How Can We Help With These Areas of Concern?
Some examples of how occupational therapists can assist with different areas are listed below:
Play and Social Skills
- Adapt toys or modify the environment
- Recommend toys and play activities that are a suitable challenge for the child
- Offer play opportunities that encourage turn-taking and sharing
- Create social stories
- Providing education on services that provide social outings
- Discussing hobbies and interests and using these to drive increased social outings
Fine Motor Skills
- Increase hand and finger strength
- Improve hand eye co-ordination
- Establish hand dominance
- Develop in-hand manipulation – the ability to manipulate tools with control and controlled use of everyday tools.
- Improve posture to support the correct use of arms, hands, head and eyes
- Analyse fine motor control, such as the ability to hold a pen or pencil properly
- Determine visual and perceptual ability that influences a child’s ability to form letter and shapes using a writing utensil.
- Help develop and evaluate handwriting curriculums and collaborate with teachers on effective strategies.
- Suggest home activities that promote the development of skills needed in good handwriting.
Gross Motor Skills
- Increase strength through messy play and activities
- Increasing endurance can be done by gradually increasing the duration and intensity of an activity
- Improve postural control and strength
- Improving balance and co-ordination
- Establishing body awareness
- Create a social story
- Establish awareness of upsetting situations
- Provide techniques and strategies to regulate emotions
- Create a visual schedule of the steps involved in the task
- Breaking tasks into smaller steps and supporting the child through each step
- Educate family on establishing and maintaining a routine or a strategy for each task
Attention and Concentration
- Add/remove stimulus in the classroom that can assist the child to focus in class (e.g. reducing surrounding noise or providing the child with a weight snake to provide sensory feedback)
- Provide techniques and strategies to improve concentration
- Collaborate with family to determine the child’s current sensory needs
- Identify and modify the environment to reduce the barriers for the child
- Teach and model activities to support different sensory, motor and behavioural needs.