Occupational Therapists (OTs) are trained to assist people of all ages to perform functional tasks that occupy their daily lives.
OTs help children develop a range of lifeskills that are necessary to become happy, functional and independent adults.
These skills include developing:
- appropriate regulation and arousal levels regarding task performances
- age appropriate milestones in gross and fine motor skills
- communication skills
- social skills
- language and peer interaction
- sensory discrimination
- sensory processing
- age appropriate self care skills
- a positive self-concept
The expectation regarding the level of development of these skills varies with a child’s age and abilities. It is important to remember that all of the above skills develop simultaneously. As a result, impairment in one area may influence development in other areas.
Education and occupational therapy
The general educational background of an occupational therapist includes extensive course work in anatomy, neurology, and psychology.
An OT’s education also includes course work in activity analysis. This enables the therapist to analyze the components of play or work and identify tasks that will improve the child’s basic skills.
Occupational therapists working in private practice with children usually have years of experience working with children. They take additional training courses to supplement their education so that they may be better equipped to fully understand and support children and their families.