Occupational therapy is a type of health care treatment that helps to solve the problems that interfere with a persons ability to do the things that are important to them everyday things like:
Self-care – getting dressed, eating, moving around the house,
Being productive – going to work or school, participating in the community, and
Leisure activities – sports, gardening, social activities.
Occupational therapy (OT) is the use of assessment and intervention to develop, recover, or maintain the meaningful activities, or occupations, of individuals, groups, or communities. It is an allied health profession performed by occupational therapists. Occupational therapy can also prevent a problem or minimize its effects.
Most people think of occupational therapy as a treatment for adults that helps them get back to work, but that is a very narrow definition. Occupation refers to managing all the activities important for independent living. For children, their main job is playing, learning and doing age appropriate activities of daily living (e.g. dressing, eating, and b,athing). If your child has physical or cognitive disabilities, occupational therapy goals can be defined to help your child improve their ability to function in these areas.
Occupational therapy has been shown to help some kids with learning and attention issues become more independent and successful. This is especially true for young children.
The connection may not seem obvious. But problems with coordination, strength, control and daily self-care skills can lead to academic difficulties. Occupational therapy can help kids with learning and attention issues improve their strength, coordination, and planning and organization skills. Occupational therapy can help parents and teachers understand a childs capabilities. The younger a child is when he starts occupational therapy, the more effective it tends to be.
For example, a child who has autism and has trouble gripping a pencil may struggle to complete class assignments on time. Some kids have trouble with organization. They may struggle to load a backpack with materials they need at school. Occupational therapy could be helpful in these situations.
The benefits of occupational therapy for kids include:
Increased independence and self-confidence
Better understanding between parents and teachers of what a child should be able to accomplish
Improved ability to concentrate and complete schoolwork
Occupational therapy can help a number of issues, including:
Sensory processing issues
Visual processing issues
If your child is working with an OT, hell probably learn to adapt to his difficulties over time. This will make day-to-day living easier. Depending on the severity of your childs symptoms, he may need to work with an OT for many months. So its important to find an OT you and your child are comfortable with.
Keep in mind that occupational therapy for children cant cure your child. For example, if your child has dysgraphia, an OT can help him improve his handwriting. The OT can show him how to use a note-taking software. But your child may never become a fast writer.
The sooner your child starts with occupational therapy, the more effective it tends to be. Occupational therapists can help younger kids improve social and academic skills, making their lives easier as teenagers. However, OTs can also be helpful for older kids.
Occupational therapy is just one option for addressing your childs learning and attention issues. Being open to all possible treatments can help you find the right one for your child.
The desired outcome of the treatment is to help children learn to be as independent as possible. This can range from improving physical abilities, so the child can participate in self-care to helping the child be prepared to perform school-related activities. Since each child is unique, the goals and outcomes of the therapy treatment plan will be specific to that child and his or her needs.
This means that the therapy is ongoing until the child attains the necessary skills. Once skills are mastered in one area, say self-care, the therapy will focus on other skills that are needed to be functional in the community. Again, the nature of the therapy depends on your childs disability, how quickly he or she learns new skills and the goals of the family.