Occupational therapy is not reserved only for adults and senior citizens, as the standard association suggests. Children benefit from this type of medical intervention as well; it is often the key to their future success and independence. Occupational specialists fill many roles in their young patients' lives. They are the children's advocates, playmates, mentors, and aids. |
An array of stimulating toys can be found in the office or workbag of an occupational therapist. These toys are specific to the ages and abilities of each patient. For instance, a child might work on throwing and catching a ball during one session with his therapist while another might play with a sensory gel puzzle. The ball exercise is likely to enhance gross motor skills while a gel puzzle is used to work on visual processing and hand-eye coordination.
Toys hold a special place in this type of therapy because they allow patients to work on improving skills without conscious knowledge of doing so. The specialist presents a toy during each session under the pretext of playing with the child. The child then gets a chance to work on the exercise naturally and without reservation, which in turn gives the therapist the opportunity to accurately assess any progress made.
Children with developmental delays often need pointers in terms of social skills. It is a therapist's job to fine-tune or assess these skills through exercises much like those used for physical development. Social lessons are usually based on interactions with close friends and family members, so they take place either at home or school.
Sessions meant to enhance a child's social ability might entail a concept as simple as a one-on-one conversation, or something more complex, such as reinforcing proper behavior in the child's classroom. As with play sessions, work revolving around social skills is integrated naturally into the child's life so that the patient can act and react as normal as possible to the techniques being taught.
Daily Living Skills
Children who are physically or otherwise disabled need to learn independence and self-care in unique ways. In this area, their occupational therapy sessions are based at home or in a simulated environment. Self-care exercises might include the introduction of simple hygiene such as brushing teeth and applying deodorant, and daily basics such as feeding and dressing oneself.
To ensure the child's maximum independence, a therapist must first assess what the patient can and cannot do on his own. After assessing the child's abilities, the therapist must develop alternative ways in which these tasks can be completed. Due to each child's unique circumstances, self-care options always vary from patient to patient.
Occupational therapy for children is a multifaceted practice. Through this type of intervention, children's lives are enriched and developed to their full potential.
When looking for occupational therapy, Boston residents consult South Shore Therapies. Learn more at http://www.southshoretherapies.com/our_services/occupational_therapy/.
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