For this week’s ‘5 Things’ post, I welcome Rachelle Day from Happy Dots Occupational Therapy for Children. Rachelle is the director of Happy Dots and a paediatric occupational therapist (OT). Rachelle wants to share the many ways occupational therapists can assist special needs families. I know I was really confused when occupational therapy was first recommended for Gilbert following his autism diagnosis. This post gives valuable insight into the many ways occupational therapy can make home, school and everyday life more comfortable for our kids.
Occupational Therapy (OT) can help children perform many activities of daily living that they may have difficulty doing. OT can allow to function with everyday activities and help achieve independence in their everyday life. An occupational therapist, also called an OT, look at your child’s strength and weaknesses. They can tackle things at all angles to make your child comfortable and functioning in your child’s environment. So now, we will show you 5 ways an OT can help your child.
5 Ways Occupational Therapists Can Help Your Child
Occupational Therapists can help your child care for themselves
Completing their daily ‘self-care’ tasks are crucial for your child to have their independence. OTs can help your child build their independence when getting dressed by including buttons and zippers or teaching how to tie shoe laces. OTs can work on the sequencing, motor planning and motor skills needed to complete these daily tasks. Once mastered, this can make your child independent, happy and confident in every day life.
Occupational Therapists can help your child to be ready for school
School is a vital part of your child’s life and requires a variety of different skills on a daily basis. If your child has trouble concentrating in class, it can have a significant impact on how they perform in other areas such as handwriting. OTs can support your child to develop his/her handwriting skills by building strength in their hands and arms and by improving his/her pencil grasp and coordination. By doing this, it can boost their self-confidence and allow them to engage more actively in school, to become thriving happy children.
Occupational Therapists make play time easy & fun
Play is so important for child development. The ability to play helps your child to develop social, cognitive, motor, and interactive skills. When your child has difficulty engaging him/herself in play, it can impact all of these areas. OTs can help your child gain appropriate fine motor skills, strength, and hand-eye coordination to increase your child’s ability to interact with toys and enjoy their play time.
Occupational Therapists help your child achieve milestones
Children develop at different rates with some acquiring skills later than their peers. They may need additional time and support to develop skills such as crawling, jumping, climbing on the playground, colouring with a crayon, imitating simple shapes, tolerating messy play, following sequenced directions, attending during circle time, or socialising with peers. Occupational therapists can identify those areas that are impacting your child’s success and implement intervention techniques in addition to home programming, which will support your child’s development.
Occupational Therapists can help your child be calm & happy
One of the most important skills your child develops is the ability to self-regulate when they need to do things such as focus or interact with their peers. When your child is unable to self-regulate, this can greatly affect their social and emotional state. OTs can help your child develop skills to monitor his/her regulation, develop better ways to regulate, and provide activities to address any sensitivities that may be impacting their sensory system. Thus, making your child more calm & happy.
To find out more on how an OT may be able to assist your child, feel free to visit our website www.happydots.com.au or give us a call on (02) 4959 8920.
You can read about our own experience with OT in some of my previous posts:
Rachelle Day, BAppSc (OT) Hons, is the owner and clinical director of Happy Dots. Rachelle graduated from the University of Sydney achieving first class honours, and has since shown a strong passion and desire to work with children.
Rachelle has experience in providing therapy to children with a range of varying conditions, predominantly Autism, along with other conditions such as Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD. Rachelle has experience in working across a variety of different environments such as clinic, home, school and in the community.
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This post is part of our new series “5 Things Special Needs Parents Should Know”. If you’d like to submit a guest post, or if you have a topic you’d like covered as part of this weekly series, send your idea to email@example.com