Occupational Therapy is a health profession that can be defined as "the art and science of helping people do the day to day activities that are important and meaningful to their health and well-being through engagement in valued occupations" (AOTA, 2008). Occupational engagement is important as it is associated with health and well-being.
An Occupational Therapist (OT) aims to assist clients develop, improve or maintain valued occupations in daily life. These occupations can be any meaningful activity that a person needs to, wants to, or are obliged to do.
Occupational therapy for children can assist with overcoming developmental challenges in movement, play, learning, attention and behaviour. Kids on Top Occupational Therapy for Children aims to assist children in developing and improving functional skills required for play, learning, attention and behaviour. Functional skills include:
Table top skills (fine motor) - pencil and scissor skills, colouring, drawing, writing
Whole body skills (gross motor) - running, jumping, hopping, skipping, ball skills
Co-ordination of movements - crossing the midline
Motor planning - plan, organise and sequence a task
Self care - daily skills required to get ready for day, such as dressing, toiling, eating, sleeping, hygiene
Self regulation - ability to control their own emotions and reactions
Sensory processing - making sense of incoming sensory information from the world around us
Executive functioning - planning and organising self
Kids on Top Occupational Therapy for Children use a client centred approach which encompasses not only the child, but also the family, caregivers and teachers in order to set meaningful goals, encourage the child to develop, generalise and use skills and strategies across all the environments that they encounter, and to achieve successful outcomes in becoming the most flexible and proficient learners they can be.
Why would I see an OT?
Children can benefit from Occupational Therapy if they have:
Delayed motor skill development
Poor balance ("clumsiness")
A learning difficulty diagnosis
Social or behavioural issues
Decreased attention or ability to participate in age appropriate activities
Decreased visual skills
Difficulties with feeding
Low or high muscle tone
Poor organisational skills
What does an Occupational Therapy session look like?
A child's occupational therapy session will often look and feel like play to the child, however, throughout the entire session the OT will be making clinical observations of muscle tone, postural control, reflex integration, motor planning, gross and fine motor skills, sensory processing and other functions related to neurological and motor development.
The OT may administer an initial assessment to provide a baseline of the child's function. Following this a comprehensive report will be provided to the caregiver, outlining goals for your child and guidelines for their therapy intervention.
The OT will contact the caregiver to discuss the report and the planned intervention to meet the established goals of the child and family. During this time the OT may provide initial home exercise/activity recommendations and answer any questions the caregiver may have.
Caregivers play an essential role in their child's therapy. It is important for the OT to work closely with the caregivers and teacher (if applicable) to ensure there is a mutual understanding of what the therapist is doing and why, to make certain everyone is working towards common goals and there is encouragement of the implementation of skills and strategies at home and other environments.
Standardised Assessments, Measures, Observational Tools and Evidence Based Approaches used at Kids On Top