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Neurosuit

The NeuroSuit frames the body providing support and resistance simultaneously. It facilitates proper movement and provides additional weight bearing distributed strategically throughout the body.

NAPA’s Director of Intensive Therapy Services, Jess, is here to talk about the NeuroSuit.

Watch the video on the NAPA Facebook page here!

All About the NeuroSuit Pressure and Compression Vest for Kids and Toddlers

The NeuroSuit is a great therapeutic tool that we have been using at NAPA Center for many years. One thing I want to say right off the bat is that it is a therapeutic tool, not magic. However, we really like to impart the knowledge to our parents that the NeuroSuit can be very beneficial for increasing the overall benefits of your child’s pediatric therapy sessions. Now, let’s approach the questions we get the most: What is the NeuroSuit? Is it a pediatric compression vest? A weighted compression vest? How does the compression vest benefit toddlers and children? Is the NeuroSuit compression vest beneficial for autism or sensory processing disorders?

What is the NeuroSuit and What Does it Do?

In the simplest terms, the NeuroSuit does three things: it loads (pressure), it compresses, and it aligns. I’ll explain a little bit about what I mean.

1. It is a Pressure Vest

  • We can add up to forty pounds of pressure to the body using the NeuroSuit. Of course, for our smaller bodies, we don’t add that much pressure. We want to do that to really activate the anti-gravity muscles of the system, namely, the muscles that get you up off the ground to walk, stand, run, crawl, jump, etc.

2. It is a Compression Vest 

  • You can think of the NeuroSuit as a girdle of support; a compression garment or compression vest for kids. It’s really important to promote good body awareness to our systems because if you don’t know where your body is in relationship to the world, to other people, to other objects, you’re never going to be able to move it efficiently. The compression vest aspect of the NeuroSuit is very important and may be beneficial to children with autism or sensory processing disorders.

3. It Aligns

  • This is the one that is more intuitive to our families and our parents when they look at the suit. So, if you take a look at the little black bungies, those help to activate the underlying musculature and promote better posture and alignment. If your body is not in the right place to begin with, it doesn’t matter if you can turn on the muscles because it’s not going to do the right thing.

Is the NeuroSuit Beneficial for My Child or Loved One?

Is the NeuroSuit vest appropriate for my child or toddler?

Number one: If you are concerned about general posture and alignment for your toddler or child, that’s a win. NeuroSuit would be great for that kid.

Number two: The NeuroSuit may benefit children with general strength impairments. NeuroSuit is really good for activating muscles of the glutes, the lower extremities, and the back.

Number three: If you just really want to add an extra challenge and mix up the challenge of your general therapeutic activities, the NeuroSuit can be a really awesome addition to your therapeutic program.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEUROSUIT

About NAPA Center

NAPA Center is a world-renowned pediatric therapy clinic, offering pediatric therapy for children of all ages in traditional or intensive settings. With six clinic locations and intensive therapy pop-up sessions worldwide, NAPA is committed to helping children lead their happiest, healthiest lives. At NAPA, we take an individualized approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

Happy National Occupational Therapy Month everyone! Today I am going to take you along a ride in the day of the life of a pediatric occupational therapist! Hope that you are all being safe, washing your hands, and connecting with loved ones at a distance. While things may look a bit different right now at what typically is our very busy clinic, I am tremendously thankful to have a bit of normalcy during these unprecedented times by being able to see a couple of the families I work with through telehealth. I will talk a little bit more about that later, but in the meantime, I will paint a picture of what a typical day usually looks like at the NAPA Center.

What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

For those of you that may be encountering our blog for the first time, you may be asking yourself, what exactly is occupational therapy? While each occupational therapist’s definition may be different, based off of my various clinical experiences across different settings, I like to define occupational therapy as this:

Occupational therapy is helping an individual with the underlying skills that are essential to help them engage in activities to support independence, development, and personal meaning, defined as occupation.

Furthermore, what is defined as occupational therapy can vary from setting to setting. What I do as a pediatric occupational therapist may look different from what an occupational therapist might do in a skilled nursing facility, an oncology hospital, an outpatient mental health clinic, etc. Thus, what better way to hone-in on the what is pediatric occupational therapy than showing you what a day in the life looks like? 

A Day in the Life of a Pediatric Occupational Therapist

One of the coolest things about my profession is that I get to work with kids with a wide spectrum of abilities. For the sake of patient privacy, I will make up some pseudo names in reference to my patients.

The first child I see in the morning, who I will refer to as Xavier, is a 2 year old that I have been seeing ever since he was 11 months.

He was born prematurely and has hemiplegic cerebral palsy, meaning that he has difficulty with the motor functioning and muscular strength on the left side of his body, and he is delayed on his motor milestones. Thus, my responsibility is to help this little dude develop the underlying skills that are needed to help him accomplish the developmental milestones that are essential for his age.

For Xavier, we are working on his ability to have more functional grasping of his left hand, his ability to have reciprocal movements in coordinating his left and right side, his ability to use his left hand for self-help skills, and his ability to work on coordinating his postural control muscles (the core muscles of his abdomen and back responsible for balance) to support his functional mobility. So, what might that look like? Well I mean, it’s pediatrics so of course EVERYTHING is in the context of play! Thus, I may set up a strategically constructed obstacle course that focuses on Xavier being able to execute appropriate motor milestones, such as working from his tummy to standing with anterior support, cruising to his left, squatting down to grasp toys with his left, and climbing slide ladders using both sides of his body reciprocally.

Next, I see Delilah.

Delilah is an adorable 2 year old girl who is enrolled in our NAPA Kidz Academy. While she does not have a diagnosis, there are concerns regarding her age equivalency with her fine motor, gross motor, and self-help adaptive skills, so my responsibility is to get Delilah up to speed. Delilah tends to frequently fall accidentally because she has challenges with her postural control muscles, thus I set up an obstacle course with various dynamic (unstable surfaces) and help her figure out how to motor plan and safely traverse these obstacles. Dynamic is key, since it provides an opportunity for her to engage her core to bring her center of gravity within her base of support. Delilah demonstrates difficulties with sensory processing, especially with washing her hands. Thus, we do fun tactile play with shaving cream to help give her “My Little Pony” dolls a shaving cream bath, as a means to develop a more positive association with wet tactile mediums. Lastly, we finish by making a bracelet together using a stiff piece of twine and beads, with a focus on coordinating both sides of her body and using her fine motor precision skills to skillfully thread the bead onto the twine.

I then have my intensive session. 

Intensive sessions are a bit different from traditional sessions in that with intensives, I have an opportunity to see a child and work with their family every day for 3 consecutive weeks. The child may receive anywhere from a 1-4 hour block combination of speech, physical, and occupational therapy, based on what is most needed to support that child’s development.

For this intensive, I get to spend an hour a day working with Jaden, a 5 year old boy diagnosed with Lissencephaly. Lissencephaly is a rare brain disorder where the brain appears to be smooth, rather than having grooves and ridges. The lack of brain folds develops difficulties with accomplishing age appropriate motor milestones, challenges with strength and coordination, as well as low body tone.

For intensives, the team formulates a plan of care to work on consistently executing 6-7 exercises over the course of a full hour targeting specific musculature and providing opportunities to master motor sequences. In addition, Jaden is wearing a NeuroSuit, which is designed to provide additional support to the body, but also provides increased resistance. Tension is strategically structured on the suit by through bungees set up by the therapist to facilitate proper movement and alignment, in addition to proving more feedback for the child to motor plan. Jaden’s activities are executed in succession, focusing on improving his motor planning skills, weight bearing, and trunk rotation. My handling technique is everything; I strategically provide enough support and stability for Jaden to feel secure and confident in being able to target muscles that are challenging for him. My support decreases as necessary as weeks pass, to continue to provide the just right challenge for Jaden to maximize his effort. Most of all, while we work hard, we have fun and it’s a great journey to experience collectively with the family.

The rest of my day varies.

I get to see more kids with varying degrees of abilities with different challenges, such as a little boy who is trying to expand his feeding repertoire, a young man with autism who is improving his sensory processing as it relates to function, a school aged girl who is trying to improve her attention and handwriting, and a little girl with global hypotonia who is trying to learning to sit upright while turning the page of a book. 

At the end of the day, I am exhausted.

However, I am also fulfilled. People ask me what I love about my job the most, and for me it is that I have the opportunity to help these kids self-actualize and become the best versions of themselves, all while I get to be a big kid playing with them therapeutically in the process. While no journey is truly linear, I can also say this:

There is no parallel for the joy that happens with the victories that come along the way.

Whether it be a parent witnessing their child being able to walk for the first time, a parent connecting with their child reciprocally because they now understand their unique sensory profile, or a child raising their arms in triumphant victory because they finished a challenging obstacle course in true America Ninja Warrior style. It is because of these reasons and more, that NAPA truly is a magical place.

Best,
Jonathan

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About the Author

Jonathan always knew that his life purpose was to help people. An avid surfer, Jonathan discovered occupational therapy through the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation (a therapy organization that surfs with at-risk youth and Veterans who have PTSD using an occupational therapy framework.)  To be able to do something he loves to do as a means to help people solidified his career path. Jonathan is passionate about pediatric mental health, family centered practice, and learning more about innovative evidence-based therapies. Jonathan refers to himself as an “oversized child” and loves the process of families working together to maximize a child’s full potential. In his free time, Jonathan plays basketball and music, dances, travels, watches his teams play, and hangs out with his friends and family (most especially his dog!)

Looking for more OT fun? Check out Jonathan’s video sharing hand-eye coordination activities!

About NAPA Center

At NAPA Center, we take an individualized approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

Pediatric Physical Therapy at NAPA Center

NAPA Center is a world-renowned pediatric physical therapy clinic, offering intensive sessions worldwide in addition to traditional weekly therapy at our four US clinics (Los Angeles, Boston, Austin, & Denver) and our two Australian clinics (Sydney & Melbourne). This blog discusses the importance of pediatric physical therapy. To learn more about pediatric PT at NAPA, visit our program page here.

The Importance of Physical Therapy for Kids

There are considerable advantages when undergoing pediatric physical therapy that may not only benefit a child physically, but mentally too.

Physical therapy helps children learn to successfully and independently perform gross motor skills and functional mobility skills.

As a child begins to successfully develop these skills, it creates a greater form of independence that helps contribute to achieving a higher sense of self-esteem. Though physical therapy for children provides a safer form of development and strengthening, it is also capable of being an essential preventative measure.

Physical therapy also helps young athletes in preventing injury by addressing any muscle imbalance or weakness as well as help them to return to play after injury. A variety of treatment interventions are used including: developmental activities, therapeutic exercise, balance and coordination activities, adaptive play activities, mobility training, safety and prevention programs, and activities to promote overall wellness.

Benefits of Pediatric Physical Therapy

You are probably asking yourself, what are the main benefits that come with pediatric physical therapy? We have listed below the essentials involved in our services, the benefits that come with it and the experience your child will get.

Physical therapy rehabilitation is extremely important after an injury and there is no question that those who go through physical therapy end up in much better shape in the long run and return to full activity much sooner. Oftentimes, it’s crucial for individuals who have undergone a surgery or suffered an injury to receive rehabilitative physical therapy services to regain the level of activity they had in the past. Because of this, it is very important to take any type of physical therapy with the utmost of importance.

What Can Physical Therapy Help My Child Improve On?

NAPA pediatric physical therapists will work closely with you to identify your child’s goals. Common physical therapy goals for children include:

  • Range of Motion – how far a joint can bend or straighten
  • Strength – strength against gravity
  • Balance – ability to maintain balance (tilting and righting responses) and to keep oneself from falling (protective responses)
  • Reflexes – automatic responses seen particularly in infants (palmar grasp, positive support, asymmetrical tonic neck reflex [ATNR] and labyrinthine)
  • Posture – alignment of the body in various positions
  • Tone – natural resistance in a muscle (increased tone is stiffness and decreased tone is floppiness)

What’s Included in NAPA Pediatric Physical Therapy Services?

  • Customized plan based on your child’s unique needs and goals (NAPA offers pediatric PT in both traditional and intensive settings)
  • Stretching and strengthening activities and exercises to increase a child’s range and quality of movement
  • Establishing or reshaping movement patterns to follow normal development
  • Improving balance and equilibrium skills
  • Improving postural control
  • Gait training (learning how to walk)
  • Evaluating the need for adaptive equipment and orthopedic devices

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Physical Therapy?

Your child may benefit from physical therapy if:

  • They are not meeting the expected developmental milestones during the first year of life (ie. rolling, sitting, standing, walking).
  • They have a strong preference for turning their head to one side or using one side of their body.
  • They walk up on the balls of their feet or walk in an atypical/awkward manner.
  • They have difficulty keeping up with their peers during play.
  • They are not able to perform the same gross motor tasks (ie. hopping, jumping, skipping) as their peers.
  • They frequently trip and fall when walking.
  • They complain of pain when performing gross motor tasks.
  • They were injured and are not able to perform at their prior level of function.

What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?

Pediatric physical therapy is essentially various workouts and exercises that focus on certain muscles and movements, which are aimed at strengthening muscles and tendons. Physical therapy is very similar to going to the gym and working with a personal trainer, although the physical therapists that your child will work with are specifically trained and experienced in pediatric diagnoses and injuries. It is extremely important for children to follow their physical therapy routine as closely as they can, due to the fact that they are growing while they are likely going through the process of recovery. The fact that they are growing means that it is even more important to address any concerns within a timely manner.

What Pediatric Physical Therapy Methods are Used at NAPA?

At NAPA Center, we provide the best pediatric physical therapy techniques and tools from around the world, including CME, SpiderCage, NeuroSuit, Redcord, and Trexo Robotics. We take an individualized approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike and we offer multidisciplinary treatments integrating physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapy. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

Our Pediatric Physical Therapist-Approved Activities to Try at Home:

NAPA Center Pediatric Physical Therapy US Clinics

  • Los Angeles – 11840 La Cienega Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250
  • Boston – 210 Bear Hill Rd Suite 401, Waltham, MA 02451
  • Austin – 7801 N Lamar Blvd Suite E216, Austin, TX 78752
  • Denver – Clinic Opening October 18th, 2021

Australia Clinics:

  • Sydney – Ground Floor, 2 Lincoln St, Lane Cove West NSW 2066, Australia
  • Melbourne – Level 1, 351 Burwood Highway, Forest Hill VIC 3131 (Opening September 2021)

contact us

It’s Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month! 

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness month, which gives us the opportunity to both celebrate and educate others about cerebral palsy (CP). We want to answer your questions about cerebral palsy because the more you know, the more you are able to inform others and increase awareness! Here are the answers to the top 5 questions I am asked about cerebral palsy: 

1. What is Cerebral Palsy? 

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological condition that affects body movement. “Cerebral” refers to the brain and “palsy” refers to the impairment of motor function.  

2. What causes Cerebral Palsy? 

A lot of people want to know if cerebral palsy is genetic or hereditary. Cerebral palsy is not a hereditary condition and genetics do not directly cause cerebral palsy, but both can be factors that increase the likelihood of cerebral palsy occurring.  

Cerebral palsy is a result of abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain before, during or after birth.  To learn more about genetic and hereditary influences and common causes of cerebral palsy, check out cerebralpalsy.org and the CDC

3. What are some challenges someone with cerebral palsy will face? 

The brain helps control our motor functions and an injury to the brain can cause weakness, lack of coordination and abnormal muscle tone. Someone with cerebral palsy might have difficulty with their balance and coordination, affecting their ability to navigate their environment and function independently in daily tasks. Children with cerebral palsy frequently have developmental delays and are slow in reaching milestones such as rolling, sitting, crawling and walking. 

4. What are the treatment options for cerebral palsy? 

Cerebral palsy differs in type and severity, which means it can present differently from one person to another.  It is important to develop an individualized plan to work on the specific challenges that are limiting function and quality of life for each person.  

Occupational therapy may focus on improving upper body function, posture and coordination to participate in day-to-day activities such as dressing and eating. Physical therapy might focus on increasing balance and walking with adaptive devices and orthotics. Speech and language pathology can address different ways of communicating and swallowing impairments.  

There are also a variety of new treatment modalities, surgeries and medications available to better meet each child’s needs. At the Neurological and Physical Abilitation Center (NAPA), we use intensive therapy and new treatment approaches such as robotic gait training, NeuroSuit, body weight support systems and Cuevas Medek Exercise to enhance our children’s progress in meeting their goals. If you are currently considering different treatment options for your child, consider joining this NAPA parent group to connect with other parents of children with disabilities and hear more about their experiences. 

5. What can I do to spread awareness during CP awareness month? 

Share what you have learned with others, including these additional cerebral palsy awareness facts and statistics: 

  • Cerebral palsy is one of the most common childhood disorders and the most common motor disability in childhood 
  • Globally over 17 million people have cerebral palsy 
  • Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disability; it is not progressive but may look different over time 
  • Children with cerebral palsy are likely to have other impairments in addition to motor disability 
  • The lifetime care costs of a child with cerebral palsy exceeds $1 million 

To learn more about living with cerebral palsy, read Cody’s story. To access new research check out the cerebral palsy research network

Additional NAPA Resources:

 

References: 

About the Author

Allyson Bates is an occupational therapist that works with children with cerebral palsy and other diagnoses to promote independence and enjoyment in meaningful daily activities. She has worked at the Neurological and Physical Abilitation Center (NAPA) for over three years and is passionate about sharing knowledge and research to increase awareness about the kids and families she works with.  

About NAPA Center

At NAPA Center, we take an individualized approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

Cerebral Palsy Therapy Treatment at World-Renowned NAPA Center

Cerebral palsy is a disability that impairs a person’s motor skills, movement, and muscle tone. While there is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, there are a number of therapy and other treatments that can improve the lives of adults or children with cerebral palsy. At NAPA, we provide a diverse range of therapies to children, including cerebral palsy occupational therapy, CP physical therapy, cerebral palsy speech therapy, and feeding therapy. If your child or loved one needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more. 

Welcome to the NAPA Family

NAPA Center was founded by Lynette LaScala in 2008, after spending two decades traveling around the world in search of the best pediatric therapy for her son, Cody, who has cerebral palsy. Lynette made it her life’s mission to help him reach his full potential. Her journeys around the world inspired her to make the best therapy for cerebral palsy accessible to all families in need by providing all the most innovative tools and techniques under one roof, such as CME, SpiderCage, NeuroSuit, RedCord, and TrexoRobotics. On this page, we provide a brief overview of cerebral palsy speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and alternative therapy options.

1. CP Physical Therapy

Physical therapy treatment for cerebral palsy is a beneficial approach to challenge the child and help them achieve new developmental milestones. Physical therapy might focus on increasing balance and walking with adaptive devices and orthotics. It is recommended that you begin your child’s physical therapy as soon as possible to prevent any further complications. Physical therapy can help your child control their movements better, with improved balance. It can also build up their muscle and help them maintain their muscle tone. Furthermore, physical therapists will devise a special exercise program based on your child’s specific needs.

Many physical therapists will also use orthotics, which are devices used to train your child’s major muscle groups. These devices can include splints, braces, or casts to support your child’s movement and encourage proper growth and improvement.  

2. Cerebral Palsy Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy may focus on improving upper body function, posture and coordination to participate in day-to-day activities. With cerebral palsy, everyday tasks such as brushing teeth, writing, using scissors, and getting dressed can become very difficult. An occupational therapist can assist your child by evaluating your child’s fine motor skills and developing a specific cerebral palsy treatment plan. The treatment will usually focus on “positioning, reaching, grasping, and releasing.” This is all in an effort to improve your child’s daily tasks both at home and at school. Additionally, NAPA occupational therapists can implement sensory integration therapy for cerebral palsy if needed.

3. Speech Therapy

Cerebral palsy can affect parts of the brain and muscles in a child’s mouth that permit speech. Thus, many children with this disability have trouble speaking. Speech therapy can address different ways of communicating and swallowing impairments. The role of the speech therapist is to gradually improve your child’s ability to form words and speak clearly. If speech isn’t possible, they can teach your child different means of communication, like sign language. Moreover, children with cerebral palsy may have the tendency to drool or face difficulty when trying to eat. Speech therapy can help your child gain control over these muscles to slowly eliminate these issues. Learn more: Cerebral Palsy Speech Therapy: What’s All the Talk About?

Alternative Therapies for Cerebral Palsy

There are various types of therapy for cerebral palsy. At NAPA, our therapists travel the world to find the best and most innovative traditional and alternative therapies for cerebral palsy. Below, we have listed additional CP therapy resources available in the NAPA blog:

To learn more about oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy, click here to read about hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Additional Treatment Options for Cerebral Palsy

Medication

Doctors may prescribe various forms of medication to patients with cerebral palsy who are experiencing conditions like muscle spasms. The medication will relax the child’s muscles and allow movement to become easier and more controlled. Other medications can treat secondary conditions caused by cerebral palsy, such as seizures and acid reflux.

Surgery

Sometimes, surgery is the best option to improve your child’s condition. This is most commonly prescribed for patients with spastic cerebral palsy because it can correct areas with increased muscle tone. One such procedure is getting muscles or tendons lengthened. Doing so allows for less restricted movement.

Cerebral Palsy Exercises and Activities

About NAPA Center

NAPA Center is a world-renowned pediatric therapy clinic, offering pediatric therapy for children of all ages in traditional or intensive settings. With six clinic locations and intensive therapy pop-up sessions worldwide, NAPA is committed to helping children with cerebral palsy lead their happiest, healthiest lives. We offer traditional weekly therapy at our six clinic locations and we also specialize in intensive pediatric therapy with events hosted worldwide. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to schedule a free phone screening.

About us

NAPA Center is one of the world’s leading pediatric neurological rehabilitation clinics. We are dedicated to delivering excellent, innovative, and effective multi-disciplinary therapy services to children with a variety of neurological and developmental needs.

About the role

Due to high demand, we are now looking to expand by hiring another Pediatric Occupational Therapist and Pediatric Physiotherapist to join our team, based in Lane Cover.

Apply Now

 

Why should you join us?

  • Highly competitive industry pay rates – We hire the best therapists and enjoy rewarding our staff for their work
  • Treat children from around the world in a top pediatric therapy practice – Our patients come from all around Australia and internationally
  • International travel opportunities – The initial training program will be hosted in Los Angeles
  • Great career ladder opportunities – Grow with us as we continue to grow. We always prefer to promote from within
  • Excellent teamwork and mentoring – You will be joining an experienced team of multi disciplinary therapists
  • Ongoing professional development, training & education opportunities – We have a genuine focus on your ongoing development and will support you with both internal and external training
  • Full operational support so you can focus on delivering top-notch therapy
  • Tailored programs for each child – Our programs are individually tailored to incorporate each child’s specific needs.

Deliver world class treatment

NAPA Center offers hourly and intensive (three-week) programs utilizing therapy methods from around the world, and has a proven track-record of helping children achieve and even surpassing their physical goals.

We have a strong framework in multi-disciplinary rehabilitation and Early Intervention, diverse techniques of traditional and non-traditional therapies including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, developmental feeding services, NeuroSuit Therapy, CME/Medek therapy, and SpiderCage therapy, all under one roof.

Position requirements:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) or equivalent or Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy)
    or equivalent
  • Strong clinical experience, minimum of 2+ years experience in pediatrics required, especially with the 0-8 populations
  • Current registration by AHPRA
  • Experience working with children with complex neurological and physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy preferred
  • Sound clinical reasoning for planning and implementing individual therapy sessions
  • Ability to travel for periods of time for training/treating may be required
  • WWCC, police check will be required and First Aid certification completed if not already

How to apply + enquiries

Please send your resume and CV to careers@napacenter.org.
For more information on NAPA Center, you can check out our website at https://www.napacenter.org/or phone 888-711 NAPA (6272)

Apply Now

Is your child a severely picky eater? Do they gag, tantrum, or refuse to eat during meal times? Do they have difficulty swallowing, choke when eating, or get pneumonia often? Has mealtime become a battle in your home?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may benefit from feeding therapy with a trained occupational or speech therapist. While there may be many reasons for feeding difficulties including sensory processing deficits associated with diagnoses such as Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder, or motor deficits associated with neurological diagnoses such as Cerebral Palsy or Stroke, a feeding therapist can help ease stressful mealtimes.  

How does feeding therapy work?

Feeding Therapy, Defined

To answer the question, “how does feeding therapy work?” we should begin with a simple definition. Feeding therapy,  in its simplest form, is when a trained occupational or speech therapist helps teach a child how to eat or eat better.  Feeding therapy typically occurs once or twice a week for 1 hour each time, and at NAPA within its intensive model of 1 hour per day, 5 days per week, for 3 weeks.  Dependent on your child’s underlying issues, whether they be sensory, motor, or a combination of both, your therapist will devise a sensory motor approach for working on addressing the underlying barriers to your child’s ability to eat an age-appropriate meal.

Where to Start

If mealtime is a struggle and you believe your child needs feeding therapy, it is best to start by consulting your pediatrician. They will refer you to their recommended feeding therapists in your area, pending they deem it necessary.

Evaluation

A feeding evaluation will comprise of a review of the child’s complete feeding history, parental report on eating experience, an observation of the child eating a “typical for him” meal, and occasionally, a meal journal detailing the last three days of meals your child has had. Your therapists may also request a copy of your child’s most recent swallow study if he or she has a history of aspiration/dysphasia. Using this information, your therapist will use their clinical judgment to determine the cause of the feeding difficulties, which may include sensory issues such as hypersensitivity to texture or rigidity with food preferences, or motor issues that impact the ability to chew or swallow.

Treatment

Feeding therapy treatment can take place at a therapy center, nutritionist office, hospital, or doctor’s office. The approach to treatment will vary based on the person administering the treatment, and your child’s specific condition.

There are many different approaches to feeding therapy including sensory, motor, and behavioral models—finding a good fit for your child is imperative.  Find information on a few popular approaches below; your therapist may be trained in one or all of the below approaches. Whichever method your therapist utilizes, it is important to note that a feeding therapist should never force food into your child’s mouth without their consent.  

The “Get Permission” Approach

The “Get Permission” approach outlines a treatment method based on the principles of healthy, trusting feeding relationships. Oral motor skills and mealtime treatment is most successful when the adults set goals and follow the child’s pace. It focuses on reading the child’s cues and moving forward as the child “gives permission. To start, your child may be instructed to simply look at the food. Over time, they will gradually be introduced to the next steps: smelling it, touching it, licking it, tasting it, and then finally eating it.

Beckman Oral Motor Approach

The focus of the Beckman Oral Motor protocol is to help individuals with oral motor barriers to eating to increase functional response to pressure and movement, range, strength, variety, and control of movement for the lips, cheeks, jaw, and tongue to support feeding.

Behavioral Approach

In a behavioral approach, a reward system may be implemented.  For example, whenever a child takes a bite from a new type of food, the therapist will reward them with a sticker. Once they eat the whole piece of food, they may be given a bigger reward, such as a small toy. Often times, if a child is willing to try a new food once, they will be more accommodating and require less reinforcement to try the same food in the future.   

About NAPA Center

At NAPA Center, we offer both intensive feeding therapy and relationship-based developmental feeding therapy to address feeding issues. We have multiple clinics in the US and Australia. Our occupational and speech therapists take a comprehensive approach targeting muscular coordination, sensory processes, and social experiences associated with eating. We also offer VitalStim therapy for the treatment of dysphasia and dysphagia (swallowing difficulties). We take an individualized approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. If your baby, toddler, or child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s feeding therapy goals. If you’re interested in learning more about pediatric feeding therapy at NAPA Center, send us a contact form and our team will be in touch shortly!

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Additional NAPA Resources:

NAPA US Feeding Clinic Locations

  • Los Angeles: 11840 La Cienega Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250
  • Boston: 210 Bear Hill Rd Suite 401, Waltham, MA 02451
  • Austin: 7801 N Lamar Blvd Suite E216, Austin, TX 78752
  • Denver: Clinic opening October 18th, 2021

Emily graduated from Western University of Health Sciences with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Since then, she has been working at NAPA Center, Los Angeles where she has had the opportunity to work with children and their families from across the world and gain extensive experience with diagnoses from Developmental Delay, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Kleefstra Syndrome, CDG, Seizure Disorders, and many more neurological, chromosomal, and genetic disorders. She is trained in Neurosuit, Medek, Universal Exercise Unit, Kinesiotaping, Theratogs, Trexo, NDT, and has seen great benefits from using whole body vibration (Galileo training) with her patients.

Emily is no stranger to cross country moves, she moved from Minnesota to California for her undergraduate work. While she enjoyed her time at the beach for 12 years, she is excited to get back to the lake life in Austin, TX just like she grew up with in Minnesota, “the land of 10,000 lakes”!

NAPA Center takes an intensive approach to pediatric physical therapy using the NeuroSuit and Multifunctional Therapy Units.

We are here to help. Reach out anytime.

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