By Dr. R K Lohiya, Occupational Therapy,
Occupational therapy helps people belonging to different age groups perform everyday activities and live a normal life. An occupational therapist uses various methods such as activities, exercises, strategies and environment or accommodations to help a person become more independent and self-sufficient.
Occupational therapy can help a person with cognitive disability and sensory problems. However, the method is not just restricted to adults and is also beneficial for children and kids. An occupational therapist may help a kid with a number of problems ranging from cognitive, physical, sensory and motor skills. Therefore, if you think your child or kid has certain developmental issues, then you should know about the benefits of occupational therapy. Here is a list:
- Occupational therapy helps children with dyspraxia (developmental and coordination disorder characterized by difficulty planning and performing task) and learning disabilities. Therefore, OT helps in practicing fine motor skills where the kids are given tweezers to pick up items that help in building strength and control. They also help in developing gross motor skills like balance and coordination by making them take part in activities such as jumping jacks, catch balls of various sizes and run on obstacle pathways.
- Kids or children suffering from sensory processing issues can react in extreme ways. One way is characterized by overreacting to external stimulation and becoming overwhelmed and hyperactive when faced with certain situations. The other extreme reaction is characterized by under activity and seeking out sensory stimulation. Moreover, an occupational therapist also helps a kid with sensory problems such as avoiding certain situations.
- An occupational therapist will also help your kid or children in carrying out self-care activities that are needed in his daily life. Activities like brushing teeth, buttoning clothes and using utensils to have food.
- An occupational therapist helps kids streamline their hand-eye coordination. Kids having hand-eye coordination problems may suffer from developmental delays and will need help in performing activities such as writing on a classroom whiteboard, and in a notebook while the teacher is writing on the board.
- Occupational therapy helps kids with behavioral disorders and teaches them to keep a positive attitude in all environments such as using positive ways to deal with anger instead of acting out. Kids are taught to write their feelings in a journal or participate in physical activities.
The most important step in occupational therapy is getting a certified and experienced occupational therapist or one who will understand the needs and struggles of your kid daily at school or home. Many schools are now providing occupational therapy to kids who have difficulty in learning and related disabilities.