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Pediatric Occupational Therapy: A Work of Heart

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Lauren Papania is a pediatric occupational therapist at the Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development who works with patients as young as a couple of weeks old all the way to teenagers.

Occupational therapists help people develop, recover, improve and maintain skills needed for daily living and working. Lauren explained, “The patient I saw today, Alessandro, he has some trouble getting dressed in the morning. A lot of times he has some difficulty with the orientation of his clothing. His shirt is backwards, or his socks are backwards, or his shoes are put on the wrong feet.” In her role Lauren helps children like Allesandro accomplish everyday tasks such as successfully dressing himself. Lauren also works with Allesandro, and children like him, on fine motor skills to help him better participate in school.

Lauren said, “I’ve been working with Allesandra for a couple of months now so we have built that really good relationship where I can give and take with him. He understands me and cooperates with me.”

The Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development is dedicated to improving the lives of children and adolescents with developmental disorders through comprehensive interdisciplinary team evaluations, integrated treatment protocols, high quality evidence-based patient care, direction of special education services, and professional education and research. Lauren and the team at the Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development advocate for a collaborative approach with parents to reinforce behaviors and implements skills both in therapy and at home.

“It is a long journey, but those very small tiny wins are the most rewarding. I love to see their faces, especially when they run to mom after our sessions. It lights up my heart,” said Lauren. “Saying, ‘Mom! Look what I did today! Look who I drew this for!’ and so that’s probably the most rewarding part of my job and what I do.”

Learn more about the Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development

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