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Occupational Therapy

 
 

 

When does a child need occupational therapy?
Occupational Therapists work with children who have difficulties with the practical and social skills necessary for their everyday life. An Occupational Therapist will aim to enable the child to be as physically, psychologically and socially independent as possible. Occupational Therapists work in close partnership with the child and their family, schools and other healthcare professionals.

Together they have a shared responsibility for meeting the child's needs. In schools, for example, they evaluate the child's abilities, recommend and provide therapy, modify classroom equipment, and help the child participate as fully as possible in school programs and activities. A therapist may work with the child individually, lead small groups in the classroom, consult with a teacher to improve the functioning skills of the child etc.

Occupational therapy is provided when there is a disruption in function in one or more of the following the areas:

  • Gross Motor Skills : movement of the large muscles in the arms, and legs. Abilities like rolling, crawling, walking, running, jumping, hopping, skipping etc
  • Fine Motor Skills : movement and dexterity of the small muscles in the hands and fingers. Abilities like in-hand manipulation, reaching, carrying, shifting small objects etc.
  • Cognitive Perceptual Skills: Abilities like attention, concentration, memory, comprehending information, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, understanding concept of shape, size and colors etc.
  • Sensory Integration : ability to take in, sort out, and respond to the input received from the world. Sensory processing abilities like vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, visual, auditory, gustatory and olfactory skills.
  • Visual Motor Skills : a child's movement based on the perception of visual information. Abilities like copying.
  • Motor Planning Skills : ability to plan, implement, and sequence motor tasks.
  • Oral Motor Skills : movement of muscles in the mouth, lips, tongue, and jaw, including sucking, biting, chewing, blowing and licking.
  • Play skills : to develop age appropriate, purposeful play skills
  • Socio-emotional skills : ability to interact with peers and others.
  • Activities of daily living: Self-care skills like daily dressing, feeding, grooming and toilet tasks. Also environment manipulation like handling switches, door knobs, phones, TV remote etc.
  • Occupational therapists in schools collaborate with teachers, special educators, other school personnel, and parents to develop and implement individual or group programs, provide counseling, and support classroom activities.
  • Occupational therapists design and develop equipment or techniques for improving existing mode of functioning.
 
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