Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in activities of everyday life.
World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT)
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapists work with people with mental, physical, cognitive and/or social/emotional difficulties. At Strides, our occupational therapists work with children and young people to develop skills that enable them to gain full participation in functional everyday activities, reach their full potential and improve their overall quality of life. The therapeutic treatment plan is developed to meet your child’s specific needs and therapy goals are based on an initial interview, clinical observations and on-going interactions with the child. We are aware as children develop they can experience a variety of different difficulties. At Strides our aim is help your child navigate these difficulties and enable them to live as happily and independently as possible with confidence. We do this by challenging your child with meaningful activities that they have fun doing. By using activities that have meaning for your child reaching their goals becomes an easy task.
At Strides we are committed to providing a high quality service and all our occupational therapists are fully qualified, CORU registered and committed to keeping up to date with research and continued professional development.
Who can benefit from paediatric occupational therapy?
If your child is having difficulty with any of the items listed below then occupational therapy may be an appropriate intervention for them.
Fine Motor skills involve the use of the small muscles of the hands to carry out precise, controlled movements in a smooth and steady fashion. Components of fine motor skills include dexterity, manipulation and strength. If your child is having difficulty with any of the items listed below then occupational therapy may be appropriate.
- Delayed hand dominance.
- Using both hands for tasks.
- Holding pencils, markers, crayons etc.
- Scissors skills.
- Cutlery skills.
- Dressing skills, such as using laces, buttons or zips.
- Using construction based activities e.g. Lego.
- Manipulating small toys and objects.
Gross Motor skills involve the use of the bigger muscles of the body in relation to your arms, legs and torso. A child may apply too much force or not enough when engaging in gross motor based activities. Occupational therapy can be useful if your child is struggling with any of the items outlined below.
- Difficulty managing stairs.
- Bilateral coordination i.e. using both sides of the body.
- Trouble crossing the midline.
- Ball skills.
- Have high or low muscle tone.
- Lacking fluidity and being uncoordinated and often viewed as ‘clumsy’.
- Being overly cautious and/or avoidant of gross motor movements.
- Issue engaging in gross motor based activities such as soccer, cycling, swimming etc.
Sensory Integration is the process by which the brain takes in and interprets information about the body and its surroundings. This information is then used to control and organise the body so that a person can interact with the environment effectively and experience appropriate achievement in daily activities. Sensory processing issues may include:
- Under-registering sensory information meaning they are seeking sensory input.
- Over-registering sensory information meaning they are sensitive to certain stimulus.
- Frequently on the go, fidgeting, craving movement etc.
- Becoming easily upset, agitated or frustrated around certain stimulus.
- Finding change challenging.
- Trouble filtering out sensory information.
- Can be easily distracted and find it hard to focus and attend to tasks.
- Sensory issues that lead to difficulty with everyday activities e.g. getting dressed, brushing teeth, going to school, hair brushing etc.
Visual processing is how your brain takes in, processes and makes sense of visual information. It is not a problem with vision. Signs of having visual processing difficulties include:
- Struggling with eye hand coordination based activities.
- Trouble identifying letters, shapes or colours.
- Difficulties with handwriting e.g. judging the sizing and spacing of letters, reversing letters etc.
- Finding it hard to copy information.
- Issues with spatial awareness, often where the child is bumping into objects.
- Trouble with matching activities or identifying differences.
- Problems with sequencing.
- Difficulty with depth perception meaning the ability to judge distance is poor.
- Difficulty with reading and spelling.
Social Skills and Play
Play and social skills are very important for helping reach developmental milestones, promoting confidence and enabling participation in everyday life. If your child struggles to engage fully in play and finds social interactions challenging then occupational therapy can help. Sign of trouble with playing and interacting socially include:
- Being overly shy or introverted.
- Trouble initiating and sustaining conversations.
- Preferring to interact and play with adults or children younger than them.
- Difficulty interacting with their own peer group in an appropriate manner.
- Trouble with going to social events such as parties.
- Have anxiety around meeting new people and going to new environments.
- Disinterest in toys, with a tendency to move quickly from one toy to the next.
- Spend less time playing with toys than their peers.
- Engaging mainly in repetitive play on their own terms and in isolation.
- Issues with cooperative play i.e. trouble playing and using toys with other children.
Daily Living Skills
Many children can have trouble with initiating, carrying out and coping with activities of daily living. Many of which require developed executive functioning skills. Issues with daily living skills that our occupational therapists can assist with include:
- Planning everyday tasks.
- Managing their belongings and their time.
- Difficulties with dressing.
- Trouble with grooming including bathing, hair brushing, teeth brushing etc.
- Issues dealing with money.
- Trouble retaining and recalling information.
- Difficulty initiating tasks and following directions
- Struggling to use public transport and go on social outings.
- Problems completing household chores.