Early intervention paediatric therapy services can be of great benefit to children, helping them to play, learn and function in developmentally appropriate ways.
In addition to working on physical well-being, paediatric therapy also addresses psychological, social and environmental factors affecting a child’s ability to function.
Paediatric therapists are healthcare practitioners that specialise in providing this intervention to children.
“The Cayman Islands is equipped with a wide variety of therapies offered by excellent therapists from Cayman and all over the world,” explains Mareli Joubert, occupational therapist at KidsAbility Ltd. a multidisciplinary clinic offering a wide range of therapies.
“The main types of therapy that are currently provided on-island include occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, feeding therapy, ABA (applied behaviour analysis), play therapy, psychotherapy and counselling, each catering to the specific needs of the child.”
Paediatric therapies are highly specialised and tailored to the individual. As well as the type of appropriate therapy, the location of therapy must also be appropriate to the child.
“It is critical to consider the specific needs of the child to determine where and how therapy should take place,” says Mareli. “At KidsAbility, we see children in the clinic, at school, at home, or through telehealth, and this is determined by the specific needs of the child and family.
“During COVID-19 a lot of research has been done on providing therapy online. A lot of therapists make use of teletherapy to ensure ongoing treatment without direct contact.”
MARELI BREAKS DOWN SOME OF THE THERAPIES MOST OFTEN SEEN IN CAYMAN, OUTLINING WHO BENEFITS BEST FROM EACH, AND WHAT THE THERAPY ENTAILS.
Applied behaviour analysis
Applied behaviour analysis focuses on social and emotional skills as well as reinforcing positive behaviours and reducing negative behaviours. It helps children who have difficulties with these skills by improving their social interactions, teaching them behaviours to regulate themself and maintain self-control, decreasing selfharm behaviours, and helping them transfer learned behaviours to different environments.
Paediatric occupational therapists work with children who have difficulties in their daily activities due to physical, emotional, sensory, cognitive or developmental delays. These daily activities can include school, learning, self-care, social participation, and play. Occupational therapists promote optimal functioning and strive for independence.
Paediatric physiotherapy focuses on achieving optimal physical development by enhancing body functions and movement patterns. Paediatric physiotherapists work with children that have physical delays due to injury, illness, or disabilities. These delays can include coordination difficulties, problems with breathing, developmental conditions, physical and learning disabilities, delays in developmental milestones, injuries such as fractures, as well as congenital or developmental conditions.
Speech and language therapy
Paediatric speech and language pathologists work with children who have difficulties with their speech or language skills. They aim to improve the development of communication skills by focusing on verbal and nonverbal language abilities. They can also assist with difficulties in swallowing and feeding. Areas of communication that speech and language pathologists mainly focus on include speech (treating different voice disorders, improving articulation, and decreasing stuttering); receptive language (understanding and processing information that they receive); as well as expressive language (producing words and combining them into sentences and phrases).
Paediatric counsellors provide mental health intervention. A wide variety of therapy modalities can be used including cognitive behaviour therapy, person-centred and strength-based therapy, and dialectical behaviour therapy.