What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.
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 typically include:
- an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,
- customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
- an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.
Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.
What is pediatric occupational therapy?
The primary focus of a pediatric occupational therapist is to help children develop the skills they need to grow into adulthood. Whether its an injury, physical impairment, or other circumstances that stifle social, cognitive, and sensory development, occupational therapy can help. Advancing into life as an independent and functional adult requires learning and mastering basic skills at an early age. As children age, learning basic skills can become arduous, problems can compound, and overall progress can be stunted.
Is your child a candidate?
Pediatric occupational therapy can help kids with formal diagnoses as well as children that simply need help with social skills and confidence. Whether your child was premature, has ADHD or autism, or struggles to write, meeting with a pediatric occupational therapist can help. The following list includes the childhood skills that can develop with our services:
- Fine motor – finger dexterity, wrist and forearm control, and hand strength
- Cognitive – remembering letters, shapes and sequences
- Social – taking turns, listening and following directions
- Gross motor – balance and body coordination
- Basic self-care – dressing, bathing and self-feeding
Methods, equipment, & setting:
Like other professions, occupational therapists have a host of tools to use when working with children who are often reluctant to begin the process. Motivation comes in many ways and incorporates play, games, toys, puzzles, and exercise. These approaches minimize anxiety and reduce fear. In every setting, the goal of pediatric occupational therapy is to also build self-esteem and confidence while facilitating progress.
You will often find us working with kids at coloring tables, on the floor stacking blocks, in a quiet room with dim lighting, in a ball pit with bouncy balls, or simply enjoying a swing ride. Regardless of the specific tactic, parents and caregivers are welcome to watch each session.
Occupational therapist training:
Occupational therapists have undergraduate degrees in any number of fields and an advanced degree in occupational therapy from a nationally-recognized and accredited university. Pediatric occupational therapists undergo a 2-year extensive training program where they have hands-on requirements and must meet clinical expectations. To obtain certification, each therapist must pass a national licensure exam which measures their knowledge of the field; the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy certifies only those students that show a mastery of their evidence-based standards.
Certified occupational therapists are bound by a strict code of ethics while adhering to the confidentiality standards of HIPPA and FERPA. The entire staff of Sensory Scaffoldings undergoes a rigorous background investigation, which includes references from previous employers and investigation into criminal activity on the federal, state, and local levels. The code of ethics can be found here: https://ajot.aota.org/article.aspx?articleid=2442685