Occupational Therapy is a client-centered health profession that helps individuals across the lifespan develop or improve their engagement in everyday occupations. ‘Occupation’ refers to an activity that serves a specific purpose in the life of an individual. It varies from person to person and can be anything from an important self-care routine to an essential daily task.
Occupational therapy intervention focuses on understanding the individual's need and aims to help them manage their typical daily tasks like getting dressed, engaging in peer interactions, working, playing, etc.
WHAT DOES AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST DO?
An Occupational Therapist (OT) is a licensed and university-trained professional, who works with individuals through the whole life cycle, to enhance their lives by helping them improve their daily motor skills. Occupational therapy is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science. Hence, the practitioners adopt a person-centered approach and use evidence-based research to help individuals to live life their way. Occupational therapists assess and determine physical, social, and psychological needs of an individual and support them to accomplish their tasks successfully.
At a glance, occupational therapists help individuals who have difficulties with physical coordination, organization and planning skills, to acquire such skills, such as writing or working buttons, in a more efficient and less tiring way.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ?
Increased independence and self-confidence;
Better understanding between parents and teachers of what a child should be able to accomplish; and
Improved ability to concentrate and complete schoolwork.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY
TAKES PLACE IN AN
OT PROGRAM ?
Occupational Therapists at Stepping Stones Center identify areas individuals need help with and focus on supporting them. They not only help them overcome their inhibitions, but also guide them towards becoming independent and self-reliant.
Referral / Information Gathering (Consultation)
When you approach Stepping Stones Center, initially, a certified clinical team at Stepping Stones evaluates each individual’s abilities to determine whether he/she has attained required developmental skills like playing, grooming or even leisure skills.
Upon a thorough assessment of the individual’s sensory, behavior and skills, our therapists collaborate and provide interventions to help each individual accurately respond to sensory stimuli.
Needs Identification and Problem Formation / Goal Setting and Action Planning
Our clinicians then identify difficulties and concerns and report these back to the individual’s support team. Stepping Stones Center supports individualized programs. After a thorough assessment of the individual’s sensory, behavior and skills, an appropriate program is specifically designed to enhance the abilities of that particular individual. For this, our occupational therapists and behavior analysts study the assessment results and discuss areas where the child/individual needs help. After this, a program is designed with a special focus on areas in which they need improvement using a S.M.A.R.T goal approach. For example, if a child is struggling to keep pace with peers or has poor social skills, he/she will be suggested to undergo group-based programs or activities. This helps them overcome their social issues and helps them gain confidence and self-esteem to communicate socially. On the other hand, if the child is struggling with gross motor and fine motor skills or sensory related issues, he/she will be suggested to undergo individually-based programs. This helps the child to develop the skills required to achieve his/her goals whilst regulating his/her sensory demands.
Intervention – Providing Services and Ongoing Evaluation
Following an assessment review with the parents/guardian, our therapist will proceed with the intervention. The outcomes of the sessions are reviewed constantly in order to ensure the individuals progress towards the desired goal.
After the initial 6 months of intervention, the occupational therapist will look at the outcomes and measure them against the individual’s baseline ability, which enables our clinician to identify improvements.
HOW DOES OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY WORK?
Occupational therapists have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the OT in relation to being an integral part of the therapy team. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages and with various challenges. When they work with children who have learning and attention issues, they help with a variety of issues.
Occupational therapy plays a crucial role in the life of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as it helps them to be more successful. Occupational therapy may:
Work with the child to develop the skills required to achieve their goals (e.g. self-care tasks such as buttoning clothes, using eating utensils);
Help to improve the child’s gross motor and fine motor skills and enhance their eye-hand coordination (e.g. learning to write on a classroom whiteboard, or copy what the teacher writes on the board onto a notebook; grasping and controlling pencil/grip, using scissors);
Suggest environmental adaptations, such as removing visual stimuli on the walls in the classroom or changing the position of the child in the classroom;
Provide specialized equipment, such as pencil grips, Wilbarger brushes or therapeutic chewable pendants; and
Educate parents, caregivers, and others about the child’s development and learning.
Just like children, adults with special needs too can benefit from occupational therapy. Stepping Stones has specially designed individual and group programs that help them enhance their independence in performing daily activities. The program is aimed to assist them to maximize their independent living skills, to build skills for success and to improve their self-confidence in their ability to perform their daily occupations.
Occupational therapy can help people of all ages improve their strength, coordination and organization skills.
Occupational therapy can help parents and teachers understand a child’s capabilities.