Valley Journals June 2007

Valley Journals June 2007

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Children flourish in a loving, warm environment. Those with disabilities especially need the extra security and gentle touch that a good pediatric occupational therapist can offer. That’s why Susan Horn OTR/L feels that the Just For Kids clinic is the perfect place for children to receive quality services.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with children, ”she says. “It’s definitely my passion.” Susan’s patients include children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, head injuries, eating and swallowing disorders, or any condition that causes developmental and physical delays. She also sees kids who only need to improve their handwriting. Regardless of the diagnosis, Susan can provide a program that is exactly right for the child.

She’s been an occupational therapist since 1991 and has operated Just For Kids since she moved to Salt Lake City in 2005. Initially, Susan has the parents fill out a detailed questionnaire giving her background information about the child, their concerns and goals they want their child to achieve. A very thorough evaluation is performed incorporating goal setting and treatment planning. A detailed report is provided.

“It’s very comprehensive,” she says. “It’s reader friendly and easy for parents and other professionals to follow. The evaluation is also very individualized.”

Susan will work with a child improving fine and gross motor skills, daily living skills; teaching children ways to care for themselves, trunk and upper extremity strengthening, handwriting, social skills, and focusing attention.

She also helps her patients with sensory integration (the way their nervous systems processes information sent by the body), teaching them to respond appropriately to all kinds of situations. Instead of focusing on what the child can’t do, Susan’s positive outlook allows her to center on what a child can do despite his or her disability.

Although parents bring their children into Just For Kids for regular visits, following the home program helps the students progress toward their goals. Susan makes sure that caregivers are completely educated in the recommended exercises to do at home and how they can support their child’s progress. Susan will go out of her way to make sure a child’s teacher is aware of useful strategies for the classroom, even going into the classroom to meet with the teacher personally where needed.

Susan will never sacrifice quality for quantity. “I’m very thorough and offer very quality service,” she says. “I don’t have a huge caseload so I put a lot of time into each child. I also try to be supportive to the parents as well.”

The profession of occupational therapy is always making advances. Susan stays current on the latest techniques by taking classes and studying on a continual basis. She recently became a provider of Therapeutic Listening, a treatment modality that uses altered music to modulate the nervous system. She has also been recognized as a leader in her field, recently presenting to her peers at the Utah Occupational Therapy Association’s annual conference.

Susan believes in giving back to the community wherever she can by presenting programs to help educate parents and teachers on a variety of subjects. She recently provided training in fine motor skills to the teachers at the Jewish Community Center’s Early Childhood Center. In September Susan will present a Back Pack Safety Awareness booth at the Murray Health and Safety Fair, something she has offered for three years now.

SUMMER CLASSES: Susan offers integrated Social Skills Classes for children with and without disabilities. Some of her summer classes include “Making and Keeping Friends,” for ages 8-9 and 10-12, and “Everyday Etiquette,” for ages 6-7. They meet for eight weeks, one-and-a-half hour weekly sessions; each class is limited to eight students. Susan also teaches Handwriting Preparation Classes for children from preschool to first grade, utilizing the Handwriting Without Tears writing curriculum and working with her students on fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination through crafts and fun games; each writing class is limited to three
students.

Social Skills Classes begin on Tuesday, June 12. Handwriting Preparation Classes begin on
Thursday, June 14. “I try to make it fun,” Susan says. “The kids love to come. They don’t want to leave. I’m a terrific therapist. I love what I do.” Just For Kids is located in Murray near Wheeler Farm. You can register for classes and schedule your first appointment with Susan by calling 231-9207. For more information visit www.gocitykids.com/browse/attraction.jsp?id=120518.

-By Peri Kinder

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A Word From Our Clients...

Susan Horn is quite simply a wonderful therapist and we are so fortunate to have found her for our 8-year old, who has Sensory Processing Disorder and a host of other neurological and muscular challenges. 

Susan began by doing a terrifically thorough assessment, which hadn’t been done for three years. But this wasn’t simply a descriptive document. Susan used it to set clear and specific goals which have helped us see what kind of genuine progress our son has been making. 

To call Susan simply a therapist is too limiting a description: she’s a teacher, a playmate, a coach, a cheerleader and a creative artist. Susan is so compassionate and creates an atmosphere of delight for our boy. This isn’t to suggest that the work she’s doing with him is easy. Far from it, Susan is a tireless in her efforts and expects the same from our son. In addition to all the skills she’s helping our son develop, she has given him a stronger sense of his own most priceless of gifts: courage.

Whatever words of praise we can give, they can’t possibly match the excitement on our son’s face every day he gets to go to therapy with Susan. She is a treasure.

-John Plummer and Maia Guest