I and my family have just returned from Germany, were we combined our summer vacation with occupational therapy for my youngest daughter, who is autistic with many other health issues.
Even though, we have regular one-on-one OT sessions at home, I have found that intensive therapy over a number of days or weeks are extremely beneficial for us all. I am aware that not all health care providers or health insurances offer free OT sessions in their care plan, the NHS in the UK for example does not offer regular sessions, but an assessment and recommendation, for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Asperger syndrome or childhood autism who are affected in their social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.
I am writing this two part series, to enable you, the parent or carer, to use some techniques at home to help your child to become more independent in his or her daily activities, to increase the ability to complete simple tasks or to reach long term goals.
What is Occupational Therapy?
The College of Occupational Therapists states (n.d.) “Occupational therapy is a science degree-based, health and social care profession, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. Occupational therapy takes a whole-person approach to both mental and physical health and wellbeing, enabling individuals to achieve their full potential.
Occupational therapy provides practical support to enable people to facilitate recovery and overcome any barriers that prevent them from doing the activities (occupations) that matter to them. This helps to increase people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.
“Occupation” refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow people to live independently and have a sense of identity. This could be essential day-to-day tasks such as self-care, work or leisure.”
Did you know?
Occupational therapy often involves physical therapy, as well as therapeutic baths, massage, exercise, and music.
In which areas can Occupational Therapy (OT) help?
- Personal Care
- Hand strength
- Social skills
- Community activities
- Parenting (calming extreme situations etc.)
- Work (teenagers and young adults)
- Domestic activities (teenagers and young adults)
4 OT Key Areas of Needs
When thinking of your child you might want to evaluate the following 4 areas of your child, in order to plan any form of intervention to get your desired positive outcome.
1. Physical needs
2. Psychological needs
3. Social needs
4. Environmental needs
3 Occupational Therapy Aspects
1. Care management; consider how your child could approach a task differently.
2. Equipment for daily living; consider what type of equipment or assistive technology could make a task easier.
3. Environmental adaptation; consider which areas of your child’s living or working environment could be adapted.
In part two of this series I will give you actual ideas how and what to incorporate for your child to progress, which will be published on the 16th August 2014.
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All the Best,