Children

Occupational therapists work with children, their families and school/nurseries to help children make the most of their abilities and develop independence in every day activities

Occupational therapists aim to maximise children’s development opportunities to support independence in every day tasks, learning, play and to access the national curriculum. They also help to maximise independence, access and safety at home. OTs see children experiencing difficulty with every day tasks due to physical and developmental difficulties, delays and disabilities.

 

What to expect from an assessment

The first assessment will last approximately 1 hour. There will be one or two therapists present. The assessment will include discussion with the parents and child, observation of the child doing different activities and standardised testing.

 

How do OTs work with children at school?

  • help school staff to understand the impact a child’s difficulties will have on their educatio
  • help to promote inclusion in the classroom
  • provide advice to make the school more accessible
  • provide activities for support staff to carry out with  children to help develop their skills
  • recommend equipment to increase independence

 

How do OTs work with children in the home?

  • helping parents and children understand their difficulties with everyday tasks
  • providing treatment and activity ideas to help promote independence
  • assessing and recommending equipment and adaptations to  promote access, independence and safety 
     

 

Case studies

Blessing is 11 and has learning difficulties and challenging behaviour. Her mother is worried as Blessing is able to get out of the house by herself onto the busy road nearby, and is able to get dangerous items out of kitchen cupboards and drawers. The OT visited Blessing at home and recommended different locks to the Housing Association and different ways for mum to organise her kitchen so that Blessing can be safe at home.

 

Frank is 7 and is sometimes uncoordinated in his movements. He is struggling to get dressed and is messy when he feeds himself. His OT worked with him for six  weeks and showed him ways to do these activities differently so he can manage them better. Now Frank and his mum understand how to tackle other activities he finds difficult.

 

Yahlini is 10 and has Cerebral Palsy which affects her movement and her speech she’s having difficulty getting in and out of her house now she has a larger wheelchair and at school she’s finding it difficult to record her work. Her OT advised ways to widen the front door and also suggested a ramp so that Yahlini can be independent and her parents won’t hurt their backs. Her OT also visited school and recommended a way to adapt her computer so that Yahlini can record her work.

 

Tahir is 15 and had an accident which resulted in memory and mobility problems. He wants to be more independent in the community and go out with his friends. His OT helped him to learn strategies to find his way to and from set routes and to get on and off the bus safely. He now visits friends and travels to school independently.

 

Occupational therapy and co-ordination difficulties - Grace's story

10-year-old Grace was frustrated that she had problems with her handwriting , couldn't tie her shoelaces or use a knife and fork properly. With the help of an occupational therapist built up her working memory and, as a result, learned how to tie her shoelaces. She is also getting better at using a knife and fork and has also been learning how to touch-type. Grace’s mother Caroline says that occupational therapy has improved Grace’s self-esteem and ability to make her own choices.

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Occupational therapy and sensory difficulties - Leo's story

Leo Jace had problems with balance, co-ordination and low tone. Occupational therapist Yifat Skehan worked with Leo Jace to make him stronger for everyday activities, focussing on postural control and shoulder stability. With the help of occupational therapy, Leo Jace’s posture has improved dramatically, and he is now able to balance on a trampoline and swing in sitting position. He is able to write more easily and enjoy PE classes with his classmates.

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