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October 26, 2021

Occupational Therapy For Children

Occupational therapy for children is provided when a child struggles to conduct everyday activities throughout the home and school life, which relates to various health conditions, either developed from birth or early on in life.

The overall purpose of occupational therapy treatment is to encourage effective involvement in everyday tasks that represent a balanced development in a child’s life. Depending on the condition, an occupational therapist provides an insight into the specifics regarding a child’s disorder and then outlines a treatment plan best suited to the needs for a healthier life.

What is an Occupational Therapist?

Little girl attending occupational therapy for children

Occupational therapists (OT) deal with children experiencing mental, physical, social or learning disorders. Conditions can include disease-related issues, psychological or emotional issues, learning disability, mental impairment, or handicap disabilities. Occupational therapy for children involves monitoring a child’s motor skills social and cognitive skills, including the emotional state to function within standard social settings.

Three main aspects of an occupational therapist include developing the child’s ability to play, self-care, and learning social encounters. Depending on the child’s weaknesses and overall setting, OTs are usually assigned to hospitals, schools or home environments.

To gain significant results for a child’s everyday routines, Occupational therapists must cooperate with various professionals, family members, and close associates to implement the best possible plan. These include:

  • Parent and family members must consistently assist the child’s emotional, visual, and intellectual problems that impede their involvement in play, daily functioning, and community engagements. A stable family environment also provides emotional support towards their treatment plan.
  • Social workers, counsellors and psychologists are examples of professionals who deal with people experiencing mental health disorders, including children. The progression of the overall treatment plan for a child can be significdiaryantly improved with the help of these professionals for insights on interactions, social encounters, and cognitive skill strategies.
  • School staff assists students undergoing occupational therapy to develop skills to successfully perform academic and playtime activities, including improved communication with school staff and fellow students.

Children Who Require Occupational Therapy

Common conditions that require occupational therapists for children include autism, physical disabilities and mental health disorders.

Children with autism are assisted by OT’s during the early stages with the appropriate treatment, which depends on the child’s ability for everyday functions. OT’s who treat children with autism often work closely with parents, teachers and carers to develop a realistic plan to allow the child to learn social and practical skills while monitoring each stage moving forward. 

Children who suffer from mental health disorders may require regular assistance from occupational therapists, beginning with identifying early signs of mental health issues. Typical mental health conditions related to children include depression, bipolar disorder or high anxiety.

Here is a list of additional conditions that may require occupational therapy for children:

  • Birth deformities or traumas
  • Learning difficulties like dyslexia and ADHD
  • Delays in adolescence development
  • Infant behavioural issues
  • Accidents from a traumatic experience

Benefits from Occupational Therapy

Benefits from occupational therapy come in various ways when a treatment plan is carried out accordingly. For example, infants and adolescents with social and behavioral problems can improve their ability to carry out productive and healthy habits throughout school and home life. Their therapist can assist them in carrying out constructive daily practices like expressing their feelings through a diary or physical exercise.

Children who have difficulty forming or maintaining friendships may also benefit from occupational therapy as several factors exist as to why social encounters may be challenging for a child experiencing mental, social or learning disorders. In addition, ongoing treatment with OTs can allow each child to take incremental steps by practising social encounters and learning appropriate habits in social environments.

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