What is Occupational Therapy (O.T)?

Occupational Therapists are health professionals who enable people to improve their health and wellbeing, and address the limitations of injury, illness or health conditions. Occupational Therapists believe in the importance of participation in meaningful activities (or occupations) and a holistic approach to wellness.

Occupational Therapists have a detailed understanding of the complex systems of the human anatomy and their interrelationship with other systems and the external environment. They specialise in seeing the human body as a “whole”, rather than focusing on individual injury sites or body parts.

The overall aim of OT is to help you achieve optimal health and wellbeing – to allow you to live your best life.

What is Paediatric Occupational Therapy?

Paediatric Occupational Therapists use purposeful activity to facilitate a child’s active participation in learning and development and to strengthen and enhance their skills for learning and life.

THE MAIN “OCCUPATIONS”  forCHILDREN INCLUDE :

  • SOCIAL & PLAY DEVELOPMENT,
  • SCHOOL ACADEMIC LEARNING,
  • AND MASTERING INDEPENDENCE IN SELF CARE & LIFE SKILLS.(‘ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING.’)

What areas of development does a Paediatric Occupational Therapist provide support?

The Occupational Therapist may focus on the following areas to support and maximise your child’s health, development  and emerging independence in these occupations -of learning, play, self care and life skills.

Viva Kids Occupational Therapy can support
your child’s development in the following key areas

GROSS MOTOR & CORE STRENGTH

Gross motor skills develop the strength, endurance and coordination of your child’s large muscles. By strengthening a child’s core muscle strength, this supports their ability to move, walk, run, jump, hop, skip, sit, ride a bike and throw or kick a ball. These skills require good postural control, balance, bilateral motor coordination, motor planning and sequencing. The development of a strong and coordinated gross motor system is a vital  foundation for most of our other movement skills.

FINE MOTOR & HAND STRENGTH

Fine motor skills develop the strength, endurance and coordination of small muscles such as their hands fingers, feet, toes and eyes. Fine motor skills are vital to support your child’s emerging independence. Effective fine motor skills are required for eating, dressing and handwriting. Learning to effectively hold and use everyday items such as pencils, cutlery, buttons, laces, and the ability to use the hands with precision and control help a child to gain confidence in their everyday activities. These skills require good postural control and sensory – motor feedback.

SENSORY PROCESSING

Sensory processing is how we process and respond to information we receive from our body and our environment. We are all different in the amounts (capacity) of sensory input that make us feel comfortable. Some children may find some sensory input ‘too much’ and find ways to avoid this, whilst others may find some sensory input ‘not enough’ and therefore they will seek the input. Finding strategies to help our sensory system and central nervous system to feel calm and safe will support our attention, learning and sense of wellbeing.

VISUAL PERCEPTION SKILLS

Visual perception is the ability to process and use visual information to recognise, recall, discriminate and make meaning of what we see. It is an important component in developing the ability to read and write.
Visual processing skills are required for things such as jigsaw puzzles, managing locks, zippers, buttons, pasting, tracing, copying, colouring and drawing, reading and writing and academic progress.

ATTENTION / ORGANISATION / MEMORY

Attention, organisation and memory are vital everyday and school skills to help us to focus on the right things. They support our ability to filter out what is not important and focus on what is important. These skills are vital for life and academic learning. They support a child’s ability to follow instructions, organise themselves, tool and their workspaces. These cognitive skills can support our ability to follow school tasks, routines and transitions. Strengthening these areas can support a child to be more confident, independent and organised for their daily tasks and to be able to plan ahead.

SELF REGULATION / EMOTIONAL REGULATION

Emotional regulation relates to the skills of knowing how to make sense of emotions that we all experience. We learn to match our reactions to the size of the problem, understand how our emotions impact on others (social thinking) and use tools to regulate our emotions (self-regulation). This is a vital life skill that impacts learning, participation and friendships. There are a lot of positive scaffolding strategies and support that we can provide as children learn about the 3 positive aspects of self regulation – their behaviour, their language and their thinking.

PLAY AND SOCIAL SKILLS

Play and Social skills help us to understand other’s points of view so we develop better interactions and friendships. We can learn strategies to help enter and exit conversations, play, share and negotiate with others. It involves active listening, taking turns, managing conflicts, problem solving, showing gratitude. Through play and social interactions children are able to learn the vital life skills to support the health of the important relationships in their lives. Play and social skills are incorporated into our therapy sessions.

SELF-CARE

Self-care skills support the development of independence in everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, toileting, brushing teeth, grooming hair, and using cutlery at mealtimes. This also includes productivity and participation in enjoyable hobbies. and participating in chores/ tasks to help at home. It also includes the ability to sleep – including falling asleep and staying asleep. These skills use a combination of physical and cognitive skills. A child may need scaffolding support to guide and support their self-care skills until they are able to gradually gain confidence and independence which further contributes to their overall sense of well-being.