This is my first blog and I am very excited to be able to share information, ideas, and tips related to pediatric occupational therapy with everyone. Just a little about myself…I currently live in Memphis, TN, and I have been a pediatric occupational therapist for 18 years. My experience has been primarily in the school system, but I’ve also worked in early intervention, rehabilitation, and home health care. Some of you may be wondering, “What in the world is a pediatric occupational therapist?” Well that’s the question that I’m going to answer in my first blog entry!
Occupational therapy (OT) helps people with injuries or disabilities increase their independence and participate in daily routines through participation in therapeutic activities. A child has several “occupations”, including school, play, and taking care of daily living skills such as bathing, dressing, feeding, etc. A little one who has a disability or is recovering from an illness or injury will want to return to those occupations as soon as possible, so that’s when OT usually comes into the picture. Occupational therapists work with children diagnosed with a variety of conditions, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, learning disabilities, developmental delays, autism, and cancer. In therapy, we work on a variety of skills, depending on the area of need. Here is a list of problems that a pediatric occupational therapist might address.
· Poor fine-motor skills (grasping, cutting, shoe-tying, utensil use)
· Poor playground skills (fear of climbing, low muscle tone, core weakness)
· Visual Perceptual problems
· Poor handwriting skills
· Problems with eye-hand coordination
· Poor sensory processing
· Dependence with Daily living Skills (bathing, tooth-brushing, dressing, self-feeding)
· Orthopedic Injuries
Obviously this list of diagnoses and problems is not all-inclusive, but hopefully you have the idea! So now you can tell everyone what a pediatric OT does. My next post will provide information about what it means when a child has sensory processing problems, also called sensory modulation disorder. Being an occupational therapist is the best job in the world, and I'm looking forward to sharing more information about my profession with everyone!