A child’s life is made up of occupations, and everyday activities. These occupations include playing, learning, sleeping and resting, interacting with friends, getting dressed and self-care tasks, and other daily activities. Many people usually don’t think about a child’s daily occupations until he or she has challenges in doing them. We all have occupations from the toddler whose occupations are playing and learning, to the older child whose occupations are being a student and developing the skills to become more independent. Occupational therapists supports children of all ages, newborns to teenagers, by incorporating the occupations that are important to the family and the child into the treatment plan, whether it is at school, home, or at a medical facility.
Occupational therapists serve children, youth, and their families by offering prevention, promotion, and interventions for a diverse populations and its settings.
Occupational Therapists are skilled professionals who use research and scientific evidence to ensure the interventions used are helpful for your child to achieve his or her goals.
With strong knowledge and understanding of an individual’s psychological, physical, emotional, sensory, cognitive, and social makeup, occupational therapists can evaluate how the child’s condition or, risk for one, is affecting his or her participation in life and provide ways to overcome any barriers while using a holistic perspective.
There are different ways occupational therapy can help the child to participate in everyday tasks like helping a child who lacks attention and concentration skills to succeed in school, supporting a child with autism to socialize, helping a child who uses a wheelchair to play with his or her peers or to use appropriate school tools, helping a child with a developmental disability get dressed independently, helping all children to play with toys or to use tools such as crayons addressing whatever may be a particular child’s skills and needs. An occupational therapist will evaluate the child, together with the environment and the task or activity and, with additional information from the family or caregivers, develop individualized goals that address resuming or pursuing factors that are important to the family and the child. The caregivers and the occupational therapist will then work together on an individualized intervention plan to help improve or maintain the child’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals expected.
The plan will always take into account the child’s interests and needs, as well as his or her abilities, which may include modifying both the task and the environment to allow the kid to be as most independent as possible. Occupational Therapists also focus on prevention, promoting healthy lifestyles, and addressing mental health. For the young child, occupational therapy focuses on promoting growth and development and helps families with caregiving strategies. Occupational Therapists can widen their focus to groups or school-wide initiatives, which includes anti-bullying strategies and promoting good school design.
To make it simple, Occupational Therapy services can support your child to achieve goals and to develop life skills such as:
- Helping the teenager with a developmental disability gain the skills to transition from high school toward further education, employment, and independent living as an adult.
- Stay as healthy and productive as possible like helping the middle schooler develop routines for completing homework assignments and providing fun, safe ways to engage in physical activities.
- Participate in everyday activities; for example, providing age-appropriate toys for the infant or toddler so he or she can reach developmental milestones, and developing the skills to interact socially.
Occupational Therapists can help all children to live their life to its fullest.