As a paediatric occupational therapist, I often get asked what my job involves. Being so broad, it can sometimes be difficult to explain quickly. This blog article explains a bit more about paediatric occupational therapy, and how it may help your child.
I got into occupational therapy because I love working with people, children especially. It requires a lot of creativity, flexibility and patience. It also requires a lot of team work, working with other health professionals and family members. I personally think it’s the best job in the world.
What is an Occupational Therapist?
Occupational therapists helps children with what they need to and want to do in every day life. We look at what occupies a child’s time. This includes things like: playing, socialising, looking after themselves, learning and developing.
What to expect during an OT appointment?
In your first session or two, your occupational therapist will be asking a lot of questions. They will want to gather a background history of your child, and find out the reason for your visit. They may assess your child for certain skills or abilities, to see how he/she is tracking.
After an assessment is finished, your occupational therapist may write up a full report for you to have the results to take home. Your occupational therapist will explain what happens next – whether ongoing therapy is recommended, or whether you may need some strategies for home.
Your occupational therapist may also organise a school and/or home visit at this stage, just to make sure these environments are supportive of your child.
You may then start weekly or fortnightly sessions with your occupational therapist, to work more actively towards your therapeutic goals.
Does my child need Occupational Therapist ?
Is your child …
Constantly moving and is always ‘on the go’?
A fussy eater, often gagging or refusing foods?
Express distress at certain touch sensations, tags, or clothing?
Always distracted and unable to focus or concentrate?
Floppy, with poor core strength and control, with an inability to sit properly at a desk?
Having difficulties of any kind at school?
Diagnosed with ASD, ADD, ADHD, GDD, any LD, or other disorder that prevents them from achieving their best in life?
Clumsy, uncoordinated, always bumping into things?
Avoidant of social situations, making it difficult to make new friends
Unresponsive to their name being called, or often mis-understand instructions?
Challenged by complex instructions and following directions?
Occupational therapy can help with the following concerns:
Self care skills (toileting, dressing, feeding)
Fine motor skills
Gross motor skills
Sensory processing challenges
Focus and concentration
Behaviour management and …
Anything other skill that a child needs to be successful in their day to day life!
How do I find an Occupational Therapists?
In Australia, there is a governing body of occupational therapists called Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA). You can look on their ‘Find an Occupational Therapist’ website to search for Occupational Therapists in Australia:
For more specific concerns relating to sensory processing challenges, SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) Australia also has a database of Occupational Therapists that specialise in SPD.
If you are not sure where to start, KinderCloud is a unique paediatric health service, offering occupational therapy consultations via Skype to save you time and money. If you are unsure whether you may need occupational therapists, call KinderCloud on 0409 279 728 for a chat for more information.