Programs that identify infants, toddlers and in some cases, preschoolers who show evidence of or are at risk for lags in physical development, cognitive development, language and speech development, psychosocial development or self-help skills, and provide or coordinate the delivery of an enrichment program in order to minimize the potential for a developmental delay and to meet their current developmental needs. The program may include early identification activities (child find); a developmental evaluation; a review of family concerns, priorities and resources; meetings with the family to develop an individualized family service plan; service coordination to ensure that the individual and his or her family receive needed services which may include but are not limited to physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, health/medical services, nursing services, nutrition services, psychological services including specialized play groups or therapy sessions, counselling, speech and language assistance, special instructional services, transportation, and parenting skills development; and ongoing evaluation of the child's progress and his or her changing enrichment needs. Included are "birth to three" programs and federal, provincial or local programs that address the needs of slightly older children or children not otherwise eligible for "birth to three" programs.
Programs that evaluate the task performance skills of individuals who may be having difficulty engaging in self-care, work, play or leisure time activities and help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Occupational therapy services typically include an individualized evaluation, during which the individual/family and occupational therapist agree on the person's goals; customized intervention to improve the person's ability to perform daily activities and reach their goals; and an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Programs that help people who are blind or who have visual impairments develop the fundamental spatial concepts and skills that are necessary for maximum mobility and independent living. Instruction focuses on moving safely and purposefully in the school, home or community environment; and usually includes procedures for street crossings, travel in unfamiliar areas, utilization of public transportation, and appropriate use of aids such as sighted guides or canes. Training for persons who want to acquire the skills to be a sighted guide may also be provided.
Programs that evaluate joint motion, muscle strength and endurance, heart and lung function and the ability of people to perform activities of daily living; and utilize the therapeutic properties of exercise, heat, cold, electricity, ultraviolet, water, manipulation and massage to improve circulation, strengthen muscles, reduce pain and restore mobility to people who have been disabled by a stroke, arthritis, back or spinal cord injuries or other debilitating conditions. Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, private offices, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centres, developmental centres, home health agencies, schools and pediatric centres.
Programs that provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for individuals who have speech and/or language problems, neurological disorders or diseases or disorders of the middle, inner and outer ear; larynx; tongue; mouth; or other structures whose coordination and appropriate functioning are necessary for speech and/or hearing.
Rehabilitation oriented fitness programs that develop individualized exercise routines and other fitness activities for people with acute or chronic health conditions such as arthritis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, physical disabilities or other problems which affect their physical functioning with the objective of mitigating the effects of their condition; improving muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health; losing weight, if desirable; and reducing the risk of health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and depression. Included are gym and home based therapeutic exercise programs and aquatic therapy.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.