Please don’t let the phrase “occupational therapy” (OT) make you believe it has nothing to do with kids. After all, kids don’t have “occupations,” right? But, in clinical terms, many occupational therapists define “occupations” as “activities” that children regularly engage in.
For children with developmental delays or disabilities, occupational therapy can help improve their motor, cognitive, sensory processing, and communication skills.
Pediatric occupational therapists, for example, will evaluate a child’s “activities” such as feeding oneself, getting dressed, writing for schoolwork, or playing with small objects.
In fact, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has signified children and youth as one of six key focus areas for occupational therapy practice in the 21st Century as part of its Centennial Vision.
April is Occupational Therapy Month
The purpose of OT month is to shed some more light on what is done in this field of medicine. Did you know that occupational therapists treat the whole person? They blend holistic approaches with scientific evidence and current research. The goal is to help children & adults do the things they want & need to do more fully in day-to-day life.
Specifically for children with developmental disabilities, OT can involve:
— Developing fine motor skills to enable children to grasp and release objects and develop handwriting or computer skills.
— Improving hand-eye coordination so they can play, learn, and master skills needed in daily living and in school.
— Mastering basic life skills such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and self-feeding…all the way through independent living, self-care, and pre-vocational skills.
— Learning positive behaviors and social skills, to enable interactions with others and management of emotions in a productive manner.
— Acquiring and learning to use special equipment to help build independence. This includes wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, and communication aids.
To learn more about what pediatric occupational therapists do and what they point to as “occupations” of children, check out this article.
If you feel that your child would benefit from occupational therapy, here is a contact list of names, phone numbers, and addresses of occupational therapists in North Carolina.
This post was written by Anthony M Scialis. Find him here.