Paediatric Occupational Therapy
What Occupational Therapy does
The primary goal of Occupational Therapy is to empower individuals to participate in the activities of everyday life to the best of their abilities.
Occupational Therapy supports the individual to engage in activities they want to do, have to do, and delight in doing. Occupational Therapy not only supports the individual directly in the activity, but also in the development and / or rehabilitation of underlying skills and capacities that may be limiting the individuals capacity to participate in activities, as well as the provision of supports in the forms of techniques, strategies, and education to both the individual and their support network to be able to maximise the individual’s ability to participate.
Activities can include the most basic areas of life such as self-care, through to the more advanced areas of life such as engagement in play and leisure.
Occupational Therapy achieves this through working on the following areas:
- Gross motor skills: The big body movements such as standing, balancing, running, jumping, hopping, climbing, throwing and catching, etc.
- Fine motor skills: The smaller movements using the hands such as manipulating objects, managing clothing fasteners, and using tools.
- Self-care skills: The basic everyday skills that support your ability to engage in other areas of life such as showering / bathing, personal hygiene, toileting, dressing, eating, and sleep.
- Play / Leisure skills: Support children in their ability to engage in different types of play, and supporting children and adults to be able to engage in their leisure pursuits.
- Handwriting: Improving coordination and control when using writing implements, positioning of letters on the line, increasing readability of written work, consistency in formation of letters and numbers, increasing work pace.
- School readiness skills: Skills that will help the child succeed in the learning environment.
- Visual perception: Supporting the brain’s ability to make sense of what the eyes see.
- Sound integration: Organising the brain by using sound to calm the emotional and physiological state, improving nervous system regulation as well as improving auditory functions.
- Sensory processing: Organising sensations from within the individual’s own body as well as those registered from the environment the individual is in, making sense of these senses and being able to then organise and use the body effectively in the environment.
- Social skills: Supporting the individuals ability to be able to interact with others, establish and maintain meaningful relationships.
- Emotional regulation: Supporting the client in understanding their bodily sensations and what these may mean as to how the client is feeling, understanding why, validation of their experience, and providing both the individual and support network with appropriate strategies to help change their experience if necessary.
- Cognitive skills: Developing the individuals ability to plan out and sequence tasks, to be able to follow instructions, to understand concepts, improve attention, memory, and thinking skills.