FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is OT?
OT stands for Occupational Therapy.
Occupational therapy is concerned with promoting independence in activities of everyday life – or ‘occupations’.
What does a paediatric OT do?
I often get asked what an OT might do with children… after all, children don’t ‘work’. Well, it comes back to our definition and understanding of what we mean by ‘occupations’. A child’s occupations include everything they do in their day: play (the ultimate work of children, right?), self care tasks, drawing/handwriting and other classroom and education related activities. Paediatric OTs work with children experiencing difficulties with these occupations, as well as fine and gross motor coordination, sensory processing and regulation, and attention and social skills.
Who do you work with as a paediatric OT?
Paediatric OTs work with children of all ages, with a wide range of diagnoses and difficulties, including: Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Global Developmental Delay, other syndromes, conditions, and many, many children who are yet to be diagnosed or who are without a specific diagnosis!
What does OT (intervention) look like?
This is my favourite question, because really, effective paediatric OT looks like a whole lot of fun and play! (One of the best jobs in the world in my opinion!!)
OT s work on:
- Sensory integration
- Gross motor skills (postural strength and control, motor planning, awareness of 2 sides of the body…)
- Visual motor integration/ eye hand coordination (copying shapes, matching, puzzles…)
- Attention, behaviour
- Functional independence
- Fine motor and play skills (grasp patterns, pasting finger play, block building, threading, puzzles…)
- Drawing / handwriting, scissor skills, organisational and problem solving skills,
- Social skills
Intervention may involve:
- Developing and improving skills/abilities
- Adaptations in the environment (physical/social, including home or school modifications)
- Adaptations to the task/activity
- Adaptive aid/device (equipment)
- Support from a ‘helper’ – including the type, how much and how often (quality, quantity and frequency).
Where do paediatric OTs work?
- Schools (mainstream/ special)
- Community Health Centres
- Private Practice and specialist clinics (I am currently working at a paediatric private practice clinic in a team of occupational and speech therapists)
- Disability services, including Early Childhood Intervention Services
- Child and Youth Mental Health Services
- Department of Education
The actual OT can take place in the clinic or in the community (e.g. at home/school/kinder/childcare/park or playground…). Both have their place and depend on the specific issues and program prescribed by the individual OT.
Like to read more?
Childhood 101 interviewed me for a post on their site all About the Work of a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, (July 2014). Check it out!
Feel free to leave me a question about paediatric OT below and I’ll do my best to answer you!