Helping Hands: Occupational Therapy for Children

KINGSTON -- Occupational therapy is something you may not associate with children, but many kids can benefit from it.

We met one little guy who is getting stronger every day thanks to his occupational therapist in Luzerne County.

When 5-year-old Lincoln isn't flying on a balance ball, he's playing his favorite sport.

"Soccer," Lincoln said. "I just played soccer a day ago."

Lincoln's a good runner, does a lot of things well, but needs some help with his fine-motor skills, such as gripping a pencil and drawing.

His mom Christine Brunn explains when Lincoln was just 5 months old, a rare but treatable illness set him back developmentally. Whatever he had learned in those five months, he had to relearn, and he's needed various forms of therapy since.

"Just because he had to start over, noticing developmental delays with balance, coordination," Brunn explained.

He's getting extra help from Briget Rischawy, an occupational therapist who specializes in children, at her office on Pierce Street in Kingston. It's called Helping Hands of Wyoming Valley.

Briget says people often don't associate occupational therapy with children.

A kid's occupation, she points out, is whatever they do in a day, be it school, a sport, or an activity they love. She sees children with issues ranging from injuries to neurological disorders.

"If they have trouble in a school setting, with their handwriting, with zippering their jackets, with stacking blocks in a preschool setting -- those are the kind of things we can help with."

Lincoln is a student in preschool this year and, through occupational therapy, he's now making strides like his mom hasn't seen before.

"Amazing!" Brunn exclaimed. "I tell Briget all the time how grateful I am for this service."

Have a discussion with your child's pediatrician if you notice any kind of delay. They can help decide if an occupational therapist, or any other kind of therapist, could help.

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