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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.

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