While in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU), your baby may receive occupational therapy from a pediatric occupational therapist (OT).
Pediatric OTs who work in the N/IICU have been specially trained to help your baby participate in his “occupations”, which are bonding with a caregiver, receiving his care (such as diaper changes), and exploring his environment and play. OTs will help you bond with your baby and help develop skills that will lay the groundwork for achieving future developmental milestones.
Pediatric OTs will let your child take the lead as they progress through his or her OT program. Their priority is to teach you as the parent so you can help your baby be comfortable and support his or her development.
Some of the things OTs can teach you how to do include:
An OT has a college degree in occupational therapy, has passed supervised internships, a national certification examination and state licensure requirements.
An OT in the N/IICU has many years of experience working with babies and children. Some may have specialty certifications to perform assessments, such as the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scales, and all are certified infant massage instructors.
OTs apply research and proven techniques with the goal of helping each child to move and participate as best he or she can. OTs keep current on the latest learning to provide the best care for your child.
For more information, see occupational therapy.
This is different for each baby. OTs evaluate your baby, determine his current needs and create a plan to best meet those needs.
Your OT will ask you about the best way to update you about your child’s progress when you are not at the hospital and cannot participate in sessions. Communication may be by phone, email, a journal or through your child’s nurse.
Your OT will help to create a plan to continue services — as needed — once your child leaves the hospital.
As a partner on your child’s healthcare team, feel free to contact Janette Milano, OTR/L, at 215-287-1630 or email her at Milano@email.chop.edu.
Updated April 2012