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There are a number of reasons a child may come to see a paediatric (child) occupational therapist. The best-known reason is to help with printing and hand-writing. Occupational therapists can do so much more though!
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is about increasing various aspects of a child’s independence and competency. This can include things like working on fine motor skills (think cutting, drawing etc). It can also include aspects of self-care, organisation, mobility and self-regulation (think managing sensory needs and calming down). For children, it’s about having the skills to do well at home and school.
Sometimes therapy will include working directly with the child to increase their skills. It can also look more like parent or teacher consultancy. At the end of the day, the occupational therapist will work with the child, parent and school to improve core skills – whoever can help!
How can Occupational Therapy help my child?
Occupational therapists usually start with an assessment to be clear about the child’s needs. This can come in many forms. In the first instance, the assessment may focus on development such as aspects of fine motor and handwriting, gross motor and visual perception skills. The occupational therapist will be able to give you feedback on how your child is developing compared to peers and recommendations on how to address any concerns.
Functional assessments (such as those asked for by the NDIS) are where the occupational therapist looks at all aspects of a child’s independence. The goal here is to identify strengths and weaknesses and to make recommendations about the next steps. This kind of assessment can be helpful for prioritising goals and identifying needs. Typically this will be a much more comprehensive assessment.
Following on from assessments comes individual therapy. This is tailored to match the therapy goals you as a parent and the occupational therapist decide upon. Therapy is usually one on one and designed to be engaging for the child. There will usually be some homework tasks too as we aim to keep the good work up outside of sessions.
Occupational therapy at the CWBC
At the Child Wellbeing Centre our Occupational Therapists work with young children, primary and secondary students.
We’ve recently been joined by Jeannie Loi, Occupational Therapist who will be working from our Brockman Road office on Thursdays and Fridays. Jeannie has a background in working with children with disabilities on a range of issues (and she is very nice too!).
Please feel free to contact our Reception for more information about our services on 9274 7062.