Does your child experience challenges in day-to-day activities at school or home? Or maybe there's been an unfortunate accident and your child needs to have his or her needs taken care of by multiple medical professionals. If so, a certified occupational therapist could be of great help to your child. In addition to organizing and monitoring all the right treatment plan, they treat people with sensory, cognitive, and physical problems.
Occupational therapy is a branch of healthcare. It is a treatment for problems with coordination and movement. Such issues make it hard for kids to take care of themselves or partake in activities.
Research shows that occupational therapy for children improves their participation in life roles. It helps them develop fine motor skills.
With time they improve in their performance in daily activities. In turn, this boosts their sense of self-accomplishment and self-esteem. Here is everything you need to know about occupational therapy for children.
What Is Occupational Therapy for Children?
You probably heard of occupational therapists (OTs). Or your physician has recommended you take your child to one. But you're not sure how they may help your child.
An occupational therapist (OT) works in private children's clinics, children's hospitals, and schools. Their role is to help kids achieve independence in their day-to-day skills. Such skills are necessary to build their independence.
Therapists work on their self-care skills, school readiness, and social and emotional regulation. The end goal is to boost their sense of accomplishment.
Occupational therapy can benefit your child in many ways. It is for all children behind in any development, or recovery. They can get customized occupational therapy to master new skills.
The good news is that kids don't see it as work but instead view it as games they play. The more games they participate in, the more skills they acquire to get further ahead.
Occupational therapists are the main contributors within the education team and at home. Their role is to support a child's ability to do daily activities or ''occupations''. They not only promote positive behavior but also support children's academic achievement.
All these are essential for proper growth and development. They are experts in environmental and activity analysis. They facilitate access to curricular and extracurricular activities.
OT's play a huge role in educating parents, administrators, and educators. They collaborate with them to help children with coordination and movement problems. It ensures that everyone knows what to do for the child to succeed.
How Does Occupational Therapy Work for Children?
Every child's occupation is to learn and play. Some children experience difficulties with learning and play. It could be a result of a condition they were born with or an injury. Or perhaps they have differences in their learning style.
When a child's ability to play and learn is affected, it impacts their health and independence. Not only that, it could affect their perception of themselves.
An occupational therapist can help improve their capacity to learn and play. They will assist them to live more independently. Their role is to evaluate the child's school performance and everyday activities.
Children of all ages can benefit from occupational therapy. It helps enhance their skills and aid them to be more independent.
Children with the following conditions might benefit occupational therapy:
- Birth injuries or defects traumatic injuries to spinal cord or brain
- Sensory processing disorders
- Mental health or behavioral problems
- Learning problems
- Developmental delays
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- Post-surgical conditions
- Traumatic amputations severe hand injuries
- Spina bifida
- Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses
What Happens During a Children's Occupational Therapy Session?
Your child's first occupational therapy appointment will be an evaluation. Evaluation includes observation through play, a standardized test, and medical history information.
Before the process begins, the parent has to fill a series of documents. It's also a good idea to write a list of questions or concerns that you may have.
Initial therapy sessions include consulting the child's parents. It helps the therapist to understand the child's nervous and brain system. The evaluation and analysis process can go on for subsequent sessions.
At least one parent has to be in the room with their child during the first appointment. It may take some time for the child to warm up to the therapist. That's why first appointments take close to two hours.
The therapists will discuss with the parent detailed information to clarify essential sections. Their role is to collect additional details on different areas.
Most therapists handle parent interviews without the child present. It makes it easier for parents to express their concerns freely.
The therapist will focus on the child during the next session and do activities together. The occupational therapy room looks like a huge playroom. It has different toys and movement-based play equipment.
Organizing or sensory processing is how a child learns about the world around them. Such experiences help the child with social engagement, self-regulation, and emotional regulation.
Each session is tailored to address the areas your child is experiencing problems. After two or three sessions, the therapist will provide a complete assessment report.
The report briefly outlines the therapy suggestions. It explains the observations and results taken during the assessment.
Then, the therapist will provide recommendations and a therapy plan. OT plans include the frequency and duration of treatment.
What Can Children's Occupational Therapy Help With?
Children with developmental delays need to see an occupational therapist. They will help them navigate and investigate their environment independently. Here is what children's occupational therapy can help with.
Your Mental Abilities
A pediatric occupational therapist offers services to children with mental disorders. They include depression, autism, bipolar disorder, and others. They provide solutions to anything that may affect a child's cognitive abilities.
Occupational therapy practitioners promote mental health in different settings. They also cater to children from families with social or economic disadvantages. They promote healthy and safe environments for growth and learning.
Finding the Right Materials or Devices to Help You
A pediatric occupational therapist will identify at-home products that can benefit your child. They include children with orthopedic injuries, autism, learning problems, developmental delays, and more.
A therapist will assess your child's motor skills and consult the parent. It helps them to come up with a customized plan for at-home therapy.
For example, they can do coordination and balance activities for gross motor skills. You can buy tools for finger exercises to improve their motor skills.
Different products can help your child achieve their treatment goals. The therapist will recommend the best ones to achieve a high rate of success.
Finding the Right Emotional Support
An occupational therapist provides emotional support to children. These are kids who cannot do activities that promote their growth and development. It could be because they have a learning disability or medical condition.
They identify the difficulties and strengths that children have in everyday life. Then, they come up with practical solutions.
OT's identify goals that can help children improve and maintain their independence. They use different techniques. They can use new equipment or change their environment for emotional support.
Organizing the Physical Setup for Your Home, Workspace, or Classroom
Occupational therapists have specific skills and expertise to help children with different conditions. They organize the physical setup to reduce barriers that limit children's participation. The result is increased participation in daily routines.
They also provide assistive technology to support children with significant challenges. They help determine the most appropriate methods for alternative educational learning and assessment. Children can develop self-determination advocacy skills to help improve their performance in school.
Parents should support their children by engaging in individualized educational programs. Also, they can assist their children in doing homework. While doing so, they should monitor the volume of work and stress levels.
Organizing the physical setup to match the child's needs can improve their problems. It can have a huge impact on the success of your child.
How Long Would a Child Need Occupational Therapy For?
Any new parent to pediatric therapy can easily be overwhelmed by the ins and outs of therapy. The most common question among many parents is, ''how long with my child need occupational therapy?''
Most of them get frustrated once they hear the answer is, ''it depends.'' Each child is built differently in regards to their needs and skill level. Some may need more time, while others may progress quickly.
If your child has more needs than others, they will take a longer time in occupational therapy. A therapist will use clinical observations and standardized assessments to evaluate your child. They will interview important people like parents and teachers in the child's life.
The goal is to identify the child to determine their needs in different environments. They will provide you with information on the frequency and length of therapy needed. But knowing the exact duration your child requires therapy can be difficult.
The therapist will do progress reports. It will help them know if there is a need to decrease or increase the frequency of therapy. So, the duration of treatment varies depending on the diagnosis of your child.
Children with autism usually need therapy for a longer time. They have challenges in many areas of their life. They include fine motor skills, sensory processing, and self-care skills.
You cannot compare them to a child with difficulties focusing on and writing. It means there is no specific answer to the length of time your child needs occupational therapy. It all depends on the interventions and the progress made at different places.
As a parent, you have to communicate with your child's therapist constantly. They will let you know if more therapy is needed and the ideal time to discharge the child.
Think of discharges as posing or taking a break in therapy. You never know if your child will require the services again as they continue growing.
What Is the Success Rate for Children's Occupational Therapy?
The earliest years of a child's are filled with new experiences and stimulations. All these are essential for their physical, social, and cognitive growth.
The first 3 years are crucial for brain development. This is especially for children with restricted or delayed development. Occupational therapy is vital for such a child to develop optimally.
Early intervention provides children who are at risk of developing disabilities. Occupational therapy is part of the services offered as early intervention.
It benefits children with specific conditions like autism and Down syndrome. It's also helps children with no proper diagnosis but have coordination problems. Occupational therapy has a high success rate for children as it instills a desire for them to learn at a young age.
Rewarding responses from caregivers can motivate a child to learn. Therapy encourages them to be happy about their accomplishments.
Occupational therapy services are tailored to fit the child's family. The services change depending on the progress made between therapy visits.
The time a child spends with their family between occupational therapy is crucial. So, it takes the effort of the parent, teachers, and child to give the best outcome.
Access early intervention services in your area. Your healthcare professional or pediatrician can refer you to the best occupational therapist. Keep in mind that the therapist you choose will determine if the process will be successful.
Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?
Occupational therapists (OCTs) are educated professionals with specialized knowledge of occupational therapy services. They have the necessary skills to determine the best corrective or preventive action.
Their role is to help adults and children lead a more satisfying and productive life. They are trained to know the physical and medical limitations of an injury or disability. They may come to your home, workplace, or classroom.
Occupational therapists work in different settings, including:
- Rehabilitation centers
- Outpatient clinics
- Private practice offices
- Your home
Choose the Best Occupational Therapy for Children Service Provider
Identify a qualified pediatric occupational therapist with an undergraduate degree. This degree can be anatomy, liberal arts, kinesiology, biology, or psychology.
The best occupational therapy for children focuses on children of all ages. Compare multiple therapists to identify one who can best meet your child's needs.
At Insurdinary, we offer all you want out of your insurance, credit cards, and loans. If you want to save money on financial products and insurance, you've come to the right place. Our company provides you with quotes from leading providers in Canada.
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