What is pediatric occupational therapy? According to the All Allied Health Schools website, ‘Pediatric occupational therapy focuses on helping children develop the skills they need to grow into functional, independent studies. Physical impairment, injuries and a host of other issues can hamper a child’s ability to perform common tasks or progress normally through the stages of social or cognitive development.’
Jersey City’s only pediatric occupational therapy clinic is Jump Ahead Pediatrics, located at 35 Journal Square, Suite 610.
Dr. Brittany Smith opened the clinic earlier this year and reached out to me in hopes I can share her passion with you all!
Dr. Smith, a native Jersey girl, received her undergraduate and graduate degrees simultaneously in the 5-year direct entry occupational therapy program at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in 2012.
Her major inspiration to study OT was her mom, while in high school she jokes her mom ‘highly suggested’ aka forced her to volunteer at a children’s hospital to boost her resume for college. At the time, her dream was to study physical therapy in college, but while volunteering at the hospital, a nurse suggested studying OT instead and after observing and researching, she was convinced to do so. She now thanks her mom for pulling her away from her friends those high school summers! As we all know, moms know best : )
Smith has always wanted to own a business, and when her business partner and fellow University of Sciences graduate and friend, Janki Patel called her one day with an opportunity to rent space in Jersey City, she jumped (pun intended) at the chance! While in college she lived in city of Philadelphia and always visited NYC a lot when living at home; she loves big cities and finds working in JC enjoyable and exciting!
Now a mom herself to Bryce, her spunky little kiddo, Smith is a little more understanding with the families when she recommends activities to carry over into day to day life. It’s her belief OT can benefit EVERYONE, but most of her cases are with preschool aged children. As of late she expressed seeing such an increase in sensory processing difficulties, “The sensory system is the most developed system at birth; it is also the most delicate. Disruptions from chemicals in utero may be causing difficulties in the sensory system. With an increase in chemicals in foods, products, air, etc, it’s no wonder why we are seeing an increase in these sensory difficulties! Sensory processing can affect many aspects of a child’s daily life (attention, social-emotional, self-care, diet, etc). Occupational therapists help make neurological changes and suggest compensatory strategies to decrease sensory difficulties and improve participation in daily activities!”
If you are interested in learning more please make an appointment with either Dr. Smith or Dr. Patel today!