When most people think of occupational therapy sessions, many begin with images in a hospital or clinic, where a therapist might do repetitive motions or exercises with the patient. Sounds less dynamic than a rugby field, right? In fact, therapists are moving to the outdoors and team sports for some of their work, as seen with programs like Sense Rugby.
Sports like rugby are breaking the mold in terms of therapeutic practice, and giving patients - especially young ones - a chance to put their therapy into action with others.
Though known as a rough-and-tumble sport, rugby's physical maneuvers around and into people actually facilitates traditional occupational therapy techniques, like sensory regulation and mobility. Learning to play as part of a team also helps children with social and emotional difficulties learn better communication and behavior skills. In rugby, the players are able to learn to control their movements in a more regulated environment, making it comfortable, energizing, and fun for the kids. Overall, the sport gives the children a lot more confidence in themselves, their bodies, and with others.
Work like this is especially beneficial in a mostly sedentary environment and lifestyle. For children, getting outside and participating in sports does not just bring physical development, but these same sports are also important for cognitive development as well. The movement helps develop stronger nervous systems, which can be key to some disorders and disabilities.
Occupational therapy as a field is rapidly growing with new techniques to help patients. To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of hour blog.
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