What is Occupational Therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy?

  • Occupational therapy is a client centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life (World Federation of Occupational Therapists, 2010)
  • Occupational Therapy helps people to do the everyday things that they want to do and need to do when faced with illness, injury, and disability or challenging life events.
  • For children, we assess areas of potential difficulty, and assist children in reaching their maximum potential by facilitating development and achievement of developmental milestones

What is Occupation?

  • Occupations are the ordinary and familiar things that people do every day, anything that occupies a person’s time.
  • The main categories of occupation include productivity, self-care, play and leisure

Main Occupations of Childhood

  • Productivity – School/academics, writing, reading, learning etc
  • Self-care – grooming e.g. brushing teeth, washing yourself, grooming, feeding yourself, dressing etc
  • Leisure – playing with others, social interaction, hobbies, sports etc

What can impact occupational performance in children?

  • Sensory processing
  • Motor control and coordination
  • Praxis (ideation)
  • Play skills (repetitive)
  • Coping skills (dealing with change)

What to look out for?

  • Poor attention or concentration
  • Child has trouble being still and fidgets a lot/ child seems to disengage or “switch off” after a while
  • Decreased fine motor skills and poor handwriting
  • Clumsy, disorganised or forgetful
  • Trouble interacting with peers or authority figures appropriately
  • Difficulty controlling behaviour and emotional responses
  • Difficulty carrying out activities of daily living.