OT for Children?
A common misconception surrounding the occupational therapy profession is that we work exclusively with adults experiencing work-based challenges. Although there are many OTs that spend their careers helping individuals develop the skills necessary to function at work, my focus as an OT is slightly different. I look at the occupations of children and young adults and focus on enhancing their quality of life. But if children don't work, what are their occupations?
What is often overlooked is that occupations are more than just jobs and careers. Occupations are the everyday activities that bring meaning and purpose to our lives. For children, these occupations include anything from going to school or playing with friends, to getting dressed or eating breakfast. When these occupations are interrupted, a child's independence can become restricted.
This is where I come in!
I work with children and young adults to assess problems and determine where they originate. I then collaborate with families and the community to find appropriate solutions that enhance independence and improve self-esteem. Problems can take the form of anything from being a picky eater to having difficulty focusing at school. OTs provide a variety of interventions that help solve these problems using functional and hands-on methods that are geared towards generalized learning. Whether it's teaching a child the skills they're missing to complete a difficult task, modifying the relevant environment, or educating the teacher or parent on effective ways to intervene, an OTs role in the development from child to young adult is limitless.
In short, we do a lot more than support adults with employment issues. OTs help individuals of all ages find ways to enhance independence and improve their quality of life. Put simply, we help them do the things they want to do in order to live meaningful lives.