What Can Occupational Therapy Accomplish?
Occupational therapy helps people learn or relearn the performance of everyday activities. Activities often taken for granted — using scissors, sleeping, eating, and using the bathroom, are all taught by occupational therapists. Adults looking to remain independent can benefit from this type of therapy, just as can children who are hoping to become independent. Both adults and children can benefit when looking to recover from a debilitating incident as well.
Whether someone is using it to battle a neurological issue, or to assist with a physical or sensory issue, occupational therapy can help people of all ages achieve independence.
What Is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?
Has your child’s teacher complained that they aren’t using scissors well enough? Recognizing a small issue like this can be a small bump for your child to get over, or it can be indicative of larger issues. Collaboration is key — children interact with a variety of adults, and they all can play a role in identifying and removing obstacles from a child’s development or recovery. When these adults (teachers, parents, therapists) share notes, they set the child up for success. Occupational Therapy can help.
In occupational therapy, kids learn how they learn best — through play. When a sport is practiced every day, skill improves. What was difficult on day one is easier on day 30. Pediatric occupational therapy works the same way — visual, sensory, and fine motor skills are taught through play and if done regularly, will become easier for the child each time. Working through behavioral, social, sensory, and motor challenges regularly will take a child’s self-esteem to new heights and improve their developmental track.
Who Should Seek Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy can help anyone looking to improve most skill sets. Specifically:
If a person is having trouble with holding writing instruments, buttoning buttons, or manipulating smaller objects, an occupational therapist will help them work on fine motor skills. If they have trouble identifying shapes and colors, writing letters, or drawing, they would work on visual motor skills. Children or adults who have trouble with things like cutting with scissors or completing a puzzle will work on hand-eye coordination. An occupational therapist will concentrate on visual perception with a person who has difficulty with dyslexia, sorting, and matching.
Social and self-care skills are also taught through occupational therapy. Interacting with people and learning routines, or personal actions like tying shoes, dressing, bathing, grooming, and feeding oneself fall under these categories.
When there’s too much (or too little) sensitivity to noise, smells, lights, touch, movement, or issues with self-regulation or bodily awareness, a therapist will work on sensory processing. More commonly known as physical therapy, occupational therapists work on physical skills with patients needing help with range of motion and strength. Especially seen in adults, moving shoulders, knees, necks fingers, et al, can become difficult for a variety of reasons, the therapist will use exercises to work through the issues. Strength training is helpful for activities ranging from opening jars to holding body positions.