Occupational therapy is a treatment that focuses on helping people achieve independence in all areas of their lives.
Occupational therapy deals with:
- Fine motor skills
- Visual-perceptual skills
- Cognitive skills
- Sensory-processing deficits.
Occupational Therapy For Children
OT can offer kids with various needs positive, fun activities to improve their cognitive, physical, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem.
When an Occupational Therapist is working with a child, they are working primarily on playing and learning. An Occupational Therapist can evaluate a child's skills for play activities, school performance, and activities of daily living and compare them with what is developmentally appropriate for that age group. One of the activities that occupational therapists can address to meet children's needs is working on fine motor skills so that kids can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills. Occupational therapists also address hand–eye coordination to improve play skills, such as hitting a target, batting a ball, or copying from a blackboard.
According to American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), kids with the following medical problems may benefit from OT:
- birth injuries or birth defects
- sensory processing/integrative disorders
- traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
- learning problems
- pervasive developmental disorders
- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- mental health or behavioral problems
- broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
- developmental delays
- post-surgical conditions
- spina bifida
- traumatic amputations
- severe hand injuries
- multiple sclerosis
- cerebral palsy
- other chronic illnesses
An occupational therapist can also:
- Help kids with severe developmental delays learn some basic tasks, such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves
- Help kids with behavioral disorders learn anger-management techniques (i.e., instead of hitting others or acting out, the children would learn positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activity)
- Teach kids with physical disabilities the coordination skills required to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
- Evaluate each child's needs for specialized equipment, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, or dressing devices.
- Work with kids who have sensory and attention issues to improve focus and social skills
See our Occupational Therapists.