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Occupational Therapy in Newmarket & Toronto

What is Occupational Therapy? It is usually most helpful to start with clarifying what an ‘occupation’ is! For an occupational therapist (OT), occupations are defined as activities and tasks of everyday life, named, organized, and given value by individuals and culture. Put simply it is “whatever occupies your time”, including looking after yourselve (self-care), enjoying life (leisure), and conributing to the social and economic fabric of communities. As an adult, this can refer to basically anything that you spend time doing during the day, such as sleeping, working (paid and unpaid), education, caring for others, self-care, leisure time, eating, driving, sex, showering….all of it!

The Transition to Motherhood with Occupational Therapy

Becoming a mother is a major life transition and the experience is as unique as each mother and baby pair. During this important transition, a woman’s occupations are signficantly impacted. While we have tons of support for the physical and medical aspect of conception, pregnancy, and childbirth, too often, little attention is given the non-medical aspects of becoming a mother. 

Most women know inherently that conceiving, nurturing a pregnancy, experiencing the birth of your baby, and becoming a mother is NOT just physical.

Occupational therapists are uniquely equipped to support and collaborate with women on their pregnancy, birth, and new mom journey. An occupational therapist can address many of the challenges women face when transitioning to motherhood including the complexities of establishing new healthy roles and routines, fostering attachment with their new baby, and coping strategies to ease that transition.

How Can Occupational Therapy Help Me?

 Occupational therapy can help educate women on common pregnancy and parenting challenges, and develop both realistic expectations and effective coping strategies focusing on co-occupations between mother and infant to enhance bonding, increase confidence in supporting healthy development, engage in enjoyable age appropriate play, and identify atypical situations early to facilitate optimal intervention. 

    Prenatal

    • Increase core stability
    • Improve endurance, flexibility, and strength
    • Reduce lower back and pelvic pain
    • Discover relaxation strategies 
    • Manage anxiety and depression
    • Enhance sleep and increase energy levels
    • Troubleshoot and plan effective coping strategies for potential obstacles before they arise

    Postnatal

    • Improve posture and alignment
    • Rebuild core strength and function
    • Safely return to exercise and sport
    • Learn effective strategies for recovery
    • Facilitate community building and support networks for new moms 
    • Educate and normalize maternal mental health challenges before they materialize 

    Common Questions About Occupational Therapy

     

    How do I know if I need an occupational therapist?

    If you are having challenges in any area of your life or find you are unable to fulfill any of your life roles to your satisfaction you may benefit from an occupational therapy assessment.

    The assessment will provide an understanding of your strengths and challenges. The Occupational Therapist will also use a combination of standardized assessments, observation, and listening to understand how your life has been impacted. Collaboration will take place to develop a personalized treatment plan that uses strengths to address your needs and increase your performance and satisfaction in your life roles.

    Do I need a referral?

    You do not need a referral to see an occupational therapist. If you have questions about how an Occupational Therapist can help you, feel free to contact the therapist to discuss the possibility of an assessment.

    Please check with your insurance provider to see if you have coverage.

    What ages do you work with?

    At West End Mamas, we focus on pediatric occupational therapy for newborns to toddlers (age 0 to 2 years).

    What’s the difference between infant physical therapy and infant occupational therapy?
    In the most simple terms, Physical Therapists (PT) specialize in gross motor issues and development. While Occupational Therapists (OT) focuses on the issues and development for occupation, which for babies is mainly play, sleeping and eating. There are many areas that affect occupation, such as gross motor, fine motor, sensory, and cognitive skills.

    There is a lot of overlap between OTs and PTs because gross motor and movement is a big component of development for babies. For example, a 5-month-old won’t be able to engage in play if they are not strong enough to roll (gross motor), but the baby’s play can also be affected by their cognitive abilities, sensory abilities, and fine motor skills.

    An OT will work on all areas of development towards the goal of increased play, but a PT will likely focus on a goal like increase strength for rolling. OTs are also a better fit if there are issues around feeding (ie. chewing, swallowing or sensory-related).

    What happens on the first occupational therapy visit?

    During the first visit, your occupational therapist will review your medical history and discuss your concerns. An assessment will be completed by a combination of listening, understanding your story, and how your life has been impacted. This assessment will vary based on need. At the end of the session the therapist will provide an analysis and recommend treatment options.  Treatment is always in collaboration with you. 

    What can I expect during follow-up occupational therapy sessions?

    Follow-up sessions can vary depending on your treatment plan. This can include reviewing recommended treatments, treatment goals, and discussing progress. Some clients might be re-assessed and introduced to new approaches depending on needs and progress. 

    How quickly can I expect to progress?

    Progress depends on delays, diagnosis and treatment. Usually, we start seeing some improvement within 3 to 4 weeks of starting a treatment plan.

    Is it occupational therapy covered by my extended health insurance?

    We can provide an itemized occupational therapy receipt at the end of the one-on-one occupational therapy session for you to submit to your extended health insurance plan. Please note that every health insurance is different and you can check to see if you have coverage.

    Common Questions About Virtual Occupational Therapy

     

    What can virtual occupational therapy services address?

    OT services are available to you safely and virtually!

    If you are having challenges in any area of your life or find you are unable to fulfill any of your life roles to your satisfaction we can help via online sessions. 

    Do I need a referral for occupational therapy?

    You do not need a referral to see an occupational therapist. If you have questions about how an Occupational Therapist can help you, feel free to contact the therapist to discuss the possibility of an assessment.

    Services may be covered under your health plan –  please check with your insurance company for details.

    What can I expect when I schedule an appointment?

    After you schedule your appointment, the occupational therapist will contact you to discuss your concerns and help you prepare for the scheduled appointment.  The occupational therapist will then send you a zoom link for your session.

    How will the virtual OT assessment be conducted?

    After a detailed conversation with the therapist, you will collaborate on a treatment plan.  

    What can I expect from follow-up OT sessions?

    In follow-up sessions, you can expect the therapist to contact you ahead of time to inform you of the activities that will be completed and what you need to prepare for those activities. During the session the therapist will guide you through a series of activities for therapeutic skill building.  All activities will be tailored to your personal needs and goals. 

    Do I need any special OT equipment?

    Likely not! Recommendations for suggested equipment might be discussed but you do not need anything other than yourself for the first session.

    West End Mamas works with insurance companies to do online billing for treatments, whenever possible. Simply ask if your insurance company is compliant when you book your appointment.

    Complementary Services & Treatments

    We provide a holistic approach to treatment, and have a wide variety of services that compliment each other. Click on the links below for more information about how our other services can help you on your path to motherhood.

    Reviews

     

    “Couldn’t be happier with my experience at West End Mamas. All the staff are excellent and so knowledgeable on all things related to pre and post-natal care. Would highly recommend!”
    – Nancy Chu