Paediatric Occupational therapy focuses on helping children gain independence in their daily activities. Children’s occupations or daily activities include reaching developmental milestones, play, self-care (eating, sleeping, dressing, grooming, bathing), academic tasks (handwriting, fine motor skills, attention) and socializing. Paediatric Occupational therapy also strengthens the development of fine motor skills, sensory-motor skills, and visual-motor skills that children need to function and socialize.
Paediatric Occupational therapist’s role
A child’s role in life is to play and interact with other children. A paediatric occupational therapist evaluates a child’s current skills related to playing, school performance, and daily activities and compares them with what is developmentally appropriate for that age group.
The Paediatric OT is trained to assess development using various methods of assessment like
Self-care assessments - Play skill assessments - Sensory Profile - Fine Motor Assessments
Oro-motor and feeding evaluations, and various other outcome measures.
Paediatric OTs help children perform daily activities they may find challenging by addressing sensory, social, behavioural, motor, and environmental issues to reach the maximum potential to function independently and to promote active participation at home, in school and in the community.
Children who may benefit from Occupational therapy are the children with the following medical conditions
Autism or pervasive developmental disorders
ADD/ADHD - Developmental delays
Sensory Processing Disorders - Cerebral Palsy
Down syndrome - Oro-motor or feeding difficulties
And any condition that is affecting a child’s growth and development or, children having delays in skills impacting participation in home and school environments.
Areas worked on by a Paediatric Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists work with children in the following areas,
Promoting independence in daily living
including dressing grooming, brushing their teeth, feeding etc.
Facilitating developmental play skills
Facilitating fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills
Improving sensory processing skills such as organisation, self and emotional regulation and behavioural state.
Addressing hand-eye coordination to improve kids’ play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.)
Improving attention and social skills to allow the development of interpersonal relationships.
Maintaining positive behaviours in all environments (e.g., instead of hitting others or acting out, using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activity).