What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapists (OT) promote skill development and independence in all daily activities. The ‘occupations’ of children may include playing at the local park, running, jumping, dressing, eating, toileting, handwriting, getting into the car or even paying attention in class. All these occupations differ from child to child and Occupational Therapists work collaboratively with families to identify areas of concern and develop treatment plans to achieve stated goals.
How do I know If my child needs OT?
Throughout early development and school years, children are learning a huge amount of information from their parents, school, friends and other people involved in their lives. Children develop at different rates and are all unique in their skill set. When necessary skills are still developing, or not quite there, OT’s can put in place strategies or help the child develop and improve skills to help them with their occupations. Some abilities and skills that OT’s can help with include:
|Skill or ability||What this looks like:|
|Muscle tone and strength||Poor posture, fatigues easily, leans on own arms, slouches, ‘W’sits, changes seating position frequently|
|Body awareness||Clumsy, falls, leans on objects or people, runs around|
|Fine motor||Handwriting, scissor use, grasping and pinching, manipulating small objects|
|Gross motor||Running, jumping, climbing, stairs, throwing and catching balls, other sports|
|Motor planning||Difficulties planning and sequencing steps to execute motor activity, difficulties going through obstacle course|
|Visual perception||Difficulties recognising and understanding shapes, visual memory, finding items|
|Visual motor integration||Difficulties copying shapes, copying block designs, copying from the board|
|Sensory integration||Difficulties responding to different sensory stimuli appropriately, becomes overwhelmed with sensations, avoids activities or seeks out activities, difficulties discriminating sensory input, difficulties transitioning|
|Behaviour||Difficulties maintaining attention and concentration, poor problem-solving skills|
|Emotional regulation||Meltdowns and tantrums, end of the world reactions, difficulty self-soothing|
|Self-care||Difficulties in any self-care area including: dressing, feeding, toileting, showering/ bathing|
|Play skills||Appropriate play, pretend play, imaginative play, social play, use of toys|
|Social skills||Sharing, waiting for their turn|
|Friendship skills||Initiating communication or play, being caring to friends|
How can OT can benefit my child?
If your child is having difficulties in any of the areas listed in the table, get in contact with one of our OT’s who can help you decide if Occupational Therapy would be beneficial for your child.
Some of the ways we assist families and children are:
Assessment: Formal and informal assessments can be conducted to identify underlying causes
Goal setting: Collaborative goal setting with the OT, child, and family to identify priorities and achievable goals
Therapy sessions: To explore, develop, and improve skills
Education and strategies: Support and education for the child, family, and teachers to understand the reasons for some of the child’s difficulties
Home and Classroom visits: OT’s can travel to the home or school to observe the behaviours within their common environments and understand the child’s difficulties
Specific areas we can assist in:
- Sensory Processing Therapy
- Sensory diets
- Self-Care skills / Toileting
- Picky eating
- Handwriting programs
- Attention and concentration strategies
- Movement and motor skills programs for gross and fine motor problems
- Visual perceptual skills improvement
- Organisation, planning, and memory
At The Health Hub, we are trained in providing the Interactive Metronome intervention for children who want to improve their cognitive and motor skills. Interactive Metronome is an evidence-based training program that involves using specialised equipment and unique computer activities to improve cognitive and motor skills, such as: processing speed, timing, accuracy, motor planning, and endurance.
This program is currently available for individual therapy and group therapy. Please see the flyer below for details on our current group program.