Occupational therapy is a type of health care discipline that helps to solve the problems that interfere with a person’s occupation. Example, for a child his/her occupation at that age is to involve in play, learning new concepts and achieving motor skills. For an adult it maybe participation in their family roles and a successful employment. When the person or the child is unable to participate in their occupation due to a disability such as Autism, Cerebral palsy or Stroke (in adults) is when an occupational therapist steps in. OT’s help the client to build their ability to do the things that are important to them in everyday life, such as:
- Self-care – Age appropriate self-care milestones in children, getting dressed, eating, moving around the house etc.
- Being productive – Going to school or work, participating in the community.
- Leisure activities – Play, socialization, sports, gardening, social activities.
The main aim of Occupational therapy is to make the child/person independent in their age appropriate milestones.
The process of intervention starts with a detailed assessment.
HISTORY: Pre natal, natal and post natal history, developmental history, medical history and family history.
ON EXAMINATION: Where the therapist assess the child with a hands on approach, checking for each and every age appropriate skill such as:
* Gross motor development
*Fine motor development
* Self-care skills
* Play skills
OT’s also use standardized tests for diagnosing if the child has sensory issues (sensory profile, sensory processing measure)
After a detailed assessment and collecting details from parents/care givers, the therapist identifies the problem areas and set intervention goals. The goals are classified as immediate, short term and long term goals. Once the complete therapy protocol is set, treatment implementation begins.
Treatment is a combination of sensory integration, behaviour modification techniques, play based Intervention and so on.
Occupational therapy ensures that all the spheres of the child’s life are addressed: Play, self-care, school (age appropriate skills). The key is early diagnosis and early intervention. This results in successful reintegration of children into the schools, community and making them independent in taking care of themselves.