Parents are frequently unfamiliar with occupational therapy when their child's school or pediatrician suggests the child could benefit from working with an occupational therapist (OT). From a therapy standpoint, occupations are the tasks of daily living. Examples of occupations in a child's life include playing, eating, dressing, writing, and toileting.
Occupational therapists can help children who have difficulties with their occupations due to problems such as developmental delay, injury, or illness.
Here are common skill areas that an OT can help a child with.
- Fine Motor Skills. These are the dexterity skills that involve using the small muscles in the hand and wrist. Fine motor skills are necessary for writing, holding a crayon, drawing, using scissors, and much more. For a younger child, an OT may use fun play-based activities to improve these skills. Therapy activities could include playing with slime, picking up objects with tweezers, or painting. For an older child, the OT may choose more complex multi-sensory activities like tracing a maze.
- Gross Motor Skills. These skills involve using the large muscles in the legs, arms, and torso. Children need to hone their gross motor skills to engage in play. Throwing a ball, riding a bike, jumping, skipping, and climbing are examples of gross motor activities. To develop these skills, the OT may have the child go through an obstacle course, play hopscotch, do jumping jacks, or jump on a trampoline.
- Self-Care. Children need the ability to take care of their personal needs to become independent adults. Daily self-care activities include buttoning a shirt, tying shoes, and brushing teeth. An OT can help a child develop the sequencing, motor planning, and motor skills required to complete self-care tasks.
- Social-Emotional. An OT can develop coping strategies for a child who has difficulty managing social interactions, anger, or impulsivity. Occupational therapists can address problems with sensory processing, focusing, and understanding someone else's emotions.
Occupational therapists who are looking for career advancement can contact Staffing Plus, Inc. to discuss the opportunities we have available.
To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
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