St. Brigid's Centre
St. Brigid's Centre
St. Brigid's Centre

Occupational Therapy

What Is Occupational Therapy and Who Might Need It?

Occupational therapy - a treatment that focuses on helping people achieve independence in all areas of their lives - can provide children with various needs with positive, fun activities to improve their cognitive, physical, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

 A child's main job is playing and learning, and an occupational therapist can evaluate a child's skills for play activities, school performance, and activities of daily living and compare them to what is developmentally appropriate for an age group.

In addition to dealing with an individual's physical well-being,occupational therapy practitioners address psychological, social, and environmental factors that may hinder an individual's functioning indifferent ways. This unique approach makes occupational therapy a vital part of health care for some children.

So who might use an occupational therapy practitioner? Kids with the following medical problems may benefit from occupational therapy:

  • birth injuries or birth defects
  • developmental co-ordination disorder/dyspraxia
  • sensory processing/integrative disorders
  • traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • learning problems
  • autism
  • attention deficit Hyperactivity disorder
  • pervasive developmental disorders
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • developmental delays
  • post-surgical conditions
  • spina bifida
  • traumatic amputations
  • severe hand injuries
  • multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses

One of the activities that occupational therapists can address to meet children's needs is working on fine motor skills so that kids can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills.Occupational therapists also address hand-eye coordination and visualmotor integration to improve play skills, such as hitting a target,batting a ball, or copying from a blackboard.

An occupational therapist can also:

  • help children with severe developmental delays to learn some basic tasks, such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves
  • help children through a group therapy approach  to improve hand writing skills and to improve or regulate level of alertness thus improving attention and concentration
  • teach children with physical disabilities the coordination skills required to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
  • evaluate each child's needs for specialized equipment, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing seats, or dressing devices