Most people believe that occupational therapy for children is only used to teach your kids how to tie their shoes or hold a pencil properly. Little do most people know that occupational therapy for children goes much deeper than that. Therapists that specialise in this certain field are fully equipped in dealing with supporting a kid’s emotional, function and social skills.
Below we have put together a list of ways that occupational therapy for children can help your kids in a way that you may not have thought was possible.
What does occupational therapy for children accomplish?
The main goal is to enhance a kid’s ability to perform and participate in everyday activities. This outcome is achieved by working with the family of the kids and to educate them into what activities they want to do or are expected to participate in, in their lives.
For this goal and strategy to be executed, it generally means that the occupation of the kid and their environment needs to be altered or changed completely to support their growth.
How occupational therapy for children can foster social skill development
Some common ways that this treatment is used to support the development of your kid’s social skills are:
Breaking tasks down
Not all kids are the same and some may miss the obvious social cues or steps that are present within an activity or game. The rules or procedure of a certain game may not come naturally to some kids so OTs are in place to help break down tasks into steps that are easy to understand. Breaking these tasks down allow kids to understand what is expected of them and will also aid in them understanding what appropriate behaviours in certain scenarios are.
Using your child’s likes
Basing work around what your kid likes is an easy way to make occupational therapy for children work. Your kid’s age will ultimately effect what scenarios you would use. If your kid is a teenager there’s no point revolving work and activities to help around playing with toys. Rather, social scenarios or sporting events may be more suited.
Regardless of their age, their motivation for wanting to interact with others in a pleasant manner is of the utmost importance. Therapists work closely with the subjects and their families to build activities around their interests to get them more excited to participate.
Gaining an insight into the environment
Understanding the environment that your kid plays in is most important as it provides the most influence. Busyness or noisy and crowded environments can overwhelm your kid and their ability to function in social scenarios. These areas are where these types of therapists are most commonly used to help. Occupational therapy for children understands the impact of the environment on kids and can develop strategies to combat these growing areas of concern.
Helping with showing the benefits of play
When we get into our adult lives, we often forget the importance of developing your social skills and simply the importance of playing. When your kid is at school and their academic demands start to increase it is common that you forget to let them play.
OTs highlight areas where play for kids is important and how it can help them grow as a person. These areas include:
- A child’s adaption to new scenarios and change
- Being able to understand emotions and empathise
- The ability to develop problem solving skills
- Negotiate through times of conflict and difficulty
- Learning about the importance of social roles
As you can see, occupational therapy for children has a huge range of amazing benefits.