I once heard Occupational Therapy described as “where science, creativity, and compassion collide” and I have found that to be true in my own life as an occupational therapist, specifically in the pediatrics world.
A lot of people do not seem to know exactly what occupational therapy (OT) is and that could be because it encompasses so many things. Occupations are what is important to you in your daily life and the tasks that you want and need to complete in order to be successful.
Pretty vague, right?
However, that is the beauty of it. If it is meaningful to you, occupational therapists want to help you achieve it. We want to help get you to where you can be as independent as you are capable of.
That does not mean there won’t be adaptations along the way, but that is where some of the creativity comes into play. I always try to give parents an overall definition of OT during our first encounter so they learn there are a variety of things I can address with their child in OT.
In pediatrics, I find that I get to use the creative side of my brain often. Now I am typically a structured and organized person and like to stick to a plan, but working as a pediatric OT, I love the challenge of finding new ways to help kiddos achieve their goals.
For instance, I may write a goal for a child to be able to button their clothes because that is important for them growing up to become more independent. While yes, I will have them do the actual task of buttoning their clothes sometimes and practicing that skill, I am able to use toys and games and other fun things in order to help them achieve that goal. Buttoning their clothes use fine motor skills, bilateral coordination skills, and visual motor skills, etc.
There is a plethora of games that I can use to strengthen these various skills to aid in the skills they need in order to button their clothes.
It’s the same as in basketball, you may practice various drills and such to improve certain skills that you will need in a game, but you do not only scrimmage in practice. You take the time to improve the individual skills and then scrimmage to put it all together and play a successful game.
Playing games that address fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and bilateral coordination is just a fun way of tackling the overall goal of buttoning their clothes.
It is more fun for the child, and fun for me too! ?
Occupational therapy is becoming more known and widespread and I am grateful to play a role in these children’s lives to help them grow to be more independent and successful. Finding what is fun for them helps them be more motivated to reach their goals in the long run. I love seeing a child’s face light up when they finally master a goal and are excited to show me or their parents. It makes all the work worth it, for them, their parents, and me. And why not have a little fun along the way too? ?
Compleat KiDZ – Concord/Copperfield