What is Occupational Therapy Anyway?
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a health profession that is over 100 years old! However, although OT is widely recognized in the medical world as a leading rehabilitative therapy, there are still many people who have questions. “What EXACTLY is OT, and why does my child need it?” I’m glad you asked! Occupational Therapy has many benefits for those who need help in functioning independently and safely in everyday tasks of life. Whether it’s at home, school, or a public event, OT can help people address functional deficits that keep them from living at their fullest potential! We can also provide Telehealth for OT! For the purposes of this blog, let’s focus on children!
Occupational Therapy for Children
Many people think of a “job” when they hear the word “occupation”. But in OT, an occupation is any role or function we as people operate in in daily life. For children, their main occupation is to learn and play! But, for some children who have neurological disorders, such as Autism and ADHD, learning and playing doesn’t always come so easily. Children with these disorders can have great difficulty performing scholastic tasks, staying seated and attending to activities, self-feeding, and even appropriately engaging with others during social activities and play.
The good news here is that OT has an excellent success rate in helping these children be the best they can be! OT addresses all of these troubles by working on; fine motor skills such as writing and manipulating buttons and zippers, gross motor skills like maintaining balance and coordination, cognitive function for attention and problem solving, and social conditioning to promote appropriate behaviors and responses with others.
Occupational therapy also addresses a HUGE component when working with children with Autism or ADHD; SENSORY INTEGRATION! Many children with these disorders are “sensory seeking”, and require special treatment approaches to help regulate their Central Nervous System. Symptoms of sensory seeking can include fixation or aversion to lights, sounds, and smells. It can also be exhibited through the constant need to touch or be touched, or even running and crashing into objects like the floor or couches. Some kids even like to spin themselves dizzy just to feel balanced! It can look pretty silly or shocking but is completely normal for those with Autism or ADHD. OT provides treatment and education to both children and parents to help regulate and decrease these behaviors.
Could Your Child or Someone Else’s Benefit From OT?
Like any form of treatment when an issue arises, the earlier the better. Especially when it comes to children. Early intervention for functional problems at home, with school, and social skills, sets a child up for future success! With the help of OT, difficulties and behaviors that can be prevalent in early childhood, may greatly reduce by the time a child is of adolescence or young adulthood. With the love and collaboration of therapists, children and their parents, the possibilities are endless!
Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation today!