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Understanding Occupational Therapy

Understanding Occupational Therapy

Priscila

Date: 25 March 2021

By: Priscila Rautenbach 

  • Reading time: 30 Mins

The first question we get as OT’s is do you help people find jobs? And the answer is no, we do not. Occupational Therapy is a broad field that caters for a variety of age groups from infants to the elderly. Regardless of the population we are working with, our main goal is to ensure independence and participation in all spheres of life. Some of the types of OT that you may have already heard of may include hands therapy, vocational rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation, psychiatric rehabilitation and pediatrics. OTs undergo specific training and usually choose one or two areas to focus on. We at Little Beings found our passion in pediatrics and have sought out further training in this area.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy centers around play; the reason for this is that a child’s main occupation is play and they learn the most effectively through play. We begin our journey with a child through an assessment, where we identify specific areas that need to be worked on. We then select specific games and activities that will target these areas and use these in our treatment sessions. The superpower of an Occupational Therapist is our ability to structure and adapt a game to achieve a variety of aims.

How do I know when my child needs Occupational Therapy?

As we mentioned above our goal is to support independence and participation in all spheres of life. If your child is struggling to participate in any area of their lives such as school, home and/or in playing with their peers- OT is the way to go.

Common difficulties that OT can help with include fine motor difficulties (including poor pencil grip and handwriting), poor sitting posture, sensory challenges and fussy feeding, concentration difficulties, visual perceptual difficulties (these are important skills needed for learning to read and write) and academic skills (time management, organization of space and task execution).

More specifically, if your child has a diagnosis such as Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus, Autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, dyspraxia, Down Syndrome and many other pediatric disorders, OT will form a vital part of your child’s therapy team. If your child has had difficulty meeting their milestones or have a traumatic birth history, OT can help to bridge the gaps in their development to assist with meeting the expectations made of them.

OT facilitates a good foundation from which your child can continue to grow and develop. We don’t work in isolation and love to work with families, teachers and health care professionals to help your child achieve all that they can.

What’s up with the stigma?

Many people don’t fully understand Occupational Therapy and sometimes perceive it in a negative light or feel that children improve on their own with age. The truth is that not all children will develop as expected for a variety of reasons. The best thing you can do is listen to those who know your child best and trust your gut. If you are unsure, chat to us to see if your child would benefit from an assessment or not. OT has many tools that can assist your little being to achieve their full potential. Our scope is broad, and we can help in various ways- therapy, home programs, adaptations… so feel free to contact us if you have any questions about what we do and how we can help.

We love walking the journey with each family and helping each child achieve their full potential. We would be honored to form a part of your journey.

Willow_worx_Rebounding_class

Rebounding

Rebounding is exercise that works on every cell in the body in a unique way, thus it strengthens the entire body from the inside out, increases circulation, improves digestion and elimination, burns fat, strengthens the heart, and improves cell efficiency.

Willow_Worx_Stewed _Apples_Pears_Coconut_Custard

Stewed Apples & Pears with Coconut milk Custard

Stewed Apples & Pears with Coconut milk Custard

This was a spur of the moment experiment that worked really well. If you love custard but are avoiding dairy this is a winner!  Also works for Vegans as it uses custard powder rather than eggs.

  • 15 Mins
  • High GL
  • Serves 4
  • Wheat Free
  • Easy
  • Dairy Free

Ingredients:

Stewed Fruit:
 2 Apples and 1 Pear Chopped
 Optional: raisins or cranberries
 Maple Syrup or honey to taste
 ½ tsp Cinnamon
 Squeeze of lemon juice
 Pinch of Salt


Coconut milk Custard:
 3 cups of Coconut milk
 Custard powder
 Vanilla essence

Method:
  1. Put fruit, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt into a small pot.
  2. Boil/stew with a little water for about 15 minutes or until tender.
  3. Add maple syrup or honey to taste.
  4. Boil the coconut milk and make custard as per instructions.
  5. Serve hot or cold.

Health Tips:

The health benefits of apples include the prevention of cardiac and GI disorders, anemia, and diabetes. They may also help relieve symptoms of rheumatism, a variety of cancers, gout, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.  Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin which can help boost and fortify your immune system.

Pears provide similar benefits in terms of digestive health, immune boosting, reducing diabetes and cancer risks and supporting heart health.

Willow_Worx_Bran_Muffin

Bran Muffin

Bran Muffins

A quick and easy mixture that lasts up to 30 days in the fridge. This means you can always have freshly baked muffins when your guests arrive.

  • 30 Mins
  • High GL
  • 36 Muffins
  • Wheat
  • Easy
  • Dairy

Ingredients:

 2 Cups digestive bran

 2 Cups flour

 1/2 tsp. Salt

 2 1/2 tsp. Bicarb

 2 Eggs

 1 1/4 Cups brown sugar

 1/2 Cup oil (We recommend coconut oil)

 2 Cups Milk

 1 tsp. Vanilla essence

Optional : 

 1 Cup mixed fruit or cherries or nuts 

Method:
  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar together very well.
  3. Add oil and beat again.
  4. Add milk, vanilla essence and mix well.
  5. Add liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Add fruit or nuts to mixture.
  7. Leave over night in the fridge.
  8. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  9. Stir mixture well before using.
  10. Add mixture to muffin try (amount of muffins needed).
  11. Bake 15-20 Minutes. 

Health Tips:

Digestive Bran provides a good source of insoluble fiber, which can help prevent or treat constipation. It also acts as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Willow_Worx_Cajun_Lemon_Pasta

Lemon Cajun Pasta

Lemon Cajun Pasta

A simple, delicious Friday night dinner that adds some zest to your night!

  • 30 Mins
  • Low GL
  • Servers 4
  • Wheat
  • Easy
  • Dairy

Ingredients:

 1 tsp. garlic

 1 large onion

 4 Chicken breasts

 250ml Cream

 1 Big Lemon

  125ml White wine

 Black pepper

 1 tbl. Cajun spice (Ina Paarman's)

 500g Penne Pasta (Our favourite is Whole Wheat or Spelt pasta from Checkers)

Method:
  1. Chop the onion and add it to your pot with garlic and butter. Fry till the onions are soft.
  2. Chop the chicken into small cubes. Add to onions and fry until all the chicken has been browned.
  3. Add Lemon juice, white wine, cajun spice and a good amount of pepper.
  4. Allow to simmer for 10 mins.
  5. Put water onto boil for the pasta.
  6. Chop the feta and basil (and spinach).
  7. When you are ready to eat add the cream.
  8. Taste and add extra pepper or lemon juice to your taste.
  9. Best eaten with a spoon as the gravy is not thick.

Health Tips:

Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K, manganese, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Sun Dried Tomatoes  provide vitamins C and K, iron, and lycopene, an antioxidant associated with lower risk of certain cancers.

Spelt, with its mild, nutty flavor, is a popular alternative to wheat. It also provides several essential nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Willow_Worx_Health_Bran_Muffin

Health Bran Muffin

Health Bran Muffins

A quick and easy recipe that allows you to get all the goodness your family needs into one muffin.

  • 30 Mins
  • Low GL
  • 6 Muffins
  • Wheat
  • Easy
  • Dairy Free

Ingredients:

 Snowflake Bran Muffin Easy Mix 500g (Only need half - 250g)

 1 egg

 375ml water

 2 apples

 2 tsp. flax seed powder

 3 tsp. of ground Ultimate 4 Seed Mix (Lifestyle Food from Dischem) 

 2 tsp. Chia seeds

 2 tsp. Cacao Maca (Health Connection from Dischem)

 1/2 cup Pecan nuts

Optional : 

If you would like to make the muffins from scratch view our Bran Muffin Recipe 

 Can add one banana instead of 2 apples.

 Can replace the water with milk.

 Can add 125ml of oil (recommend coconut oil)

 Can replace Cacao Maca with unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Add the 250g of easy mix to mixing bowl.
  3. Grate the 2 apples.
  4. Add all the above ingredients and apples to mixture.
  5. Hand mix all the ingredients.
  6. Spoon equal quantities of the mixture into a well-greased muffin pan.
  7. Bake for +/- 20 minutes (they should be a crispy on top)
  8. Place onto cooling rack.
  9. Serve warm with some butter on the side.

Health Tips:

Flax Seeds are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, lignans and fiber. These can be used to improve digestive health, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol and may benefit people with diabetes.

Chai Seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium.

Cacao is the most pure form of chocolate and it's packed with antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium. Maca (powder from the Peruvian maca root) has a malty vanilla flavor, and it's good for fatigue.

Pecans are excellent sources of manganese and copper, two minerals that boost overall metabolic health, may contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Ultimate 4 Seed Mix is a Combination Of Flax (Linseed), Sesame,Sunflower And Pumpkin Seed, Naturally Delivers High Levels Of Protein, Fibre And Essential Fatty Acids.