An Occupational Therapist (OT) helps people do their daily “occupations.” This includes all the things we do to take care of ourselves, to work, and to play. For a child, some examples of these daily activities would be:
Self-care: Eating, sleeping, toileting, dressing, bathing, grooming
Play and social skills: Using toys, crafts, playing games, making friends
Work/school: Printing, cutting, sitting still, following a routine, chores
The Occupational Therapist also looks at some of the reasons why it might be hard for a child to do his or her "occupations." For example:
Occupational Therapists want to help a child to be more independent, to build skills for success, and to increase self-esteem. They also want to help the family to feel more confident in helping their child. An O.T. wants to help a child to function in daily life, including all the places where they live, work, and play. He or she may work in the school, the daycare, the child’s home, or other places in the community.
OT treatment for your child may be carried out directly by the therapist. It may also be delivered by a teacher, a classroom assistant, a therapy assistant or yourself at home. The therapist will be able to provide programs and/or training on specific treatment techniques. OT is frequently delivered by a combination of the above methods, either individually or in groups.
To help the child be more successful, the O.T. might do some of these things:
- Work with the child to develop skills (example: cutting skills)
- Make changes to the materials being used (example: larger playing pieces for a game)
- Suggest changes to the surroundings (example: position of the child in the classroom)
- Provide specialized equipment (example: visual schedule, weighted blanket, adapted toy)