Occupational Therapists work with people to help them participate in everyday ‘occupations’. These are the activities we do everyday, such as dressing, washing, cooking and cleaning, and also those that help us create a meaningful life, live independently and engage with community and culture.
Occupational Therapists can help with:
Building skills for everyday activities by breaking down tasks into their smaller, more manageable, parts. This can be applied to many activities, such as catching a ball, making a meal or getting ready for school or work.
Modifying tasks or environment so they can be adapted to provide the appropriate level of challenge and ensure safety and independence.
Managing the sensory environment to reduce anxiety and increase positive interactions for people who can be overwhelmed by sensations caused by touch, taste, sound, light and social interactions.
Building and managing ‘executive skills’ that help with the management of emotions and the monitoring of thoughts in order to work efficiently. These skills include planning, organisation, time management, working memory, response inhibition.
Occupational Therapy can also assist with the following:
Reduced independence, sensory sensitivity or difficulties in daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, grooming, mealtimes and fussy eating.
Oversensitivity to sensory input such as noises, messy play, being touched. High activity levels such as, fidgeting, poor concentration and constantly on the go. Poor sleep patterns. Under-reactivity to sensation e.g. not noticing when name is called, high pain threshold and missing instructions.
Reduced interest in pretend play, preference for repetitive solitary play or slower to develop play skills than peers. Difficulties playing cooperatively, poor frustration and social play skills.
Difficulties relating to peers, understanding and managing feelings.
Attention & Regulating emotions
Increased levels of activity or arousal, easily distracted, difficulty knowing what to focus on, difficulty regulating behaviour and managing emotional flexibility e.g. meltdowns, outburst
Inconsistent use of dominant hand, poor strength and control in the hands, poor co-ordination when using both hands together and reduced efficiency and fluency in movements.
Difficulties of delays with large movements, hand eye coordination, and balance. Avoiding or not appear as smooth in robust activities, participating in sport etc. Difficulty maintaining good posture and sitting positions for tasks.
Executive Functioning skills
Difficulty following a three-step task, initiating a task, sticking at a challenging task to achieve goal, organizing materials, time management and difficulties waiting for their turn.