Occupational Therapy: How It Benefits Your Child
Occupational therapy, as the name suggests, is simply therapy intended to help patients with everyday tasks, activities, and life roles. Occupational therapy is typically associated with older adults or victims of injury, but can also be offered for children or individuals with mental illness.
At Pasitos Clinic, we offer pediatric occupational therapy, which helps children develop the cognitive or physical skills they need to succeed and grow as they age. The job of a pediatric occupational therapist can be extremely varied from child to child, and they may have to put on many hats to be truly great at their job.
Pediatric occupational therapists need a strong understanding of child psychology, child development, family structures, human anatomy, strength training, and having fun! That’s a lot of knowledge; that’s why many pediatric occupational therapists have Masters and Ph.D. degrees in these areas of expertise.
For children who struggle with any aspect of life, an occupational therapist can correct behavior and prepare them for the future. In our opinion, the work of a pediatric occupational therapist is one of the most rewarding professions out there, though you’ll need a great amount of knowledge, patience, and adaptability. In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how an occupational therapist can greatly benefit your child now and in the future.
Developing Motor Skills Through Play
For children who’ve been injured or have trouble controlling their motor functions, occupational therapy can be a great way to refine their abilities. A therapists’ knowledge of the human anatomy and motor functions is crucial in this stage, as they can develop a program to best develop a child’s motor skills.
Unlike an occupational therapist for an adult, however, a pediatric therapist will try to incorporate fun and engaging games to mask the actual exercises. Using toys, puzzles, fun equipment, and silly games, a pediatric therapist keeps the child engaged and comfortable while they develop their motor skills.
Not only will these exercises build motor skills, but they also build self-esteem, autonomy, and confidence. The resources vary wildly across the country, though, so therapists often have to try to maximize the resources they do have to best work with a child.
Cognitive, Social, and Self-Care Skills
Cognitive and social skills are just as important in the field, especially for kids dealing with disabilities like autism. Autism affects a child’s ability to understand and interact in social environments, so working with one of our therapists can dramatically affect that child for the rest of their lives.
Much of the work regarding children with autism deals with sensory processing issues, which affect the majority of these children. Developing mechanisms to address and mitigate these sensory issues can vastly improve a child’s ability to interact in school, at home, and in extracurricular activities.
As stated earlier, pediatric occupational therapists have to wear many hats, and one of those hats is a child advocate. Once they determine an issue, like mental health, literacy problems, and physical health issues like obesity, they often try to implement a plan with educators, caretakers, and parents.
How Energy, Enthusiasm, and Adaptability Is Key To Success
While a healthy amount of knowledge is crucial to being a good pediatric occupational therapist, a great therapist uses their energy, fun, and enthusiasm to really create a comfortable and productive environment for the children they work with. Children absorb information and skills best when they are comfortable and engaged—fostering that environment is key to a great relationship with a child.
Adapting to each child’s needs is also crucial, and generally comes with knowledge and experience in the field. The work does not stop at the child, though. The entire family and support core has to be aware of the plan for the child, so the corrective actions can continue at home, school, and in their normal activities. As such, therapists have to interact with many different people to achieve the best outcome for a child.
How You Can Support Your Child and Their Therapist
As stated earlier, the learning has to continue outside of the therapy center. The best way you can support your child is by following the plan created by your child’s therapist.
One major reason why children fail to acquire the necessary skills is that their support system isn’t completely on-board with their plan. This stunts or even reverses the progress they make in therapy sessions and can be confusing to the child.
If your child uses occupational therapy services, make sure you follow the therapy plan for the best results for your child.
Contact Pasitos Clinic Today For Occupational Therapy
If your child is dealing with mental, physical, or social issues, it may be a good idea to have them see an occupational therapist. At Pasitos Clinic, our staff boasts the knowledge, expertise, and fun factor required to help any child of any age or disability. Call today to set up an appointment!