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When most people hear the term occupational therapy (OT), they think of work and grownups, not kids. After all, kids don't have "occupations" ... or do they? For babies and toddlers, play is their job. As kids get older, play and school become their jobs. Teens and young adults very often do add jobs to school and play.
An illness, disorder or accident can interrupt your child's ability to play, study, work or simply do the little everyday things like brushing teeth or tying shoes. Fortunately, the occupational therapists at Cook Children's are here to help them achieve independence and develop the skills they need for living.
Cook Children's Health Care System provides a full spectrum of occupational therapy options, including inpatient, outpatient and home health care.
The goal of occupational therapy is to help children do their jobs. For kids, that means doing the everyday activities that "occupy" their lives, like:
We believe that family is key to your child's therapy success. Knowing that therapy is a small portion of your child's daily life, we give the child and caregiver tools to promote independence and function at home, school and out in the community. We do this through a holistic approach, which means we look at the whole child, physically and psychologically, to help them achieve a healthy life balance.
When you choose Cook Children's Occupational Therapy Program, you know that you're getting people who really understand children. We focus on newborns all the way to young adulthood, and work to ensure that each patient we see receives the very best treatment and care to help them grow up as happy and healthy as possible. All of our therapists are certified in pediatric care, and they work one-on-one with the patient and the family to provide the treatment and support options that make the most sense for you.
Our occupational therapists are dedicated to the care patients with a wide variety of health issues. Some come to us for a short time, others require ongoing therapy. Our inpatient setting is designed to help our patients recover and transition home, and when necessary, to our outpatient care. Our outpatient clinics are located throughout the area to help ensure that, from infancy into young adulthood, our patients have access to therapy. From the simple to the complex, our therapists have extensive experience in evaluating and treating children with all kinds of functionality challenges. Our services include:
Cook Children's occupational therapists have experience in helping kids overcome the challenges that can slow them down mentally, physically and emotionally.
Our patients range from newborn to early adulthood, and many of those we see have multiple challenges. We treat a wide scope of disabilities caused by congenital disorders and due to acquired disorders and injuries.
If your condition is not listed below please contact your doctor for more information.
ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders in which children are unable to pay attention, control their activity, and restrain impulsive behavior. Many children outgrow ADHD, but it can also continue into adulthood as a lifelong issue.
Approximately three percent of all school-aged children are estimated to have ADHD, many of whom may have difficulty learning and participating successfully at school because they find it difficult to focus on a single subject for any length of time. Depending on the type of ADHD a child has, some kids may act out, while others become inattentive. In either instance, ADHD can interfere with a child's ability to hear or read instructions, complete school assignments, participate in games, perform tasks at home or play.
There are many possible causes of ADHD, including genetics, environmental factors, brain injuries and diet. There is no one test to determine if a child as ADHD. A diagnosis of ADHD is determined by a health professional based on observation of the child's behavior by parents, educators and health professionals.
Cook Children's occupational therapists address certain aspects of ADHD including fine motor, social skills, coordination and sensory processing delays. We coordinate all aspects of your child's ongoing care with the family. Special emphasis is placed on educating family members so you can participate fully in child's treatment and carry over skills within the home.
We offer a full range of therapy and assessment including outpatient clinic services. Inpatient hospitalization is available for children who require complex medical management. You and your child will move through the continuum of care based on your child's individual needs.
The term autism covers broad range of neurological disorders known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Symptoms can be mild to severe. Many people with ASD can lead very productive lives. In fact, some very successful and famous people have ASD. And, as new therapies are introduced, even those with severe cases of ASD are finding ways to communicate and unlock much of their potential.
Children with ASD have differences in the way their brains develop and process information. They might have language delays or trouble communicating with others, perform certain unusual or repetitive behaviors, or have difficulties learning in school. ASD may include pervasive developmental disorders and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be diagnosed by a physician, psychologist or diagnostician.
Without appropriate treatment, these disorders can have lasting effects on a child's physical, social and emotional development. Cook Children's Occupational Therapy program is designed to address these problems and to each child realize his or her optimal growth and development.
The occupational therapists at Cook Children's offer a wide-ranging approach to treating ASD, including but not limited to:
Our therapy team works closely with your child's medical team and coordinates all aspects of your child's ongoing care with the family. We place special emphasis on educating family members so you can participate fully in your child's treatment and for most families, those added skills can also reduce stress.
We offer a full range of therapy and assessment including outpatient clinic services and a day treatment program. Inpatient hospitalization is available for children who require extensive medical management.
At Cook Children's, we recognize that each case, and more importantly – each child, is different, requiring a therapy plan that is designed to help them achieve success and grow toward as much independence as possible.
Children with cerebral palsy have any one of a number of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination but don't worsen over time. It is caused by abnormalities in parts of the brain that control muscle movements. A child may exhibit tight or stiff muscles (spasticity) and/or lack of muscle coordination (dystonia).
Treatment for cerebral palsy can have positive effects on a child's physical, emotional and social development. Cook Children's Occupational Therapy program is designed to address the challenges your child faces and to help them reach their fullest potential.
Cook Children's occupational therapists offer a team approach to treating cerebral palsy and therapies may include:
At Cook Children's we recognized that each case, and more importantly – each child, is different, requiring a therapy plan that is designed to help them achieve success and grow toward as much independence as possible.
DiGeorge Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the deletion of a large portion of chromosome 22. Many children with DiGeorge Syndrome have medical complications including heart defects, low levels of calcium in the blood, decreased immune function, and cleft palate. In addition, children often exhibit delays in development, learning difficulties, behavioral problems, and low muscle tone. The severity of symptoms and complications vary greatly.
An occupational therapist will evaluate your child's fine motor skills, coordination skills, strength, and self-care skills. In the clinic, children will participate in tasks to facilitate progression of developmental skills. Treatment will also consist of educating parents on activities to incorporate daily within the home.
We offer a full range of therapy and assessment including inpatient acute care for children who require complex medical management, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient clinic services.
At Cook Children's we recognize that each case, and more importantly – each child, is different, requiring a therapy plan that is designed to help them achieve success and grow toward as much independence as possible.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder, occurring when an individual has an extra copy of chromosome 21. In the United States, Down Syndrome occurs at a rate of 1 in 691 births. Some of the more common physical characteristics of individuals with Down Syndrome include: low muscle tone, a small build, protruding tongue, flattened facial features, and an upward eye slant. Children with Down syndrome often experience cognitive delays and deficits in motor skills. They may also have mild to moderate intellectual challenges.
Children with Down syndrome sometimes have a variety of birth defects, such as heart, gastrointestinal and thyroid conditions. The occupational therapists will take all of the things into account when creating a treatment plan. We will also evaluate your child's fine motor skills, coordination skills, strength, self-care skills, and ability to process sensory input. In the clinic, your child will participate in tasks to facilitate progression of developmental skills, which may include things like:
Treatment will also consist of setting goals that match your child's level of needs, setting expectations, and educating parents on activities that can be incorporated into daily living at home, socially, in school and on the job.
Dystonia is a disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that cause slow repetitive movements or abnormal postures. The movements may be painful, and some individuals with dystonia may have a tremor or other neurologic features. There are several different forms of dystonia that may affect only one muscle, groups of muscles, or muscles throughout the body. Some forms of dystonia are genetic but the cause for the majority of cases is not known.
If your child has been diagnosed with dystonia, occupational therapy can help to make everyday tasks easier to do, and it can offer your child an opportunity to be as independent as is possible. Cook Children's occupational therapists will evaluate your child and customize a plan to meet his or her specific needs and will include the entire family. Therapy may include:
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is an inherited disorder of the connective tissue affecting approximately 1 in 5,000 people around the world. The syndrome typically causes people to have skin with decreased elasticity, overly flexible joints, and weakened blood vessel walls. Due to increased joint flexibility, joint dislocation is often a concern and developmental delay may occur.
When your child is referred to Cook Children's occupational therapy program, our occupational therapists will evaluate your child's fine motor skills, coordination skills, strength, and self-care skills. In the clinic, your will participate in tasks to facilitate progression of developmental skills. If your child requires assistive or adaptive devices, we will help with measuring and fitting, as well as assist your child with the use of his or her device(s). For example, your therapist will measure and fit your child for hand splints to promote increased joint stability.
Children with emotional disturbances may exhibit a wide variety of issues related to emotional functioning of the child. Issues may include depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and oppositional-defiant disorder.
Children who are affected by these disorders can find home, school and social situations extra challenging. And as these kids grow up, the work place can also become problematic. However, the occupational therapy program at Cook Children's is designed to help your child overcome many of the issues related to their particular disorder.
Treatment for emotional disorders can positively affect your child's physical, emotional and social development. Our program is designed to address these problems and to support optimal growth and development.
We coordinate all aspects of your child's ongoing care with the family. We place special emphasis on educating family members so you can participate fully in your child's treatment.
Encephalopathy is a broad term used to describe a syndrome of the brain, affecting brain function and/or structure. There are numerous causes of encephalopathy including, but not limited to:
Symptoms range from mild to severe depending on the cause. Some more common symptoms include deficits in cognition, decreased attention to task, tremors, motor delay, and muscle weakness.
When your child is referred to the Cook Children's Occupational Therapy program, our occupational therapists will evaluate your child's fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, coordination skills, strength, and self-care skills to determine the best course of treatment for your child based on symptoms and level of need. In the clinic, your child will participate in tasks to help him or her progress in their developmental skills.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures (convulsions) over time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention or behavior. Epilepsy may be due to a medical condition, an injury that affects the brain or the cause may be unknown.
Because of seizures, safety is a primary concern of children, teens and adults with epilepsy, as this increases the risk of injury. And since seizures can happen anywhere, your child's therapy plan will include safety training for them and for family and caregivers as well.
Here at Cook Children's, we understand and are highly trained in the needs of people with epilepsy. Our occupational therapists will evaluate your child and provide an individualized treatment plan to address problem areas, such as decreased range of motion, muscle weakness, positioning and motor control, helping them to learn coping skills that allow child to return to their daily routines at their highest level of function.
The team in our Occupational Therapy program will work closely with your physician and other team members that may provide care to your child to assure that your child's therapy plan complements his or her overall treatment plan.
Treatment will also consist of setting goals that match your child's level of needs, setting expectations, and educating parents on activities that can be incorporated into daily living at home, socially, in school and on the job. We will help with recommendations for adapting the patient's home, school and work environment to enable your child to be as independent as possible while respecting the need for added safety measures. Additional therapies in your child's treatment plan may incorporate:
At Cook Children's we recognize that each case, and more importantly – each child, is different, requiring a therapy plan that is designed to help them achieve success and grow toward as much independence as possible.
Feeding difficulties are pretty common among kids. But feeding disorders go beyond just picky. They can be the result of many issues, including motor skills, e.g., having difficulty getting food to one's mouth or grasping feeding utensils. Some children can't tolerate various food textures. Still others have difficulty chewing or swallowing food. All of these difficulties impact gaining independence with feeding, obtaining proper nutrition, and being able to participate in the social act of eating.
The occupational therapists at Cook Children's will evaluate your child's sensory processing, fine motor skills, postural stability, and self-care skills. Once a treatment plan has been created, you child will participate in tasks designed to help him or her develop and progress. If there are swallowing concerns, your occupational therapist will collaborate with one of Cook Children's speech therapists to provide a well-rounded plan of care.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is a range of disorders that result from a mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Those disorders include fetal alcohol syndrome, partial fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, alcohol-related birth defects, and fetal alcohol effects. Babies born with FASD may have mild to severe mental and physical defects, some of which may include:
People with FASD might have abnormal facial features:
They may also experience growth problems and central nervous system (CNS) problems. Children with FASD might have a mix of problems, such as:
These children often have a hard time in school and trouble getting along with others. Without occupational therapy, these problems can potentially evolve into much bigger issues as the child grows into adulthood. At Cook Children's, our occupational therapists work with your child to help them develop coping skills for emotional disorders, as well as work with their physical and mental disorders.
When your child is referred to the Occupational Therapy program at Cook Children's, our occupational therapists will evaluate your child's fine motor skills, coordination skills, strength, sensory processing, visual skills, and self-care skills. In the clinic, children will participate in tasks to facilitate progression of developmental skills. We will also work closely with the referring doctor to ensure that all treatment plans complement the child's overall diagnosis. Your child's treatment plan may include some or all of the following, depending on the diagnosis:
Treatment will also consist of educating parents on activities to incorporate daily within the home.
One of the most common, fragile X refers to a group of conditions related to a defect on a gene in the X chromosome.
Fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder affecting both males and females, however, symptoms in males are often more severe. The syndrome is more common in males occurring in approximately 1 out of every 4,000 people. In females, the occurrence is approximately 1 out of every 8,000 people. Children with Fragile X syndrome often have intellectual disabilities, behavioral problems, decreased ability to process sensory input, deficits in social skills, and certain physical characteristics such as a long face, large ears, flat feet, and soft skin. They may also experience any or all of the following symptoms:
When your child is referred to Cook Children's Occupational Therapy program, our occupational therapists will evaluate your child's fine motor skills, coordination skills, strength, self-care skills, social skills, and ability to process sensory input. In the clinic, children will participate in tasks to facilitate progression of developmental skills.
All boys with fragile X, and some girls, have sensory issues, such as a hypersensitivity to touch, sound, smell or lights. Your child's treatment plan will address these issues through sensory input therapy involving the five senses to help your child learn a more appropriate response to his or her environment. In addition to sensory integration, care may include any or all of the following:
Most of us never really think about how much we rely on our hands. They help us eat, bathe, brush our teeth, pickup large and very tiny objects. We use them to open and close doors, write, play on the computer, to wave hello, and to hold the hands of others. So when a child is born with a hand disorder or acquires a hand injury or disability due to an accident or other medical condition that may impact the use of the hands, the hand rehab team at Cook Children's is here to help.
The hand rehab team provides care for diagnosis such as fractures/dislocations, sprains/strains, amputations, tendonitis, acute/chronic pain, arthritis, overuse injuries, stroke and congenital conditions, such as cerebral palsy. Every patient receives a full evaluation and an individualized plan of care.
Cook Children's' occupational therapists address certain aspects of hand therapy including:
We coordinate all aspects of your child's ongoing care with the physician's and the family working together. There is a special emphasis placed on educating your family members and caregivers so that you can participate fully in child's treatment and carry over the therapeutic plan in the home environment.
Every year, approximately 12,000 children born in the United States have hearing loss. There are three main types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensori-neural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. Hearing loss can lead to deficits in speech/language, social skills, and cognitive development. Children may also demonstrate difficulties in processing sensory input, particularly vestibular and visual input.
When your child is referred to the Occupational Therapy program at Cook Children's, our occupational therapy team will evaluate your child's fine motor skills, coordination skills, strength, sensory processing, visual skills, and self-care skills. Based on your child's assessment, a treatment plan will be designed top help him or her develop the skills necessary to live as full and active life as possible. Treatment will also consist of educating parents on activities to incorporate daily within the home.
If your child has a condition that has resulted in full or partial hearing loss, your child may also be referred to one of the following in order to help them learn and develop:
Childhood hemiplegia (sometimes called hemiparesis) is a condition affecting one side of the body. We talk about a right or left hemiplegia, depending on the side affected. It is caused by damage to some part of the brain, which may happen before, during or soon after birth, when it is known as congenital hemiplegia, or later in childhood as a result of injury or illness, in which case it is called acquired hemiplegia. Generally, injury to the left side of the brain will cause a right hemiplegia and injury to the right side a left hemiplegia. Childhood hemiplegia is a relatively common condition, affecting up to one child in 1,000. About eighty percent of cases are congenital, and twenty percent are acquired.
When your child is referred to the Occupational Therapy program at Cook Children's, our team of therapists will evaluate your child's challenges and, based on the assessment, develop a treatment plan that specifically focus on what your child needs in order to participate as fully as possible in the daily job of being a child.
Occupational Therapy services may include:
Children with learning disabilities have average or above average intelligence, but have difficulty learning basic academics in conventional school settings. These skills include those needed for successful reading, writing, listening, speaking and/or math. Difficulties in these areas may result in a learning disability.
Without appropriate treatment, these disorders can have lasting effects on a child's academics and emotional development. Cook Children's Occupational Therapy program is designed to address these problems and to support optimal growth and development.
Cook Children's occupational therapists offer a comprehensive approach to treating learning disabilities. Intervention is centered on specialized writing programs, visual motor activities, fine motor development and adaptations to school work/environment that may assist with learning.
Marfan syndrome is a disorder of the connective tissue affecting approximately 1 in 5000 people. In 75 percent of the cases, the syndrome is inherited. In 25 percent of the cases, the syndrome is caused by a gene mutation. Marfan syndrome most commonly affects the connective tissue of the heart, eyes, skeleton, and blood vessels. Children with Marfan syndrome typically grow tall and thin with disproportionate limbs, flat feet, extreme nearsightedness, and crowded teeth. The severity of symptoms ranges from mild to severe and may worsen with age.
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is an "umbrella" term for a group of thirty inherited diseases causing muscle weakness and muscle loss. The different types vary in what the symptoms are, which muscles are affected, and when the symptoms become evident. Some of the types of MD seen at Cook Children's include Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscle atrophy and Charcot-Marie Tooth.
While there are no medical treatments currently available to stop or reverse muscular dystrophy, certain therapies can help to improve the quality of life for patients. As physical abilities change, occupational therapy can help patients with MD relearn these movements and abilities. Occupational therapy also teaches patients to use assistive devices such as wheelchairs and utensils.
When your child is referred to the Occupational Therapy program at Cook Children's, our team of therapists will evaluate your child's needs. Based on the resulting assessment, a therapy plan will be created to provides services address the unique challenges your child faces. Occupational therapy services may include:
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that occurs when the nervous system has difficulty taking in the surrounding environment through the senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste. One sense or multiple senses can be affected and depending on the patient, can be one extreme or the other, for instance, one child may feel extreme pain when a certain type of fabric touches his skin; yet, another child might not feel heat from an stove burner and won't react when the skin is burned. These types of difficulties can lead to inappropriate motor and behavioral responses, making daily tasks a challenge.
Sensory processing disorders can also affect messaging from the body to the brain. In cases such as these, the messaging from and to the muscles and joints does not function properly. Children may have poor posture or impaired motor skills. They may trip and fall a lot, or be labeled as a "klutz" or "clumsy."
When your child is referred to Cook Children's Occupational Therapy program, our team of therapists will do a thorough evaluation of your child's sensory challenges. Based on the final assessment, we will create a treatment plan that focuses on your child's specific needs and level of severity
Depending on the range of sensory disorders and the severity, they can disrupt a child's everyday activities and have a negative impact on self-esteem. They can also put a child at risk for minor to serious and even life-threatening injuries.
An occupational therapist will evaluate the specific areas where processing sensory information is difficult for the child. These areas include: auditory processing, visual process, vestibular processing, touch processing, multisensory processing, oral sensory processing, sensory modulation, behavioral reactions to sensory input, and proprioception. Treatment will consist of educating parents on activities to incorporate daily within the home. In the clinic, children will participate in tasks that organize the sensory system and allow them to better process the surrounding environment.
Spina bifida is a birth defect where the neural tube (the brain, spinal cord, and the surrounding tissues) does not fully form or close while in utero. Approximately 1,500 children in the United States are born with spina bifida each year. Spina Bifida ranges from mild to severe. The three most common types are: spina bifida occulta, meningocele, myelomeningocele. Depending on the severity of the condition, children with spina bifida may have cognitive, social, and/or motor delays.
When your child is referred to the Occupational Therapy program at Cook Children's, our occupational therapy team will evaluate your child's range of motion, fine motor skills, coordination skills, strength, and self-care skills. In the clinic, children will participate in tasks to facilitate progression of developmental skills.
Beginning your child's therapy as early as possible can aid in helping them to progress along the developmental sequence. Learning to control the head and trunk can begin in the first year of life. If your child's condition will not yet allow for this control, our team will work with you on passive support. Ongoing treatment will include, but may not be limited to:
A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack." If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.
There are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This may happen in two ways:
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain. Some people have defects in the blood vessels of the brain that make this more likely.
Occupational Therapy will provide individualized treatment plans to address problem areas; decrease range of motion, muscle weakness, positioning and motor control, allowing the child to return to their daily routines at their highest level of function.
Equipment needs will be assessed on an ongoing basis during your child's episode of care. Occupational Therapy will work closely with the physicians and various other team members that may provide services to your child
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI's) are defined as an injury to the brain caused by an external force. TBI's can affect a child's behavior, memory, gait patterns, problem solving, motor skills, and more. This can impact a child's ability to actively take part in their environment.
Cook Children's occupational therapists address certain symptoms associated with TBI's. Our Occupation Therapy program for children, teens and young adults with TBIs often includes activities promoting fine motor skills, motor planning, memory, problem solving, and much more.
One of the key challenges with traumatic brain injury is identifying developmental issues and challenges in children with "mild" brain injuries because they often appear to be fine. Children from mild to severe brain injuries require careful evaluations to ensure that their injuries don't go untreated and result in learning, social and living challenges.
The occupational therapy team at Cook Children's has extensive experience in working with all levels of TBI challenges. When your child is referred to our Occupational Therapy program, our team of therapists will assess the level of your child's motor and cognitive skills, hearing, speech, feeding and ability to manage self-care activities.
The Occupational therapy team at Cook Children's offers a variety of programs designed to help your child be as independent as possible. Programs are designed to complement each other so your child may participate in one or more programs.
Our programs aren't just kid-friendly, they're kid only. That means we treat children from birth to young adulthood. We offer both inpatient and out patient care, often helping our patients transition from inpatient to outpatient.
There are many reasons a patient who is hospitalized may need occupational therapy. The Inpatient Occupational Therapy program here at Cook Children's Medical Center is designed to meet those needs and help improve overall growth, development and functional abilities of patients who are facing daily and long-term living challenges because of an illness, injury, disease or defect.
The goal of our therapists is to improve the skills they need to do everyday tasks at home, work, school and play. To do this, our pediatric therapists evaluate each child's needs, then work closely with the medical team and the family to create a plan that offers your child the best options for success.
We provide treatment services for newborn to young adult with many different diagnoses, including:
Without proper rehabilitation techniques to individualize the treatment for every client and family, these disorders can have lasting debilitating impairments on the client's physical, mental, and emotional state.
Our therapists have daily communication with the care team, including physicians, nurses, therapists, case managers and social workers to better achieve continuity of care while your child is at the Medical Center.
Your child's inpatient occupational therapy team will also work closely with you in the at-home needs of your child, including continuing care recommendations, to ease the transition from hospital to home. In many cases, this may mean that your child will require ongoing care through outpatient occupational therapy, as well as equipment from our Home Health team. Prior to your child's discharge from the Medical Center, we will help you with any referrals and treatments plans necessary to help your child continue on the path to mastering the skill they need.
When it comes to outpatient occupational therapy, the program at Cook Children's is nothing short of outstanding. If your child is in need of occupational therapy, you can trust that the care they receive is innovative, compassionate and most importantly—personalized. Every child receives a unique assessment of their current skills, an evaluation for their individual needs and goals, and treatment plan that truly optimizes their level of success.
OT Services typically include:
Each of our locations offers top-notch, certified therapists who use the latest techniques, technologies and research in occupational therapy to your child. And we make it easier for the whole family to get involved because we have multiple locations for easy access:
Cook Children's occupational therapy services provide several innovative programs such as:
Our occupational therapists work closely with physical and speech therapists to provide help improve a child's access to the environment. The occupational therapists role is to problem solve how the child may use the device.
Our team has extensive training and expertise in a wide variety of pediatric specialties, including:
Caitlin Smith, MOT, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist and has been with Cook Children’s since 2018. She loves being able to serve children and their families, helping patients work towards gaining more independence in their daily tasks, and she is passionate about the role of occupational therapy in improving the quality of life of patients and their families.
Courtney Atkins, joined Cook Children’s in the summer of 2011 as an occupational therapist at our outpatient facility. Courtney transferred to the inpatient acute care unit here in Fort Worth early 2012. She completed her Masters of Occupational Therapy at Texas Women’s University in 2008 and completed her first two and a half years at an inpatient adult neuro rehab in Arlington. She is certified in neuro developmental training and enjoys working with the complex neuro population. Since her time her at Cook Children’s, she has facilitated our current standing occupational therapy cardiac intensive care protocol and occupational therapy early mobilization protocol for our extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) team. She takes a great interest in family-centered care and promoting intra-professional education and relationships.
Courtney and her husband, Alex, currently live in North Richland Hills with their 2-year-old son with plans for a growing family in the near future. In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family and friends along with living an active healthy lifestyle. She enjoys shopping, her church family and beach vacations.
Denise Montes, OTR/L, received her Master of Occupational Therapy from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She is going into her fifth year of practice in the pediatric setting, mostly in acute care with some outpatient clinical experience. She has been with Cook Children’s since 2016 as an occupational therapist. She enjoys helping families and patient find comfort in caring for their children/gaining independence after often being in a state of uncertainty.
Jeffrey S. Armstrong, MS, OTR/L, is the occupational therapy clinical coordinator and has been with Cook Children’s since 2015. He has extensive pediatric experience and has always had a passion for working with children. One of the most rewarding parts of his role as Clinical Coordinator is mentoring clinicians; ultimately helping even more children and their families find enrichment through occupational therapy.
Jennifer M. Garza, OTR, MOT, is an Occupational Therapist who has been at Cook Children’s since 2019. Prior to joining the Cook Children’s rehab team, she has worked in a variety of pediatric settings, each fulfilling the very reason she chose this career path: To positively impact the quality of life for children and their families, through the use of meaningful occupations.
Laura Acrey, MOT, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist working at Cook Children’s since 2017. She has always had a passion for working with children, and prior to becoming an OT was an elementary school teacher. One of the most rewarding parts of her role is helping children learn, grow, and gain independence through Occupational Therapy.
Malette Washington, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist and has been with Cook Children's Health Care System since 2002. Working as a pediatric occupational therapist has been a passion of hers since graduating college. Her love for kids is always shown as she provides therapeutic services and family centered care to families.
Mary Mercer, OTR, is an occupational therapist and has been with Cook Children’s since 2001. She has extensive experience in treating pediatric clients with several subspecialty areas of interest and study including sensory integration and feeding.
Nicole Davault, OTR/L, MOT, is an occupational therapist that has worked inpatient at Cook Children's since 2012. She also worked at outpatient and inpatient clinics for Cook Children's from 2002-2006. Nicole has 17 years of experience in pediatric occupational therapy including school-based, outpatient and inpatient settings.
Currently, she focuses on acute care occupational therapy for patients with diagnoses in cardiac, neurological, orthopedic and global deconditioning from prolonged hospitalizations. Nicole enjoys helping her patients increase functional independence for activities of daily living skills and play in order for them to return home with family and friends.
Wes Young, MS, OTR/L, is an ocupational therapist who has been with Cook Children’s since 2017. He enjoys working with children to achieve independence, enabling them to thrive in their communities. He has a background in a variety of pediatric therapeutic settings, including year round camps for children with terminal and chronic illnesses. He values the family centered care that Cook Children’s embraces to enrich the lives of all children.
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Because we work with inpatients and outpatients across all kinds of ailments, disorders, injuries and mental and emotional challenges, collaboration is critical to each child's success. We work with every specialty and customize your child's therapy to meet his or her needs. We also work closely with your child's pediatrician and you to ensure that everyone on the care team is working toward the same goals. This unified team approach optimizes your child's ability to do the everyday things that make life a little simpler.
If your child has been recommended to us, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4063.