What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a profession concerned with promoting a child’s health and well-being through occupation, or all the activities a child needs to do throughout their day. Some children have difficulty meeting their age-appropriate developmental skills and may need some help to achieve these skills that propel them into adulthood. OT’s work to improve a child’s physical development, fine-motor skills, sensory processing skills, social-emotional development, cognition, feeding skills, and visual processing abilities to maximize skills for daily living.
What is an occupational therapy evaluation?
An occupational therapy evaluation includes assessment of your child’s performance related to daily activities. Depending on the child’s individualized needs, your therapist may assess your child's gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, visual perceptual, handwriting, daily living skills or sensory processing patterns. The use of standardized assessment tools, non-standardized assessment tools, parent interview and clinical observations will be used to assess your child's performance. Therapy recommendations will be made at the end of the child’s evaluation appointment. Within 2 weeks of the initial evaluation appointment, you will receive an evaluation report summarizing all information gathered, the clinical impressions of the therapist, and treatment goals that address identified concerns while utilizing your child’s and family’s strengths. The report may also include general recommendations for referrals to other professionals.
What areas are addressed in occupational therapy treatment?
Occupational therapy treatment encompasses several areas of performance. All treatment plans and therapy goals are created and implemented based on the child's individual needs.
• Fine Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement and dexterity of the small muscles in the hands and fingers. (e.g. handwriting, coloring, buttoning, manipulating fasteners, opening a container).
• Gross Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement of the large muscles in the arms, legs and trunk. (e.g. actions like pumping legs on a swing, jumping, skipping or hopping).
• Visual Motor Skills: Referring to a child's movement based on the perception of visual information. (e.g. hand-eye coordination tasks such as coloring, tying shoes, catching a ball).
• Oral Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement of muscles in the mouth, lips, tongue and jaw, including sucking, biting, crunching, chewing and licking. (i.e. skills used to eat food and drink from a cup/straw).
• Self-Care Skills: Pertaining to daily dressing, shoe tying, grooming/hygiene, teeth brushing, feeding (e.g. accepting a variety of foods, utensil and straw/cup use) and toileting tasks.
• Sensory Integration: The ability to take in, sort out and respond to the information we receive from the world. (e.g. auditory, tactile, and movement sensitivities or under responses).
• Motor Planning Skills: The ability to plan, implement and sequence motor tasks. (i.e. slow to learn basic skills and takes longer than typical to complete physical tasks like tying shoes or brushing teeth).
• Neuromotor Skills: Pertaining to the underlying building blocks of muscle strength, muscle tonicity, postural mechanisms and reflex integration (i.e. difficulty maintaining posture or balance due to low muscle tone).
• Self-regulation: Managing emotions, behavior, and body movement (e.g. coping with disappointment or failure, demonstrating appropriate levels of energy or arousal).
• Transitions (i.e. moving from one activity to another; adapting to changes).
• Social Skills (e.g. sharing, turn taking, play with peers, playing in creative ways)
• Organizational and Life skills (e.g. time management, meal preparation, money management, home management, shopping).