by Jason Drusbacky, MOT, OTR/L
At The Center for LifeSkills parents often ask us what an occupational therapist does – and no, it’s not helping people find jobs!
Occupational therapists, also known as OTs, work with children of all ages and collaborate with their families to increase participation and independence in meaningful and purposeful activities, also known as occupations. Occupation refers to activities that support the health and well-being of an individual (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2014). For children, their primary occupation is play. It’s through play that they achieve developmental milestones.
Occupational therapists use a client- and family-centered approach to meet recommended occupational performance goals, which are established during the initial evaluation. The OT will implement an established treatment plan and communicate with the family and caregiver to integrate the treatment strategies into the child’s daily routine.
Occupational therapists help children become independent in areas listed below and their activities of daily living, which include: feeding, dressing, toileting, bathing and hygiene/grooming.
A child may receive occupational therapy services for:
- Fine motor skills (handwriting, using scissors)
- Gross motor skills (catching/throwing a ball, strength, and coordination)
- Sensory processing skills (afraid of loud noises, hesitant to engage in messy play, frequently bumping into things, unable to sit still)
- Activities of daily living/self-care skills (buttoning, zipping, dressing, shoe tying)
- Visual processing (difficulty completing puzzles or locating items in a drawer)
Benefits of participation in occupational therapy services include:
- Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
- Independence with school and homework tasks
- Improved social participation skills
- Increased emotional regulation and coping skills
- Improvement in motor planning and sequencing skills
Here at The Center for Lifeskills we have a great team of OTs who use creative, fun and innovative methods to help your child grow.
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain & process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68 (Suppl. 1), S1-S48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.682006