Occupational therapy bus helps kids with sensory issues

Published: Sep. 19, 2019 at 6:41 PM EDT
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A bus is providing therapy on the go for kids with sensory issues. An occupational therapist started this bus in Salem to create greater access for families in rural areas and those with busy schedules.

7-year-old Grayson Chapmon is like any other kid--he loves to play and laugh. But one thing sets him slightly apart.

"He just has some like sensory needs. He gets really, easily excited and kind of hard to wind back down. He was having a hard time sleeping," his mother, Jill Chapmon, said.

And he's one of nine kids, making it hard for his mother to get him the help he needs. That is, until the occupational therapy on the go bus rolled right up to her door.

"When he needed OT and sensory therapy, it was just so hard to fit it in our schedule . . . this worked out perfectly because then I could just have her meet me wherever I was at, and I can continue with somebody else's baseball or dance lesson," Chapmon said.

Occupational Therapist Amy Higgs started this bus for kids with sensory issues like Austism and ADHD.

"In 2006, my son was born, was diagnosed with autism, and then I started using some of those therapy strategies with him," Higgs, an Occupational Therapist for 20 years and now the owner of the OT on the Go bus, said.

This bus also goes to those living in rural areas.

"In speaking with the Virginia Department of Health, they have told me about some special outreach areas, that the families, it takes them about an hour, an hour and a half, to get to therapy services, whereas I can come to them, Higgs said.

Her OT bus holds a therapeutic gym inside. She goes through sensory exercises with the kids--like helping them swing and balance on a therapy ball--helping each kid one therapy session at a time.

"He's sleeping better at night I've noticed, and he just seems to be able to settle himself down a little bit better," Chapmon said.

For more information, you can check out this website: https://otonthego.org/.

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