05 Mar Why Do Kids Need Occupational Therapy?
Since March is Women’s History Month and April National Occupational Therapy Month, I would like to take this opportunity to explain my often-misunderstood profession that is more than 90% female. Occupational therapy (OT) is close to 100 years old in the United States. It is a holistic health care profession that aims to promote health by enabling individuals to perform meaningful and purposeful activities across the lifespan. Starting in the 1970’s, occupational therapists (OTs) were hired in school settings to provide therapeutic services for children with disabilities to participate in regular school settings.
OT for Kids
Nowadays, OTs treat children in various settings including the home to address delays or difficulties involving the occupations of children, which include play, learning, and self-care. Occupational therapists typically evaluate and provide treatment in the areas of cognition, fine motor, functional mobility, social interaction, visual perception, coordination, sensory processing, and activities of daily living such as dressing, feeding, toileting, etc. OTs often work with children with developmental delays, ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, learning disabilities, prematurity, chromosomal abnormalities, poor handwriting skills, and injuries particularly associated with the hands, shoulders, or brain.
If your child is having difficulty with age-appropriate play, learning, and self-care skills, you should consult with your doctor about having an occupational therapist conduct an evaluation and create a treatment plan if deemed necessary. Have a playful day!
Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L