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
Different observational tools and standardised tests are used for different ages and stages of development.
HELP for pre-schoolers.
HELP for pre-schoolers is a curriculum based assessment for use with children who are developing as 'normal' pre-schoolers or who may have developmental delay.
The Perceived Efficacy and Goal Setting system (PEGS), 2nd edition.
The PEGS system is designed to enable young children to self report their perceived competence in everyday activities and to set goals for intervention. The PEGS system consists of 24 sets of visual pictures depicting normal activities a child would encounter including self care tasks, leisure activities and school productivity tasks.
Canandian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) - 5th edition
The COPM is an individualised measure designed to detect change in a client's self-reported occupational performance over time.
Canadian Orientation approach to Daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP)
CO-OP is a client centred problem-solving approach that enables the child to use cognitive strategies to solve functional problems, improve performance and develop occupational competency. This may include skills that the child wants to, needs to or is expected to do. This is achieved through developing a global problem solving framework of self-guided discovery and strategies of "talking self through" performance problems.
The Beery Developmental Test of Visual Motor Intergration Test (VMI). This test allows for measurement of hand-eye co-ordination, motor control, visual perception and visual information processing through a sequence of geometric forms that are copied by the child.
Movement ABC – A developmental test assessing gross and fine motor skills, including Manual Dexterity, Ball Skills and Static and Dynamic Balance.
Handwriting Assessment – Bonney and Perks – an observational assessment addressing the mechanics of handwriting.
Speed Writing Test – Wallen, Bonney and Lennox – A timed writing test that compares the student’s letters per minute with other students in their school year.
Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (Dash)– Barnett, Henderson, Scheib and Schultz – A variety of standardised timed handwriting tasks to assess handwriting speed and legibility in upper primary and high school students
Jordan left right reversal test - Assesses a child’s spatial knowledge in relation to symbols, letters and numbers.
Can I claim back Occupational therapy session through insurance?
Occupational therapy sessions can be claimed through:
- Health insurance, depending on your level of cover.
- Medicare with an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plan (discuss with nominated treating doctor)
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- Better Access to Mental Health (BAMH) with specially accredited OT's .
Sonya Moriarty, owner and OT at Kids On Top is accredited with all the above schemes.
American Occupational Therapy Association (2008). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (2nd ed). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(?), 625-683
Boyt Schell, B. A., Scaffa, M. E., Gillen, G., Cohen, E. S. (2014). Contemporary Occupational Therapy Practice. In B. A. B. Schell, G. Gillen, & M. E. Scaffa (Eds) Willard and Spackman’s occupational therapy (12th ed., pp. 47-58). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Dunn, W. (2001). “The sensations of everyday life: empirical, theoretical, and pragmatic considerations.” The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55(6), 608-620.
Hessell, S. (2004). 'Entering the unknown?' Identifying potential expectations of paediatric occupational therapy held by families. New Zealand Journal Of Occupational Therapy, 51(2), 5-10.
Phoenix, M., & Vanderkaay, S. (2015). Client-centred occupational therapy with children: A critical perspective. Scandinavian Journal Of Occupational Therapy, 22(4), 318-321. doi:10.3109/11038128.2015.1011690
Wilcock, A. (2006). An occupational perspective of health (2nd ed.). Thorofare, NJ: SLACK Incorporated