At KidsAbility, so many of the children we see have difficulty getting dressed, eating, brushing their teeth, tying their shoes or venturing out into the world. Everyday activities are a struggle that need to be overcome. Working with our occupational therapists, children learn to perform those everyday activities that are meaningful to them. We call it “occupational” therapy, as the therapy focuses on “all the jobs” of living and can help improve a child’s cognitive, physical and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and participation. Whether its play, school or life skills, they are all equally important in maximizing a child’s potential and living a fulfilled life.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapists define an occupation as much more than a chosen career. Occupation refers to everything that people do during the course of everyday life. Each of us have many occupations that are essential to our health and well-being. Occupational therapists believe that occupations describe who you are and how you feel about yourself. A child, for example, might have occupations as a student, a playmate, a dancer and a table-setter. Occupational Therapists are regulated health professionals, licensed with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.
What is Occupational Therapy at KidsAbility?
Occupational Therapists at KidsAbility work across all of our sites as an integral part of many teams such as:
- Seating and Mobility Services
- Augmentative Communication Services
- Diagnostic Teams (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder)
At KidsAbility the occupational therapist will look at the child, the activity and the environment to discover why the child is having difficulty doing an activity.
Occupational therapy can help with the following types of challenges and therapy goals:
- Fine and gross motor skills challenges (holding/controlling a pencil or scissors, eye-hand coordination, movement planning, posture control, etc.)
- Self-care (feeding, dressing, hygiene, toileting, sleeping, etc.)
- Play (sharing, interaction with peers, functional play, etc.
- Sensory processing disorders (sensory reactions which impacts attention, behaviour and learning)
- Breaking down the activity into small steps and identifying the skills needed to do each step
- Identifying the child’s strengths and abilities
- Identifying the steps the child can and cannot do independently
- Helping the child develop the necessary skills or teach them a new way to do the activity
- Suggesting ways to simplify the activity
- Suggesting and implementing adaptive equipment that will help the child to do the activity
- Suggesting and implementing changes in the environment that will support the child in doing the activity
- Coordinating with your child’s team at daycare or preschool; working together with other health care professionals (ie. physiotherapy, speech and language pathology) and community partners
For more information on Occupational Therapy