function include behavior management techniques, sensory integration activities, cognitive-behavioral approaches and developmental skills training.Contemporary therapy options*Aquatherapy. The beauty of aquatherapy is that it chooses no one. Clients across all ages and various types of conditions have gained several benefits from simply being in the water. More so for children because swimming in a pool filled with toys can be an exciting and rewarding experience for them.Aquatherapy is recognized as a widely used treatment for children with cerebral palsy. The physical properties of water are used to allow for improved performance of exercises and different movements that would not usually be possible on land. With each new posture or movement clients accomplish, self-image and self-esteem are also improved, in addition to several motor gains. …