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How can Occupational Therapy Help me and my Family?

01.05.2021 | 7:24 am
Occupational Therapy

Yes, it’s a word that you may have heard at the doctor’s office or a post online.

What is this about?

What does it have to do with my child?

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is the only profession that focuses on helping people, across the lifespan, to do the things they love and need to do. OT practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. These are done through the use of daily activities or ‘occupations.’ It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.

Play

The ‘occupation’ of a child is play. The average child learns a lot during play time. The skills learnt eventually help with math, language or being social. Based on the play skills that your child has, an OT can support and take them to the next level. Children who struggle to understand non-verbal cues or have other issues, such a sensory processing difficulty, struggle to even engage with another person (adult or child) while staying regulated. Imaginary play or parallel play becomes far-fetched and hence the child ends up sitting by himself playing in repetitive ways that makes sense to them.

Sensory Processing

During play a child is able to learn many things through the information that they get from their senses. This could be through what they see, touch, hear, etc. Researchers have found that sensory information helps sinform the brain and play a vital part in all learning.

Handwriting

Another area that children struggle with is holding a pencil or writing instruments using a proper grip pattern or writing legibly. OT practitioners are trained to use specialised tests to assess the child and study the underlying causes and help rectify it as much as possible. Some of these causes could be poor coordination, low muscle tone, sensory processing issues, etc.

Everyday tasks

These are also known as ‘Activities of Daily Living’ (ADL). Assessments can help address underlying causes for common struggles such as buttoning a shirt, lacing shoes, understanding the rules of a game, etc. OTs can help children develop targeted skills that will help in the improvement of every activity. This in turn will promote the child participation and contribution at home and at school.

This article was written by Dr Esther Zachariah, OTD (USA). She is an Occupational Therapist who works in Neuropedia as a Paediatric Therapist. Every child under her care, undergoes an individualized evaluation and customized intervention plan. She believes in equipping parents with knowledge to support their child’s development. She is the founder of the social media page “Therapy with Esther” where she shares simple task ideas for parents to teach their children at home.

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