What is Occupational Therapy for children?
Occupational Therapy improves the functional skills that children require across all environments and across the age span to do the things that kids do:
- Play (both alone and with others)
- Learn (not just academically but in everything that they do socially, in movement, in self care)
- Attend to one task at a time
- Move with control (whether it be their fingers for drawing or their body for jumping)
- Develop independence in self care and self management skills
- Organize themselves (such as for playing a game, or packing their bags for school).
Kid Sense Occupational Therapy focuses on making everyday life easier for children with developmental challenges, their parents, and their extended network of families and carers.
Kid Sense Occupational Therapy helps children overcome developmental challenges in movement, play, learning, attention and behaviour.
At Kid Sense we don’t treat a diagnosis, we overcome the hurdles to daily life. Occupational Therapy helps children develop their abilities in*:
- Table top (Fine motor) skills: pencil skills, colouring, drawing, writing, scissor skills.
- Whole body (Gross motor) skills: running, jumping, hopping, skipping, ball skills, table posture.
- Sensory processing: sensory reactions to the body or external stimulus which impacts attention, behaviour and learning.
- Self care: daily skills of getting ready for life like dressing, toileting, hygiene, eating, sleeping.
- Self management: general organization, keeping track of personal items, knowing the time, and using money.
* Different skills are required at different ages and stages of education.
Occupational Therapy improves the functional skills that are required across environments. While the actual ‘therapy’ occurs with the therapist in the clinic (and home setting through home practice), our Occupational Therapy team works closely with parents, teachers and other care-givers to implement strategies to help develop physical, attention and play skills in child care, kindergarten and school environments.
Therapy is focused on developing and implementing skill development and strategies to aid this across all environments that the child encounters. Without this focus, children can just become very good at demonstrating a skill in one location, with one person and in one way they have practiced it. Occupational Therapy, like Speech Therapy, is focused on children being able to develop and then use skills across all environments they encounter to be the most flexible and proficient learners they can be.
Why Speech Therapy can help meet Occupational Therapy goals?
Due to the dynamic nature of children, their specific skill development progression and the ever changing environments (and the demands those environments place upon them) it is not uncommon to find that many children benefit from both Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. In fact often one directly helps the other. This can occur simultaneously or at different times (e.g. a term of Occupational Therapy, followed by a term of Speech Therapy). Your child’s therapist will be specific about this if and when it is appropriate to consider involving another discipline.
Speech Therapy can directly help Occupational Therapy by developing:
- A communication method for a very upset and frustrated child that allows them to express themselves and be understood and in doing so to calm for improved self regulation of attention and emotion.
- The language skills to listen to others that allows the child to talk through a step-by-step sequential process that then allows them to learn how to plan and sequence a task, and how to begin to overcome a challenge (that isn’t just having a tantrum!)
- Communication in its broadest sense (e.g. pointing) to begin the child understanding the value of developing language whilst still developing a functional short term communication method to help regulation.
- An understanding of the rules of language as it relates to grammar and spelling that have direct impacts upon handwriting skills and interest.
- Memory for academic but also self-management tasks (such as “where did I leave my lunch box?”)
The value of choosing Kid Sense as your provider of Occupational Therapy is that by providing both services on site, clients experience a truly integrated multi-disciplinary service rather than one that is discussed but that phone tag between professionals makes it difficult to deliver.