Pediatric Physical Therapist Encourages Her Patients to Buy Otteroo

Pediatric physical therapist Kailee Noland frequently uses an Otteroo to make her therapy with babies more effective. She had the patience to talk to us when she was 39 weeks pregnant.

Tell us a little bit about your job.

I am a pediatric physical therapist, and I work at a clinic that serves kiddos with special needs across all therapy realms. So we have OT, PT, speech, we’ve got early childhood special educators here, behavioral therapists. We actually have an aquatics program just for kids with autism as well. And we just built a brand new state-of-the-art facility, so we’ve got two different pools. One that caters more to kiddos with sensory, whether it is that they crave more sensory or crave less. We can kind of adjust and modify there. And then, just a typical therapy pool also.

We also have an attached school for kiddos with special needs. It’s a little bit unique, in that we have classes starting from the time they’re babies, all the way up until they leave for kindergarten.

So there are kids that on land would not be able to roll, would not be able to kick their legs at all or move independently. And then we put the neck rings on, and they’re able to toodle around the pool all by themselves. I mean, with supervision.

How do you use the Otteroo in your therapy sessions?

For little babies up to three or four years old, depending on the size of the kid, to just give them more freedom of movement. And they love it. So there are kids that on land would not be able to roll, would not be able to kick their legs at all or move independently. And then we put the neck rings on, and they’re able to toodle around the pool all by themselves. I mean, with supervision. But for cognitive development it’s great, because it shows them that cause and effect of, “Oh, I’ve moved my body and I get somewhere, and I can’t do that on land.”

Normally we would be holding their head up, and would be very limited in what we can help facilitate at their arms and legs. But when they’ve got the neck ring on, we know they’re not going to go under water; they’re safe.

We can also help them more physically when they’ve got the neck ring on, because there’s some kids who have no head control. Normally we would be holding their head up, and would be very limited in what we can help facilitate at their arms and legs. But when they’ve got the neck ring on, we know they’re not going to go under water; they’re safe. So then we can be working on their arms and their legs, whether it be stretching, or showing them how to kick, or showing them how to move their arms to splash. So, we really use that a lot to just know that they’re safe and above water, and then to help with their limbs.

How do the kids react when they’re in it?

They love it. Initially I feel like when we put it on they’re like, “What are you doing to me?” But then, as soon as they get that brain connection of, “Oh my goodness, I just moved my body and I made a splash in the water,” or “I traveled three feet in the water all by myself,” when some of these kids that we’re using them with, can’t even roll over on their own. They may be two years old and not have had that connection yet, so, they love it.

When we put them in the water, we put the neck ring on, and they’re able to move and kind of suddenly have a freedom that they’re not able to have on land. They love it.

Do you feel like all of your co-workers love it as well?

Definitely, I would say across the disciplines. Primarily PT and OT are in the pool with kids. But yeah, across the disciplines they see it working really well. And I think it’s really good for parents to see too, who if they just lay them down on the floor, they just lay there, but then in the pool they’re suddenly moving around and they’re happy. And a lot of our kids who struggle with therapy on land because it’s just so difficult and so it’s not motivating because it’s difficult… When we put them in the water, we put the neck ring on, and they’re able to move and kind of suddenly have a freedom that they’re not able to have on land. They love it.

Baby boy, Thomas “Redding” was born the following week.

Julie Forbes