April is National Occupational Therapy Month! I have been an Occupational Therapist for about 4 years, working mostly with pediatric populations in a variety of settings. Even before I choose a career as an Occupational Therapist, I had worked with many in my life as a result of my JRA. I had early intervention up to I was three years old to work on my overall development and hand strength. Early Intervention is a program where therapists visit families in their own homes to work together with the family until the child is age 3 to provide support, education and therapy. I then received frequent out patient occupational therapy to increase my hand strength, work on my fine motor skills and create splints to increase range of motion and decrease pain. I received occasional OT in the schools as well as accommodations to allow me to access the curriculum more effectively. In my adult life, I still occasionally visit OT’s when my needs are outside of what I can provide myself.
But what does an Occupational Therapist do? OT’s help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities or occupations. As an adult, occupations can include daily life skills such as dressing, feeding, caring for children and daily life activities. As a child occupations include playing, learning, developing, socially engaging with peers and participating in school. OT’s can work in hospitals, homes, schools, private clinics or community settings.
I have always enjoyed working with children in their homes, schools, clinic, and community settings. I work with children with Autism to help them maintain focus better to increase their learning, to increase their tolerance of sensory input to help them participate more at birthday parties and community outings. I work with children to improve their hand strength to help them dress themselves more independently and improve their handwriting. I help children improve their core strength so they can sit at tables without slouching or fidgeting. The best part of what I do is almost all of my treatment with children is centered around play. It is what makes my job challenging, fun and rewarding.
I am creating a new page on this blog with some occupational therapy tips and resources for children. My hope is to update this page and occasionally write blog posts regarding OT as well.
Happy OT Month!