About Occupational Therapy (OT)
When I mention that I have been a pediatric occupational therapist for over 25 years, I usually get questioned as to what OT is and why babies and children would use my services.
Occupational Therapy is a health profession which focuses on helping people achieve or maintain their independence — and maximize their level of success in everyday living skills. OT’s work with people from birth to old age who have physical, intellectual, emotional and or social impairments which are causing difficulties in their everyday functioning. Over the last 15 years, with the rise of autism and learning disabilities, I have specialized in addressing sensory processing impairments which accompany these disorders.
The term, “Occupational” refers to all of the ways in which people occupy their time throughout the day, and not just the obvious vocational aspects of employment. People at all ages have an occupation; and science has shown that the way they carry-out those tasks, directly impacts their continued health and development.
An infant needs to learn to suck, roll and explore; a student needs to be able to take in and perceive his education while engaging in his fine motor skills such as drawing or writing; middle-agers need to be all things to all people, and someone in the older age-brackets needs to learn compensation techniques so they can continue to do the tasks they love.
As you can see, some daily living tasks are necessary to survive, such as dressing and eating; but many times people need to be able to engage in tasks, which just enrich their heart and raise their giggle-level. I am very lucky to be able to assist others to learn and to have fun as part of my profession.
I have found that I use many of my therapy skills to work with and to bring out the best in our animals. Our new-borns and young puppies are given sensory stimulation exercises everyday to help their nervous systems adjust to the world and prepare them to be the best companions and playmates.