The new occupational therapist at Sunflower’s Early Education Center (EEC) is rounding out the team of early intervention experts on staff.
Jan Glimpse, OT, brings many years of experience to the position and is focused on children age birth to 3 during in-person visits with families.
“There are three general areas of concentration,” Glimpse said. “We want to help children with fine-motor skills, eating skills and sensory integration.
“For example, we can help with finger dexterity and ways to handle eating utensils,” Glimpse said. “The sensory issues could involve noises or textures that bother some children with delays.”
Glimpse visits with families in their homes and other natural settings such as day-care centers.
“We collaborate directly with parents to determine what their concerns are,” Glimpse said. “I suggest strategies to help their child meet developmental milestones.”
Glimpse serves the EEC part-time; she also is an OT for the McPherson school district. She noted she is especially gratified to be interacting with infants and toddlers with delays.
“I have always enjoyed working with the little ones,” she said. “Age birth to 3 is such an important time for all children and is crucial for those with developmental problems. We want to prepare them for preschool and kindergarten. Problems can be alleviated if not overcome entirely.”
While Glimpse shares her expertise, she relies on parents for reinforcement. “We can be so much more effective when parents use the techniques we suggest in day-to-day family life,” she explained.
Glimpse earned her OT degree at the University of Kansas and has worked in hospitals.
Cathy Estes, children’s services coordinator, said Glimpse is a “great addition to our comprehensive team, which will benefit from her talents. We have two highly skilled physical therapists but some needs are specific to OT.”
For instance, a PT may help with large motor skills such as walking, while an OT works with children having difficulty using their fingers.
“Jan can help strengthen the fingers,” Estes explained. “Dexterity is needed for skills such as putting on shoes and socks, or zipping a jacket.”
Sensory integration is important because certain food textures or clothing tags that touch the skin can be bothersome to a child.
“Some children may seem to have other developmental problems,” Estes said. “Then we discover the issues are related to sensory input. Jan will help us identity and address those needs.”
The fringe benefit, Estes noted, is “Jan is such a warm, friendly person. It seems she has been part of our team for years rather than weeks. I couldn’t be more pleased with how she has rounded out our team of professionals.”
While doctors often refer children to the EEC, it is not necessary. A child can be referred by anyone for any developmental concern.
The EEC, 1312 Patton Road, is part of the tiny-k infant/toddler program in Kansas. The non-profit agency’s service area includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. Although it is funded in part by tax revenue, it relies on private donations; services are free.