Happy Occupational Therapy month, everyone!
Encompass is the proud home to six talented, passionate, and creative occupational therapists. Our OT team includes Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs). Our OT team works in both our Pediatric Outpatient Clinic and Birth to Three Early Intervention programs, providing functional, meaningful therapeutic programming to children ages birth through 8 years.
In honor of Occupational Therapy month, we decided to go directly to the source and ask them ourselves: What exactly do you do? And why is OT so great?
Here are some of the responses from our wonderful team of OTs:
What is your favorite area to treat within your scope of practice?
“Pediatrics, of course. But more specifically in Pediatrics I like the fine motor tasks for writing and crafts. I also have enjoyed working in other settings, like a skilled nursing/rehab facility.”
“I really enjoy working with young babies and helping their families develop the foundational skills they will need to succeed for the rest of their lives.”
“My favorite area of practice is early intervention, particularly early infant physical development and movement skills. I also enjoy supporting social-emotional development and parent/child relationships. Birth to three years is such an exciting time for brain development and very rewarding to be providing the support a family needs.”
What makes Occupational Therapy unique from other developmental therapies?
“OT has a very unique challenge and opportunity to work in lots of areas of concern. The occupation and development of a child is play and learning, which is in turn touches on all aspects of life. We can address things from behavior, sensory, and gross motor to applying and generalizing speech skills to functional tasks. OT has some grey and overlapping areas in physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and mental health therapy. We can take the skill they are learning in PT to apply it to an activity of daily living, like dynamic standing balance. In PT they may use a Bosu ball for balance tasks, but we can then take that and work on writing at the board in standing, or brushing their teeth at the sink. One quote I like about OT is ‘Doctors save lives… OT brings lives to life.’”
“OT is unique from other therapies in that it is very broad in scope. OTs can work with a variety of populations, diagnoses, and settings. Also, I feel it is the most challenging to explain to people! No, OTs don’t help people get jobs!”
“Occupational Therapists use a functional lens when thinking about treatment which helps families focus on strengths as well as how to build on those strengths to maximize functional potential.”
How can OT help a child?
“OT can help a child in so many areas! Play, self-care and routines, and readiness to learn and engage with peers are some of the most important areas.”
“OT can help a child do their ‘job’ of play and development within their individual abilities. An OT can use creative ways to adapt a child’s environment or teach their caregivers daily activities to increase their child’s skills in an area of concern. We are also skilled in discovering what motivates each child so that they learn to become independent little people!”
“Occupational Therapy helps children by supporting their potential to participate in all aspects of their childhood as much as they can. It is critical that the OT and the caregiver partner to work on those skills that will help the child live a fulfilling life.”
Finish this sentence: “Occupational Therapy helps children with…”
“…bridging their strengths with weakness to accomplish something greater than they believed they could.”
“…the skills they need to enjoy life!”
How can I celebrate OT Month at home?
“You can try something outside of your comfort zone that will foster new skills such as letting your child help prepare dinner, setting up a messy sensory exploration activity, or letting your child increase independence by dressing themselves even if the clothes are backwards or inside out.”
“You can celebrate OT month at home by playing a game of ‘What would I do if I could no longer…?’ Fill in the blank with a daily activity that you currently do, and consider what might happen if you suddenly lost the use of your dominant hand, or sensation in either hands, or the ability to sequence steps in an activity, etc. Try to problem solve ways you might have to adapt your home or your own body to make this particular activity successful.”
“You can celebrate OT month by creating a fun toy out of household items (paper towel rolls, plastic yogurt containers, lids, etc.)! I would love to find some new ideas! Take a picture and send to the OTs to share!”