What is an Occupational Therapist (OT)? And how do they help children? This blog post aims to explore 10 different things that an OT might be able to help your child.
- Play skills:
Play skills are essential to a child’s physical, social and emotional development. OT’s can work with your child to encourage turn-taking, role-play and problem solving strategies which encourage positive behaviour and self-confidence in social settings, as well as the development of healthy relationships.
Mealtimes can often be stressful for families when children have physical, cognitive and sensory issues. These can result in concerns for safety, and the independence to self-feed. OT’s can assist with mealtimes through tools to properly hold utensils, and hand-eye coordination used to manipulate food and bring to the mouth. OT’s are also involved in fulfilling sensory needs through appropriate seating, addressing food refusal, and establishing healthy habits and routines around mealtimes.
Toileting is a fundamental part of daily-life, and the lack of toilet-training can lead to many implications for a child’s development and self-esteem. OT’s work alongside children and their families to promote positive toilet-training experiences, through the use of visual aids for sequencing steps, body awareness, seating and positioning, communication of needs, dressing, routines, and encouragement of positive behaviour.
- Behavioural issues:
Behavioural issues that are left unmanaged, may result in peer exclusion and social isolation for the child and family. Behavioural support and modification can be provided by OT’s working with the child, families and teachers to plan and implement effective and consistent strategies to promote more socially appropriate behaviour.
- Cognitive skills such as memory, attention and reasoning:
Cognitive skills are vital to independence in daily-life. Occupational therapy can target various components of cognition through meaningful activities such as play-based learning (verbal games, activity books or board games), as well as functional activities such as cooking or sorting items.
- Handwriting and other essential skills for school:
Table top hand skills such as handwriting and scissor skills an be improved through a holistic OT approach. This may involve seating and posture changes to support the use of hands and eyes, task practice by writing letters to family and friends, as well as targeting other meaningful activities to improve visual, motor, and coordination skills.
- Scar management:
Following injury or surgery, OT’s can help to treat or prevent keloid scarring and reduce the risk of deformity or impairment. OT’s can assist with scar management through the use of massage, vibration, and silicone treatments.
- Participation in life activities:
Activity and task modifications allow children with impairments or disabilities to access and participate in meaningful activities with their family and peers. OT’s can assist with problem-solving strategies to promote equitable participation in the home, school, and community settings through the modification of verbal or visual expressions, cues, time limitations, rest breaks, and reducing the task demand on physical abilities.
- Equipment and technology prescription:
Having access to assistive equipment and technology can mean the difference in your child’s independence in accessing and community, school curriculum, and in self care activities such as feeding, bathing, and toileting. OT’s can assist in the assessment, prescription, and funding applications necessary for your child’s engagement in daily-life.
- Home modifications:
If your child has a chronic or degenerative condition which impacts on their ability to access the home environment, and OT can help. OT’s can assist in the assessment, recommendations and funding applications of home modifications to promote independence and social-connectedness for the child and family.
Our OT’s are passionate about ensuring children can live their best lives. If you are wondering if an OT could help your child, please don’t hesitate to give us a call to find out more about our therapy services.