Middle Childhood Intervention: Module Three – The Professionals

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists or OTs work with children who have difficulties with their muscles. OTs help children improve the muscles that will make it possible for them to be as independent as possible. OTs work on helping children to improve their fine motor skills, and therefore their quality of life. Specifically, OTs help children with:

  • Eye/hand coordination (Fig. 1);
  • Eating (with one’s hands or with utensils such as forks and chopsticks);
  • Drinking and swallowing;
  • Dressing and undressing;
  • Writing, drawing and painting (Fig. 2);
  • Bathing and grooming;
  • Toileting.

playing with blocs

Figure 1. Eye/hand coordination

a boy painting

Figure 2. A boy painting

OTs work with children who have motor impairments (such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida), muscle tone (see ECI Glossary)  difficulties (such as Down syndrome and FASD), and trouble with muscle coordination.

OTs work with children individually or in groups. They offer therapy sessions to individual children, and often act as consultants in school settings.

OTs work very closely with the children’s parents and make suggestions about how parents can make adaptations to their homes  to maximize their children’s independence.

OTs are usually an integral part of many Individual Education Plan (IEP) (see full Glossary) teams. They serve on the team, offer information about whatever condition the child has, make recommendations to teachers and parents, and offer advice and suggestions about adaptive equipment. Such adaptive equipment includes adaptive pens and pencils, scissors, rulers and paint brushes.

OTs with special training in sensory integration therapy are called sensory integration specialists. They work with children who have sensory processing difficulties.

For more information (and an informational video) about OT, please visit the following website.

see References


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