Occupational Therapists are trained to help people of all ages to better perform the everyday activities (or occupations) that they need to, want to or are expected to perform. For children, this means playing, learning and being a part of a family and friendships.
Occupational Therapists often form part of a team including Doctors, psychologists, speech pathologists, teachers, parents and in many cases, children themselves to find out the best possible way to improve skills, find other ways of doing tasks and using other tools to make performing activities easier. Whether the Occupational Therapist is working with the elderly or with the young, in the private or the public sector, the focus for intervention is always around empowering the person to help themselves. This specifically relates to children’s ability to work toward their potential and in doing so, maintain a positive perspective of themselves at home, at kindy, school and in play situations with other children.
Occupational Therapy For Children adopts a ‘Neurodevelopmental’ approach in working from the ‘bottom up”. This means that many skills that develop for children at various ages, for example, riding a bike, writing your name, tying your shoelaces, getting dressed, even doing the monkey bars, develop in an organised sequence based on skills that have developed at an earlier stage. For some children, some of these stages or ‘core foundation skills’ are underdeveloped, missing or inefficient which can often have a domino effect on many other areas. Occupational Therapists at OTFC aim to help ‘re-wire’ these connections so that these skills can develop naturally. The most enjoyable aspect of this is the use of PLAY as a vehicle for facilitating change. Children are highly motivated when they are playing and having fun and it is little wonder that skills improve when this combination is achieved. The skill of the therapist is to disguise ‘therapy’ as ‘play’ whilst working on the areas of difficulty that have been identified in the Initial Assessment or Review Assessment.