I am a parent who believes in traditional therapies for kids on the spectrum. I am often asked by friends and grandparents what exactly does an occupational therapist do and how does it help? Though I am not an expert, I am trying to jot down here what is OT (Occupational Therapy) and how is Sonny Boy’s OTist (Occupational Therapist) helping him?
What is Occupational Therapy?
As per American Occupational Therapy Association, OT is helping people of all ages to do things or activities which are essential for daily life through the therapeutic use of daily activities also known as occupations. This implies that occupational therapy is something which helps elderly gentleman live a life of dignity, is something which helps a burn or accident victim stand up on their two feet and start living again, is something which helps overcome disability and encourages self dependency, is something which helps kids with developmental delay learn and inculcate daily occupation.
What does an Occupational Therapist do and how do they help?
OT helps children with developmental /sensory/ cognitive disabilities and guides them towards being as independent in carrying out their daily lives as possible.
OT helps kids with special needs improve and modify their
- sensory, and
- motor skills
- enhance self-esteem
- provide a sense of accomplishment.
How Does an OTist Know That The Child Needs help?
An Otist evaluates the child and assesses how does a child plays, does his school activities, how does he interacts with people and whether all these are developmentally appropriate or not. And decides what kind of therapy does the child need. For this, the Otist may ask various questions to the parent in addition to observing the child.
Occupational Therapist Might:
- Help with balance issues and Gross Motor skills which will help in walking, running, coming up and down the stairs, dancing etc
- Help with fine motor skills like writing, gripping, holding pen, holding spoon and fork, buttoning etc
- Help in learning basic tasks – Bathing, clothing, eating, brushing teeth etc
- Help kids transform their behavioral issues toward more positive directions
- Help in coordinating skill
- Teaching how to play
Occupational Therapy has helped my son achieve a lot. When the body is well organized, the mind automatically falls right in place.