The ‘Sky’s the Limit’ for new Pediatric Occupational Therapy business
SHEPHERDSTOWN — For many years, local residents have had to drive outside of the Eastern Panhandle to get occupational therapy treatment for their children. But earlier this year, Shepherdstown became the home to the Eastern Panhandle’s first pediatric occupational therapy practice, Sky’s the Limit, at 217 South Duke Street, Suite 103.
Owned by Occupational Therapist Amy Childers, the business motto, “Skills for the job of growing,” makes a joke of a common misconception about occupational therapy, according to Childers.
“You’re going to hear at least one person a day saying, ‘I don’t need a job!'” Childers said, laughing. “But our field is all about helping people do what they want to.
“With a kid, development unfolds with the skills you have developed thus far. If a kid misses a development stage, their entire development is delayed,” Childers said. “Sometimes they skip a step, and there’s a lot of research that has been done of the problems that can happen if they skip a step. If the development isn’t done in order, you can see the impact, sometimes, years later on.”
Childers, who worked as an occupational therapist in eight schools in the Jefferson County school system for about 20 years, said she always dreamed about opening her own practice. Unlike in the school system, where she was limited to only helping children with neurological challenges which prevented them from being on the same educational playing field, Childers can now focus on helping the entire child to develop coping and movement skills.
“What we learn in occupational therapy school is keen observation — noticing what a kid is doing and not doing, and what the components of any task are, and what is necessary for the successful completion of that task.,” Childers said, mentioning she graduated from Shenandoah University’s master’s degree program in 2000.
According to Childers, parents can usually tell when their child needs to have an occupational therapist. Young children may have missed a step in development, such as skipping the crawling stage and going immediately to walking. Older children may be labeled as “bad kids” in school, because their neurological challenges cause antisocial behavior.
“As occupational therapists, we can’t diagnose problems, but we can look at what they’re doing and not going, and help them learn the necessary components to complete a task,” Childers said. “All behavior is communication. Kids can’t always talk, but they show what they’re feeling in their behavior.”
During a free 25-minute consultation, Childers can analyze the needs of potential patients. If she isn’t able to help them, she will refer them to the appropriate form of medical care. To schedule a consultation, contact Childers at 304-671-8535, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Sky’s the Limit’s Facebook page.
“I enjoy occupational therapy, because no day is ever the same,” Childers said. “I enjoy it because kids are refreshing. I enjoy it, because I feel like these are little people with a very long life ahead of them, and anything I can do will help them have a better future.”