Monday, April 9, 2012

What in the world is Occupational Therapy?

April is Occupational Therapy Month!  Occupational Therapy, which we lovingly call OT for short, is just one of the many therapies that we provide for pediatric patients at our facilities.  Many people don't actually know what OT is or what we work on in OT, so we've written this blog to help explain what it is that we do!
Does your child seem clumsier than other children his age or have difficulty completing simple daily tasks such as dressing or eating?  Does she get easily frustrated or restless when completing school work or have difficulty with handwriting? 
Many parents question whether their child is developing appropriately or notice that their child does not seem to be functioning at the same level as similarly aged peers. Other children’s function is delayed due to injury or prenatal cause. When these concerns are echoed by your child’s pediatrician, your child may benefit from Occupational Therapy.
The occupation, or job, of all children is to learn and develop into functional adults.  In childhood, this is done through play.
Pediatric Occupational Therapists work with children to restore, improve, maintain and develop skills needed for daily living.  They evaluate each child’s individual strengths and areas in need of improvement, and, in collaboration with the child’s caregivers, formulate a plan to maximize the child’s independence at home, school, and in the community.
Areas evaluated and remediated by  OTs are cognition and concentration, vision and visual perceptual issues (such as eye-hand coordination), social skills deficits,  feeding issues, sensory processing difficulties, handwriting, hand strength and overall function, clumsiness and body control and coordination, manual dexterity, and activities of daily living such as hygiene, dressing, household or community tasks.
The intervention is provided through play, so that the child learns and develops skills through fun games and activities.  Each family is educated regarding activities that can be done at home to further develop their child’s independence and function.
Through Occupational Therapy, children are able to gain the skills and confidence that they need to enjoy and succeed in school, be more responsible at home, and make and keep friends more easily.