Occupational Therapy is concerned with a persons ability to participate in daily life activities or occupations, including self care, work, and play.
Pediatric Occupational Therapy
A childs job of growing into adulthood involves continual adaptation to the demands of the environment and assimilation of its opportunities. The dynamic nature of this interaction is determined by the childs internal clock of maturation as the child adapts to a changing environment. Occupational therapy practice is based on an understanding of the interactions among children, their activities (or occupations), and their environment.
Who are the children who can benefit from an occupational therapy intervention? Children having difficulties in:
- Fine motor skills
- Gross motor skills
- Sensory integration issues (Modulation and Discrimination of sensory input)
- Motor planning (praxis)
- Visual motor integration
- Vsual perception skills
- Oral Motor (Oral Defensiveness, and Motor Planning)
These difficulties might result in the following issues:
- Balancing responses
- Manipulation of objects and tools
- Independence in self care tasks
- Performance in physical education
- Sitting still in class
- Hyperactivity due to sensory seeking behaviors
- Short attention span
- Feeding Issues
Occupational Therapy Services include:
- Assessment (screening and in depth)
- Standardized assessments
- Informal assessments that includes clinical observations
- Assessment is important in order to:
- Find out where is the core cause of the difficulty
- Set intervention goals
- Set a base line of where is the starting point of abilities before intervention had started
- Intervention (individual sessions)
- The use of childs strength to compensate his weaknesses
- Direct targeting of root causes of the observed behaviors
- Modification of environment to match childs abilities
- Teaching strategies
- Direct training in targeted tasks
- Remedial approaches for sensory integration that may include a Sensory Diet
- Oral Motor intervention to improve feeding and oral defensiveness
- Advising parents and teachers how to manage the child at home and in school
- Occupational therapy intervention is child-directed and it incorporates play for motivation and experience. It is important to design a suitable challenge fo the child to provide an opportunity to learn and improve while not discouraging the child by failure.
- The occupational therapy session should be fun and motivating for the child in order for him to benefit and get the opportunity to learn and improve his skills.
The Role of Occupational Therapy
A childs occupational performance might be affected by developmental, physical, sensory, attentional and learning challenges. The goal of occupational therapy is to improve the students performance of tasks and activities important for successful school and life functioning.
The occupational therapist is concerned with ensuring an understanding of, and match between the students skills and abilities and the expectations placed on him.