Occupational therapy (OT) is a branch of health care that helps people of all ages who have any kind of physical, sensory, or cognitive problems. OT can help them regain independence in all areas of their lives. Occupational therapists help with challenges that affect a person’s emotional, social, and physical needs. To do this, they use everyday activities, exercises, and other therapies. In the case of kids and OT, play, improves their school performance, and aids their daily activities. It also boosts their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.
What can kids improve with occupational therapy?
- Develop fine and better motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting or computer skills.
- Improve eye–hand coordination so they can play and be able at their needed school skills such as handling a bat and ball or copying from a blackboard.
- Master basic life skills such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and self-feeding.
- Learn positive behaviors and social skills by practicing how they manage their frustration and anger.
- If needed they can also get special equipment to help build their independence. These include wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, and communication aids.
Who might need occupational therapy?
OT can help both kids and teens who are battling;
- birth injuries or birth defects
- sensory processing disorders
- traumatic injuries to the brain or spinal cord
- learning problems
- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- mental health or behavioral problems
- broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
- developmental delays
- post-surgical conditions
- spina bifida
- traumatic amputations
- severe hand injuries
- multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses
What are some examples of activities done in OT?
- Self-care routines like getting dressed (fine motor skills and motor planning)
- Writing and copying notes (fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination)
- Holding and controlling a pencil, using scissors (fine motor skills, motor planning)
- Throwing and catching (gross motor skills like balance and coordination)
- Organizing a backpack (motor planning, organization skills)
- Reacting to sensory input (self-regulation skills)