Occupational therapists help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers.
Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.
Benefits Of Occupational Therapy For Children
Kids occupational therapy has numerous benefits. The therapy is used for a wide range of diseases and disorders and prepares the kids to lead healthy and normal life. Some of the benefits are as follows.
General Activities of Daily Life:
The list starts with providing aid to the young ones facing difficulties in daily activities like brushing, dressing, toileting, writing, drawing, etc. The therapy helps develop these self-help skills in the children.
Sensory Processing Issues:
It is generally observed that children with sensory processing issues are unable to synthesize information in the basic five senses i.e. sight, smell, touch, hear, and taste. These children may experience over-sensitivity, under-sensitivity, or both at
different places like school, home, or anywhere. These kids often feel difficulty in paying attention and get distracted by a loud fire alarm and other such things. They also try to avoid recess and activities going on around them. Occupational therapy can help those young ones regain the skills and addresses the issue in a proper manner.
Kids with Cerebral Palsy:
The occupational therapy is also beneficial for the ones suffering from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and other disorders in which the kid needs a wheelchair. The OT practitioner teaches the kid to use the wheelchair in a proper manner and come for the lunch, make for the class on time, get things out from their locker, and more.
Kids with Autistic Spectrum Disorder:
Autism and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) are somewhat related but are not same. Kids with SPD may not suffer from autism, but the reverse may be true. The kid suffering from SPD has trouble communicating other people, limited play skills, less interest in activities, etc. The occupational therapy practitioner can help gain these skills by observing the child’s behavior and
developing a plan for them. The OT uses different sets of methods and plans, and there is no such single ideal program. These may include activities to help with interaction, puzzles to develop coordination and awareness and more.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skill involves the movement of muscles in arms, legs, etc. whereas fine muscle skills involve the use of small muscles in forearm and fingers. Kids having trouble with these skills may experience difficulty in walking, bicycling, and other. Occupational therapy can be used to deal with the condition and eventually eradicate it.
Occupational Therapy can benefit a person with autism by attempting to improve the quality of life for the individual. The aim is to maintain, improve, or introduce skills that allow an individual to participate as independently as possible in meaningful life activities. Coping skills, fine motor skills, play skills, self help skills, and socialization are all targeted areas to be addressed.
Teaching activities including dressing, feeding, toilet training, grooming, social skills, fine motor and visual skills that assist in writing and scissor use, gross motor coordination to help the individual ride a bike or walk properly, and visual perceptual skills needed for reading and writing.
Occupational therapy is usually part of a collaborative effort of medical and educational professionals, as well as parents and other family members. Through such collaboration a person with autism can move towards the appropriate social, play and learning skills needed to function successfully in everyday life.