Wait, My Child Has an Occupation?
When we typically think of the term occupation, we think of the word job. Yes, kids don’t have “jobs” but they do have activities that they engage in day to day. Children engage in meaningful tasks on a daily basis, like play, self-care, educational tasks, leisure activities, as well as things like chores, and many other activities too. In occupational therapy, we work on helping children perform their childhood occupations in the very way best that they can!
We help children engage in these important occupations by viewing the task and analyzing the various components that facilitate engagement. For example, a child might have difficulty engaging in a seemingly simple task like brushing their teeth. However, from an occupational therapist point of view, we would break the task down and analyze the components of brushing their teeth. These components could consist of grasp, sequencing the steps, range of motion, tolerating the tooth paste or bristles of the toothbrush, attention, ability to motor plan, as well as many other skills required.
What Do Kids Do at Occupational Therapy?
Once the occupational task has been analyzed, the pediatric occupational therapist can work on those underlying skills to further facilitate engagement in that meaningful activity. During our session, yes you will see a toothbrush in your child’s hand to practice that self-care task. But you might also see us completing an obstacle course, pulling squigz from a vertical surface, or engaging in messy play. Working on those underlying skills through play further develops and facilitates progress towards their meaningful goals.
So in short, yes your child has many occupations. And occupational therapy will further increase their independence and participation in those meaningful tasks if needed. If your child has difficulty engaging in their day to day childhood occupations, call the office at 708-478-1820 or click here to schedule a free 30 minute OT screening.
Written By: Kiersten Robertson, MOT, OTR/L