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What is Occupational Therapy and how they help children?

Occupational Therapy (OTs) is a health profession that uses therapeutic methods to support, develop, maintain, and improve a clients everyday activities. In working with children we support the things children want, needs and have to do in their daily lives.

This can mostly come from the parents noticing functional challenging that their child may face each day such as difficulty getting dressed, or from teacher/daycare centres that notice the struggle in the child to maintain their emotions and behaviour in a group setting.

An OT uses assessment and intervention in working on daily living and everyday activities, these include self-care, productivity and leisure activities for an individual, groups or communities. OTs use models in practice and therapy including these components. The Canadian Model of Occupation Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E) shows how these components are related in a person's life, showing the holistic approach OTs use in therapy to assist a persons ability and performance in areas they find challenging.

The one main difference between a Physiotherapist and an Occupational Therapist is that OTs aim to improve a clients ability in performing their activities of daily living, and PTs work on the performance of the movement and structural components affecting the task.

Self-care, daily living, activities of daily living (ADLs); These are activities you do to look after yourself, the things you need to do in your daily life.

Leisure are the activities we do for fun and to bring us joy in our lives.

Productivity are the occupations in which we have to do, such as work to bring us money to maintain our home or provide food etc for our family.

What about for our children?

The same applies, our kids need to develop ability to perform their self-care tasks independently, they perform activities of leisure often through play or doing what they enjoy e.g riding their bike, and also productivity learning at school or daycare, practicing the alphabet as a skill they are being taught.

So Occupational Therapist who work in Paediatrics, work on the foundational development skills that support our kids in these areas and many more. We assess and observe, and set goals with the children, families and education centres. This may include goals such as working on the child’s fine motor skills to support their handwriting and dressing skills.

For some of our children with particular developmental delays, diagnosis or neurodivergent diagnosis it could mean that development occurs differently, and for many of our parents, cares and education settings they would like to know how to best support all kids to be able to function to the best of their ability.

So this is where an OT can come in and support those around the child in how to do this.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us, we are always here to help

Melissa Walker-Tate

Occupational Therapist

Connecting Together.

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