The Occupational Therapy Center
The OT Center has been providing services to the Pioneer Valley community since January of 2000. The OT Center offers a holistic, trauma-informed approach to occupational therapy that connects therapy with the settings and tasks encountered in daily life. We specialize in providing Sensory Integration evaluation and treatment for children, youth, and adults.
Caring and experienced therapists with special expertise
Our therapeutic space offers state-of-the-art equipment and a safe, playful environment with personalized treatment opportunities not always available in a hospital, school, or home setting. The Center’s main room resembles a gym that provides opportunities for a variety of movement experiences. Tactile materials and small manipulatives help address sensory and fine motor needs. A separate evaluation room provides quiet, focused space for an accurate and thorough assessment of specific needs.
Our holistic approach connects therapy with the settings and tasks encountered in daily life. Treatment plans are developed in close collaboration with home and school teams.
…a day does not go by when we watch our son engage in some activity that, prior to your working with him, would prove unthinkable.
— OT Center Parent
I learn so much from my clients and the different ways they experience this world. When I meet with families, I feel the dedication, creativity and strength of people who are embracing life, with all its hard things. It’s just inspiring.
— Noel Kesselheim, OTR/L
OT Center Therapy Can Address
- Gross Motor Development: Coordination, balance, motor planning, increased physical confidence, and safety awareness
- Fine Motor Development: Hand skills, dexterity, bilateral hand use, eye-hand coordination, and handwriting skill development
- Sensory Processing: Integrating responses to information perceived through touch, sound, movement, and other senses; specializing in addressing sensory registration and sensitivities.
- Play, Social, and Academic Skills: Engaging with people and the environment; organization, flexibility, and self-regulation
- Daily Living Skills: Self-help skills for everyday tasks, appropriate social and communications behaviors
- Individual treatment
- Evaluations – Sensory-motor and sensory processing
- Sensory Integration and Praxis Test
- Consultation to schools, daycare centers, families, and agencies
- Workshops and presentations for educators, parents, and healthcare professionals
- Auditory Integration Programs: Therapeutic Listening and Quick Shifts / Binaural Beats
Who Does the OTC Serve?
Our staff of licensed, trauma-informed occupational therapists have extensive experience evaluating and treating children and adults with various needs, from typical individuals with mild delays to those with specific disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, ADHD, and other issues. OTC services are available to families, schools, and other agencies. When working with schools and districts, treatment plans are developed in close collaboration with school teams.
Signals that may indicate a need for occupational therapy include:
- Delays in motor or communication skills and/or academic achievement
- Over or under responsiveness to sensory experiences such as touch, movement, sight, or sound
- Physical clumsiness
- Distractability and/or impulsiveness
- Social and/or emotional issues
- Difficulty interacting with others
- Repetitive or unusually intense behaviors
- Resistance to change in daily routines
- Poor self concept
Sensory Integration is described as the organization of the senses and how they work together to guide the way that we perceive and respond to our environment. Basic sensory inputs such as touch, sound, movement, and body position help us to plan and execute new actions based on past experiences and the sensations that accompany them. For most of us, this process develops naturally through our usual activities, but when the system does not develop as effectively as it should, the result may be difficulties in learning, motor development, social awareness, or behavior.
With a staff that has extensive training and experience in Sensory Integration theory evaluation and treatment, the OT Center has become a leader in recognizing and meeting the special needs of those with autism disorders and other developmental disabilities.
Noël Kesselheim, OTR/L
Noël Kesselheim, OTR/Lhas worked as a pediatric Occupational therapist since 1986. She is SIPT certified and trained in sensory integration theory and treatment. Noel has extensive experience working in public and private school settings with children and teens. She has provided therapy in Early Intervention programs and hospital settings as well as a private O.T. clinic specializing in sensory integration evaluation and treatment. She is currently the clinic coordinator for the Collaborative for Educational Service’s Occupational Therapy Center in Northampton, MA. Noel brings to her work a strong background in therapeutic movement and is trained as a yoga instructor. Ms. Kesselheim has developed and presented workshops for educators, parents and other specialists in the areas of sensory processing, classroom accommodations, fine motor skill development, programs for self regulation, and cooperative games/outdoor experience for children with special needs.
Position: Clinic Coordinator, OTR/L Registered Occupational Therapist, SIPT certified
Karen Fiegenbaum, OTR/L
Karen Fiegenbaum has been an occupational therapist for over 20 years. She has experience working with infants to young adults and their families. In her role as a therapist, she has collaborated with educational teams and with community child welfare and mental health programming. Her experience supporting families with multifaceted needs and their children started in Early Intervention. Before working at the Occupational Therapy Clinic, Karen worked as a school –based therapist in a wide variety of educational programs throughout Hampshire county. As a consultant with a community agency, Karen applied her knowledge of sensory processing, complex trauma, attachment and self-regulatory challenges in supporting families and at-risk youth.
Position: OTR/L Registered Occupational Therapist