(Author Melissa Walker-Tate)
Occupational Therapists focus on achieving functional independence through therapeutic interventions, including activities someone wants, needs and has to do in their daily life. Children gain functional independence through there development and play; however it is not always easy to consider all areas/milestones your child needs to reach.
A Paediatric Occupational Therapist helps to address evaluate and provide support in the development of children.
What can occupational therapy offer Paediatric patients?
Occupational therapy helps and supports children to develop the underlying skills needed for a child’s learning and performing specific tasks, while also focusing on addressing social and behavioural skills.
Occupational Therapy helps children to develop the basic sensory awareness and strategies to regulate themselves in their developmental stage of life, focusing on learning healthy behaviours.
Occupational Therapists ensure to work with the whole family, caregivers, and teachers involved in the child’s daily life; as this has shown to be most evidence based and provides the most effective change.
Occupational Therapist`s work to educate, coach, share, reinforce and provide specific skills and changes to the person, routine, environment and performance of the challenging functional skill.
Occupational Therapy can provide therapy and intervention for the following:
- Body awareness in space, and deep muscular pressure (proprioceptive sense)
- coordination between the two sides of the body (crossing the midline)
- Fine motor control (Small hand muscle movements)
- Motor planning (preparation and sequencing of movements)
- Motor movements and coordination
- Gross motor coordination (Balance, strength, core strength and posture)
- Ocular motor skills
- Visual perceptual skills (visual memory, depth perception, visual tracking)
- Self-regulation (sensory, emotional and behavioural)
- Sensory modulation (reaction to stimulus)
- Self-cares (daily activities, showering, toileting, eating, sleeping)
When would a child need Occupational Therapy?
When you feel concerned for your child’s functioning and development it is best to seek support as early as possible. See my previous Blog Post about Early intervention for why this is so important. If you feel your child is not functioning at an age appropriate level in any aspects of their life, an Occupational Therapist can provide strategies, assessment and intervention as required.
If you are concerned about any of the following for your child consider talking to an Occupational Therapist for support in:
- Poor coordination
- Decreased balance (“clumsiness”)
- Delayed motor skill development
- Low muscle tone or strength
- Difficulty with handwriting
- Difficulty or avoidance engaging in fine motor tasks, e.g. puzzles, playdough
- Challenges in learning new skills
- Difficulties recalling information
- Struggles to remember and follow through on instructions given to them
- Difficulty completing tasks that seem easily attained by peers
- Behavioural or social skill challenges
- Difficulty maintaining attention
- Decreased self-esteem and self-concept
- Decreased visual skills including visual perceptual skills and ocular motor skills
- Difficulties with feeding, is a picky eater or a messy eater
- Challenges performing self-care tasks, e.g. toileting, eating or sleeping.
If you feel your child needs support in these areas, or you would like to discuss if your child is functioning age appropriately then please contact Connecting Together, mobile 02102915235 or EMAIL
Poroporoaki hoki inaianei,
Melissa Walker-Tate (Occupational Therapist).
Connecting Together Ltd.