Teaneck—Every parent of a child who needs intervention knows the search that goes into finding the right match with a therapist, facility, schedule and anything else that goes into making the decision as smooth as possible. Since 1991 Chaye Lamm Warburg and her team of skilled therapists have brought their expertise, care and knowledge to the families of their facility.
Warburg does not view the children’s surface problems who come to Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services (POTS) solely as the issue at hand. Rather, she and her team constantly strive to embrace the whole child. Most therapists have been part of the POTS family for over 10 years, and come to POTS with multidisciplinary experience. Some have worked in schools, others in hospitals, but all look at every child with a wide lens and aim to provide whatever is necessary across the board. For this reason, Warburg recently added a speech-language pathologist, a physical therapist and feeding therapy, “in order to address the needs of families more comprehensively,” explained Warburg.
The POTS feeding program, S.O.S. or Sequential Oral Sensory, focuses on therapy for children with restrictive food choices. Warburg explained that this can happen because of sensory hypersensitivity, motor insufficiencies, muscle weakness or other reasons. Occupational therapists and speech-language pathologist Cara Kupersmith strengthen the oral motor system and organization within the mouth, to work with the children on a systematic desensitization to food. The goal: to enable kids to tolerate, enjoy and eventually embrace a wide variety of foods, because variety drives volume. Though currently in the early stages of this program, S.O.S. is progressing beautifully with successful results. As part of the philosophy of developing the whole child, success is measured not just in the measurable goals of what new foods a child will now eat. The philosophy of the program encourages following the lead of the child, and Warburg described the utter joy and feeling of success a child expresses when they have made new food choices. This allows for empowerment and independence in their food choices and ultimately in other behaviors as well.
Recognizing the strong role of family in the success of therapy, a number of years ago Warburg saw the way people took to infographics as a way of sharing information. Using bright colors and graphics, and keeping all important information accessible on a single sheet, she began creating her own infographics (www.pinterest.com/POTSOT) and sharing them through social media. Many of them have been repinned on Pinterest multiple times, with one of them having been pinned over 35,000 times. “The information is there for everyone to see, use, share and ultimately help whoever needs it,” said Warburg, referring to the countless requests she receives from Facebook (Facebook.com/POTSKids) and Pinterest followers to distribute her materials.
As previously reported by The Jewish Link, POTS has partnered with the Glenpointe Marriott and will be offering an aquatherapy program. “This will be our fifth year doing Aqua OT in Englewood. The partnership with the Glenpointe Spa & Fitness is new—enabling us to provide pool-based services all year,” Warburg explained. Warburg’s history with and love of the positive benefits of water and swimming go back before the five years since the aquatherapy program began. She has spent years training lifeguards in Camp Morasha to teach swimming to campers. Morasha was one of the first camps to have a Yachad division for campers with special needs, and she expanded the instruction to teach the lifeguards how to work in the pool with children in the Yachad program. “In the water, with the kids. It’s the way it’s done,” said Warburg.
Now with aquatherapy available through the year, “thanks to our wonderful partnership with the Glenpointe,” Warburg enthused, she is excited to see the benefits of aquatherapy available for those who need it. “Water applies a constant 2.2 pounds of sensory input in a constant and even pressure throughout the body. There is nothing that can match that for deep touch pressure.” She explained further that the benefits of aquatherapy often last hours past the session. “For kids who benefit from deep pressure, water is effective and very calming and organizing. It is an excellent therapeutic medium, especially for someone who has a hard time with self regulation,” she continued. While aquatherapy is different from a simple swimming lesson, often the two will overlap, if there are motor planning difficulties inhibiting a child’s ability to swim, which is a functional task. Other times a child with autism or sensory challenges will need an extended prep time of vestibular, proprioceptive and sensory input just to get into the water. “The properties of water make the pool ideal for working on strength, endurance, bilateral coordination, sensory processing, motor planning and socialization,” said Warburg.
Whatever need a child has, Warburg and the POTS team recognize that every child is unique, and although one diagnosis may sound similar to another, the implementation and interaction will be completely different and totally catered to personality, ability and individuality of each child. For more information please contact Dr. Chaye Lamm Warburg about the many services provided by POTS, at [email protected] or [email protected].
By Jenny Gans