What is Occupational Therapy (OT) ?
Occupational therapy (OT) is a client-centered health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. It takes a “whole –person approach’’ to both mental and physical health and wellbeing. It enables individuals to achieve their full potential.
OT works with people from babies to the elder age. However, the primary goal is to enable the individual to participate in the activities of their everyday life.
OT role for the case with learning difficulties:
If a child has been diagnosed with learning difficulties and/or is experiencing challenges with their academic performance, an OT can be a valuable support. OT’s help children gain independence and develop new skills to enable participation in daily activities, such as self-care, play, and learning. When a child has learning difficulty, the therapist will work closely within the team to optimize their engagement at school and in their home environment..
OT’s usually work on the underlying motor problems, attentional challenges or visual perceptual deficits; that may be contributing to or causing academic difficulties for the child. Children with learning difficulties may also find it difficult to organize themselves or sequence the actions that are needed to complete their daily activities. An OT can help to establish effective routines and break down information into steps that the child will be able to follow.
OT role children with ASD:
The overall goal of occupational therapy is to help the child with autism improve his or her quality of life at home and in school. The therapist helps introduce, maintain, and improve skills so that he/she can be as independent as possible.
These are some of the skills occupational therapy may foster:
- Daily living skills, such as toilet training, dressing, brushing teeth, and other grooming skills
- Fine motor skills required for holding objects, handwriting or cutting with scissors, buttoning, and lacing
- Gross motor skills used for walking, climbing stairs, or riding a bike
- Sitting, posture or perceptual skills, such as telling the differences between colors, shapes, and sizes
- Awareness of his / her body and its relation to others
- Visual skills for reading and writing
- Play, coping, self-help, problem-solving, communication, and social skills
A sensory integrative approach during therapy interventions may be used.