Samantha Muscato is a clinical specialist in pediatric occupational therapy acute care at Rusk Rehabilitation, where she has been for nine years. She has worked in all pediatric rehabilitation departments including: outpatient, the former preschool program, inpatient acute rehabilitation, and acute care. Her experience includes assessing needs regarding assistive technology, seating and mobility, splinting, as well as standard occupational therapy assessment of fine motor, visual motor, sensory processing, cognitive skills, and activities of daily living. Her current work primarily is in the neonatal intensive care unit, the congenital cardiovascular care unit, and the acute care unit providing feeding therapy to infants born prematurely and babies with complex medical/surgical histories. Her Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Occupational therapy are from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. She has taken certification courses for Kinesiotaping, neonatal oral motor assessment scale, and she is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
In this interview, Samantha discusses: the ages of her patients and the kinds of conditions they have that necessitate the provision of occupational therapy services; feeding therapy to infants born prematurely and babies with complex medical and surgical histories; what specifically distinguishes the work of an occupational therapist in the pediatric intensive care unit; whether certification is necessary for an occupational therapist to work in that unit; tools for conducting assessments; occupational therapy strategies employed when addressing the complex health care needs of children at different ages; the role of assistive technology; mentoring and training new pediatric occupational therapists for all aspects of acute care; and developing programs and providing education for staff in other health professions.