Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. In occupational therapy, occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life.
The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement.(WFOT 2012)
At Bloom, our occupational therapists incorporate enjoyable activities to assist children to more effectively achieve their occupational roles. A child’s primary occupational roles are:
Having good attention and being able to engage with others helps children to learn. Most skills in life need to be learnt through repeated practice; things like tying your shoe laces, writing, or riding a bike. Children need to be able to focus on a task and practice an activity to learn and improve their skills. Learning to concentrate and complete activities can be more calming for the child as it assists them to reduce impulsive behaviours.
Play is a child’s ‘work’ and it promotes learning, development, growth, and health. The skills involved in play include movement, thinking, social, communicative, and emotional. These skills all work together when a child is actively involved in a play activity. It is important for children to develop their skills in social interaction, sharing, and taking turns in order to assist in playing successfully with others.
Fine motor skills:
Involve the movements of the small muscles in the body which allow more skilled, precise movements in order to reach, grasp and manipulate small objects. The hands are utilised (usually in co-ordination with the eyes), to enable your child to hold, explore and manipulate toys and tools such as a pencil or a spoon. Fine motor skills are used in activities such as handwriting, dressing, feeding and using scissors.
Gross motor skills:
Involve the large muscles of the body that are important for major body movement such as sitting, walking, jumping, and throwing a ball.
A child must have sufficient manual dexterity, fine motor coordination and visual motor skills for handwriting. Areas such as letter formation, reversals, speed, legibility, pencil grip, reducing pain and/or fatigue may be addressed.
Development of self-care skills is an important part of child development. Supporting independence at mealtimes, dressing, grooming and toileting assists children to develop skills such as using a knife and fork, tying shoelaces, fastening buttons and dressing and toileting.
Sensory processing is the brain function that all people experience when their brain processes sensory information from the environment around them. Sensory information is visual (what we see), gustatory (taste), auditory (what we hear), tactile (what we feel through our skin), vestibular and proprioceptive (where we are in space and how our limbs are positioned).
When children have difficulty with sensory processing they have difficulty with the way the body processes and reacts to the information it receives from the surrounding environment. Children may demonstrate over or under sensitivity to certain sensations such as loud noises or certain items of clothing; sensation seeking behaviour, such as chewing on things or enjoying being spun repetitively. Kids with sensory processing difficulties may also fine it difficult to maintain a calm state.
Children may have difficulty regulating themselves for a number of different reasons including how they process incoming sensory information. Self regulation is a very important skill for your child to learn early on. Self regulation assists your child to calm themselves and cope with their surroundings.
Opportunities for children to engage in play experiences with others strengthens their gross motor skills, enhances communication, and allows for age appropriate development. Social development may not come as naturally to some children as it does to others however, skills such as reading social cues and reacting appropriately can be practiced and learnt.
Table top and School Readiness:
These activities are generally the expected requirements when starting kindergarten. For example: drawing, cutting, on-task classroom behaviour, task completion, following instructions and craft skills.
Involves understanding what we are seeing. Visual perception is highly important in completing many activities, such as reading a story, completing a puzzle, identifying letters and numbers, copying and writing.
Each therapist is a Registered Occupational Therapist with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia and is committed to providing the latest and greatest therapeutic support to the individuals and families we work with. We provide a variety of therapy approaches and programs at Bloom so as to ensure our services are individualised, motivating and effective!