Janice Goodfellow studied Occupational Therapy at McGill University and has been a member of the Ordre des Ergothérapeutes du Québec and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists since 1993. She loves working with children, initially working with Miriam Home Services and then offering her services in private practice in clinical settings as well as in home, daycare and school settings. Her areas of practice are mostly in mental health which includes working with children who have a developmental delay, developmental coordination disorder (dyspraxia), sensory processing or sensory modulation disorder, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, feeding difficulties, difficulties with handwriting, and fine and gross motor coordination difficulties. Janice uses various approaches in therapy, such as sensory integration, the CO-OP approach, sensory motor-stimulation, motor learning approaches (such as ABC boum for handwriting), neurodevelopmental treatment, and reflex integration therapy using Rhythmic Movement Training. Janice works with children from birth to 18 years and is fluent in English and French.
For those less familiar with this field, occupational therapy is a rehabilitation science, similar to physiotherapy, which is fascinating in its focus on everyday activities as a means to assess and to treat individuals who are experiencing challenges due to illness, injury or developmental difficulties. Occupational therapists (OTs), who are trained in a professional program at the university level, which includes anatomy, physiology other medical sciences and applied therapeutic techniques, can work with people of all ages, from birth to death and in many different fields of mental health and physical medicine.
Although occupational therapists don’t diagnose the disorders mentioned above, standardized assessments which they use are instrumental in obtaining a diagnosis from the appropriate professional. OTs also observe performance during everyday activities (hygiene, dressing, household tasks, playing, writing, physical education and leisure activities, school activities) in order to obtain a holistic and detailed view of the client. Reading the assessment report can help other professionals, such as pediatricians and neuropsychologists, in making a diagnosis. The information found through the OT assessment also helps to determine which treatment goals to prioritize during intervention with the client. A consultation/information session is also possible to discuss a child’s difficulties and to receive recommendations.
Through play and stimulating activities, a typical treatment session will work on prerequisites to functional skills such as strength, balance, coordination, manual dexterity, sensory issues, integration of primitive reflexes, as well as the functional skills themselves (crawling, climbing, balancing, cycling, coloring, cutting, writing, school organization, eating or any activity which is significant to the client and his/her family). Janice also gives homes programs to parents who would like to make progress between follow-up appointments.
The combination of using medical knowledge and training, assessing each client, interacting with the client and their families and providing the tools and techniques in order to help each child to reach his/her full potential is truly rewarding and exciting work.