Times flies! If you have a preschool aged child or a child heading off to kindergarten or grade 1 in less than a month, make some time to come hear Chandra Kipfer speak. She is a pediatric Occupational Therapist and author of this post on how OT can help kids succeed at school. She will be presenting a FREE talk on August 16th, 2010 at 7:45 pm on this topic as part of Reach Physio Solutions’ Summer Series of wellness talks. If you have a child who will be heading to kindergarten or Grade 1 this September, make some time this coming Monday to find out if your child is ready for the demands of school: writing, sitting still, developing motor skills are just a few possible items. Check out the post below for more details. If you are interested in attending, we ask that you pre-register by using this link to RSVP.
Understanding Occupational Therapy for Kids
Occupational therapists help kids to participate in their everyday life activities and community. For kids this means play, looking after themselves, and participating at preschool and in the community. We help them to participate and be as independent as possible by exploring how they move, how they learn, and how they experience and make sense of the world around them. By working in partnership with families and caregivers we help to determine their abilities and how to build on them, how to adapt or change the task and what can be changed in the environment to promote success and increase their independence.
An occupational therapist is a regulated, licensed health care professional who is required to have a masters level degree in occupational therapy, pass a national exam and maintain their licensing with a provincial regulatory college. Occupational therapists are experts at assessing a child’s skills to determine their abilities developmentally (This can include assessment of physical, cognitive, sensory, visual perceptual, psychosocial, fine and gross motor skills) as well as break down the task and analyze the environment to determine how to progress and tackle these challenges using evidence-based and developmentally appropriate strategies. What we do every day is most often best addressed within context and so therapists will often assess and work with kids where and when they typically are performing the challenging task.
Who Would Benefit?
Occupations are the activities you fill your day with. Your occupations can be divided in to three realms; self care, productivity and leisure. Childhood and PLAY are synonymous for most youngsters. The main occupation for children is play. It is through active play and participation in their lives that they experience and explore their world to learn, grow and develop.
Caregivers and professionals frequently come to us when a child is not meeting developmental expectations or to address minor concerns before they have a significant impact. It may be a child already identified to be facing unexpected challenges, or they may have difficulty in just one particular area. Areas of concern commonly identified are:
Self care: feeding skills personal hygiene dressing skill sleep
life skills (crossing the street, tying shoelaces, transitions)
Productivity: play skills grasp pre-printing, printing and writing scissor skills inability to sit still personal space Transitions
Leisure: challenges such as range of motion, body awareness and motor skills to participate in activities of play etc.
Other frequently cited concerns include:
• accessibility to technology and environments
• recommendations and support for adaptive equipment and devices
An idea of who we serve includes but is not limited to:
• Sensory Processing Disorders
• Autism Spectrum Disorder
• Developmental Coordination Disorder
• Developmental Delays
• Mental Health Challenges
• Syndromes and other disorders
• Cerebral Palsy
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Learning Disabilities
• Acquired injuries- brain injury/stroke etc.
• Supporting post-surgical clients (to promote independence, or maximize recovery)
• Those that are undiagnosed
If you think your child may benefit from occupational therapy consult with your primary health care provider, a local OT or school facilitator as they may be able to help determine your service options. Your extended benefits may cover private therapy and all costs are tax deductable as medical expenses at the end of the year. A listing of OT’s working in private practice can be found on the BC Society of Occupational Therapist website www.bcsot.org. The OT can help with information regarding funding sources such as the Autism Funding Program or the At Home program. It is best to explore your options and choose a therapist with the same care you would choose any of your other health care providers.