You’ve been told that your child might benefit from occupational therapy, but you’re confused by this recommendation — your child is a little young for an occupation, after all. The name of this therapy is slightly confusing in this regard as occupational therapy (OT) has nothing to do with occupation but, rather, improving how one functions in the world around them.
The reality is that OT can play an invaluable role for kids facing developmental hurdles, including speech disorders and autism spectrum disorder. This is why the team here at Celebrations Speech Group offers the service.
Here, we explore how OT can help kids better navigate their environments for healthier social, mental, emotional, and even physical development.
The basics of OT
While we started with a promise to better define OT, it’s important to understand that this therapy is very much tailored to each child and their own unique circumstances and environment.
At its core, OT is a therapy in which we help kids negotiate everyday life to help promote more well-being and independence. Things that we might cover in OT include
- Getting dressed
- Personal hygiene
- Play and other interactions
- Social skills
- Using special equipment, if applicable
While the above are examples of some of the goals of OT, we get there by working on:
- Fine motor skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Thinking skills — working through things
- Sensory processing
- Alertness regulation
These skills are designed to make living everyday life a little easier for children.
Who can benefit from OT
There are many different reasons why we might recommend occupational therapy for children. Often, we combine occupational therapy and speech therapy to help kids who have:
- Behavioral disorders
- Physical impairments
- Speech disorders
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Autism spectrum disorder
To illustrate how OT might work, let’s take a look at a child who has a speech, language, voice, or swallowing disorder — and about 1 in 12 kids aged 3-17 in the United States has one of these issues.
Through speech therapy, we work on the mechanical and communication aspects of the disorder while OT tackles how your child deals with their specific issue in a more real-life setting. For example, if your child is dealing with stuttering, through OT, we teach kids how to work through frustrations and problems that they may encounter while we work on improving the actual stutter through speech therapy.
Whatever the reason we might have for recommending OT for your child, our goal is simple — to help them thrive.
If you’d like to explore how your child might benefit from occupational therapy, whether as part of a wider therapy plan or as a standalone treatment, please contact one of our offices in Brentwood, Stockton, or Elk Grove, California, to schedule a consultation.