Occupational therapists develop skills to promote independence.
In general, Occupational therapists help people (adults and kids) do what they want ...and need to do to get their life 'job' done.
For kids -- this can mean being able to do their schoolwork, self-care, interact with others and play.
OTs have always been a part of the world of self-care and play -- which is an important part of the OT profession.
But where do OT's fit in when it comes to supporting schoolwork?
Well, it varies in different parts of the world and even in different schools in the same district -- but for the most part, this part of the OT's role in supporting schoolwork is little "grey" or maybe a better work is vague!
And honestly I think we need to change this!
So let's look at why OT's need to be helping kids with their school work (or skills, as OTs like to say!)
1. Basic skills have an impact on all school tasks!
OT's are assessing basic skills and these skills are needed for ALL activities. OTs assess hand skills, visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, visual attention, etc. Which means OT's have a tons of information to help kids develop skills in such areas as reading, math, writing -- OT are not just in the school to look at a child's pencil grip or dressing skills (although these are important as well!!) there to review fine motor skilonly support things like pencil grip and letter formation but they also can support math skills beating etc.
2. Schoolwork is still skill development.
Schoolwork is a child's work during the day and that's why were called Occupational Therapist. We are "work therapists". So to help the child complete their work, Occupational Therapist need to be involved in the skills of completing school work.
School work involves letters, numbers, words, sentences, reading, recalling instructions, getting ready for the activity, and -- you get my point -- all these skills are needed to be independent and successful in a child's work life (not to mention their very important adult future).
3. Occupational therapist look at school tasks differently!
You could have a teacher, speech therapist, and occupational therapist in the same room looking at the same activity and each one of them would walk away with a different view of the activity. Occupational therapists tend to walk away with a view of what skills are required to get a child from Point A to Point B.
OTs are not looking at it from a teacher's perspective but we are looking at the child's skills and what skills are needed to complete the activity. From there, we look at what skills need to be developed and also how we can make the activity successful for the child right now!
So can OTs work on reading skills? Yes.
What about writing skills? Yes.
What about math skills? Yes.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
OTs offer ways to allow a child to gain skills and be independent -- don't you want this input when it comes to supporting kids in school? I think you do.
Psst...if you are an OT looking for a course that reviews how basic skills impact school related tasks, or how to address skill development with other professionals, or how to look at school related tasks in a new and powerful way (to promote independence and success at school) -- then you'll want to jump on my email list to learn more about the iPads at School Levelled Program coming in 2016!