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What is Occupational Therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy (OT):

 

  • As regulated healthcare professionals, OT's work creatively and collaboratively with our clients, their families, and the community to provide support for reaching our therapy goals.

 

  • Through play, purposeful interaction, assessment, and intervention we work to assist in reaching developmental goals

 

  • OT is a form of intervention in which the therapist and child work to develop or improve skills for daily living through activity. Principal “occupations” of childhood include play, school performance, community participation, and self-care

 

  •  OT’s use of family-centered goals and a variety of tools/frameworks. Our therapy approach is specifically tailored to each child

 

As OT’s we:

 

  • Use occupation as the end goal & as a therapeutic medium

 

  • Holistically considering physical, cognitive, sensory, social, emotional, developmental, spiritual & environmental aspects of participation

  • Help to enable independence and participation by developing skills, restoring function, modifying the environment, and promoting health & wellbeing

  • Work creatively and collaboratively to inspire potential, build; self-esteem, skills, confidence & success.


 

OT helps to Build Skills for Daily Living in:

 

  • Infancy and childhood developmental milestones

  • Primitive Reflex integration

  • Feeding skills development and positioning 

  • Gross/Fine motor such as coordination, motor planning, balance, grasp, release, object manipulation & dexterity

  • Printing & cursive competence

  • Sensory integration & regulation

  • Functional social skills including play skills & peer interactions

  • Visual-motor/perception such as hand-eye coordination, writing & ball skills

  • Organization, following routine, transitioning & planning skills

  • Environmental adaptations including assistive devices, splints & equipment for dressing, feeding & school participation

  • Communication skills

  • Self-regulation & emotional regulation

  • Cognitive skills, attention, executive functioning & learning skills

  • Self-care & self-help such as dressing, feeding

Image by Jon Tyson

Common Reasons for OT:

  • Delays in development

  • Difficulty with school participation

  • Sensory regulation challenges 

  • Low muscle tone or high muscle tone 

  • Diagnosis’ that impacts physical, cognitive, or developmental progress 

  • Challenge with activities of daily living including; sleep, play, learning, communiction, motor development, feeding, dressing, and self-care 

 

Motor Skills

  • Trips frequently, poor balance, ‘clumsy’

  • Appears ‘floppy’ and awkward with movements

  • Difficulty learning new motor tasks

  • Immature pencil grip or letter formation

  • Dislikes hand-eye coordination tasks

  • Poor writing/drawing, messy, slow to write

  • Difficulty with scissor skills

  • Difficulty with manipulating objects in hands

 

Visual Perception

  • Letter reversals (e.g. b/d)

  • Difficulty copying from the board

  • Difficulty with puzzles or block designs

  • Challenge with organization and concentration

  • Challenge with writing and drawing 

  • Challenges with balance 

 

Self-Regulation and Emotional Development 

  • Poor self-esteem

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Challenge with social skills

  • Difficulty regulating emotions, hard time calming

  • Anxious, timid, aggressive

  • Challenge to understand or express emotions 

 

Self Care 

  • Difficulty dressing

  • Cannot use age-appropriate utensils for eating

  • Messy eater, picky eater or difficulty feeding

  • Challenge with sequencing routine 

 

Sensory

  • Fidgety and fiddles constantly

  • Busy, always on the go, cannot sit still

  • Becomes upset when feet are off the ground

  • Avoids messy play and textures

  • Picky/selective eater

  • Sensitive to touch or doesn't notice touch

  • Visually distracted, seeks lights, spins objects

  • Upset by loud noises, distracted by noise

  • Trouble sleeping or settling down

  • Sensory integration disorders 

Image by Annie Spratt