WHY SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN NEED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY?



According to World Federation Occupational Therapist (WFOT), the definition of occupational therapy is a “client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health

and well-being through occupation” (WFOT, 2012). The goal is to enable people to

participate in their activities of everyday life that they need to do, want to do and are

expected to do or modifying their activities or environment through working with people

and community to enhance the ability.


As same as goes to special needs children, they need to be able to perform their daily

activities, includes their performance in activities of daily living, rest and sleep, education,

social participation and most important their play. Some children are not able to do all of

these easily because of their conditions or limitations. Children who can benefit or requires

occupational therapy includes neonates, infants and young children who have abnormal or are at risk of poor sensory-motor development up to teenagers with mental health

challenges. These falls under paediatrics conditions that might vary in terms of their

musculoskeletal, neurological or psychiatric impairments. These are children who are

experiencing difficulties in performing daily activities.


We assess the child from the perspectives of how they organise their information from

senses, their motor skills, cognitive function, perceptual processing function and their social

interaction and psychological aspects that covers self-esteem and motivation. We evaluate with the input from parents, the environment or tasks your child is able or underperforming.

We then develop individualised goals that are important to your child and family.


The importance of Occupational Therapy for children is to use play and activities modifications to develop and enhance skills, so that they perform better in purposeful activities that make up their daily tasks. An occupational therapist might aim to attend by promoting engagement and independence of the child which includes self-care activities throughout the day. Basically, what we do is to help the child to live his or her live to the fullest in various environments.


Why and how can Occupational Therapy help?


• Focuses on promotion of healthy lifestyles, prevention and rehabilitation.


• Provide support in terms of sensory processing and regulation. These includes teaching about sensory based interventions to assist the child to function in a self-regulated manner. This is so that the child can stay within calm-alert state appropriate to perform each activity accordingly.


• Support child to pay attention in class to learn.


• Address the performance deficits and promote independence of child in dressing,

toileting, feeding themselves, drinking water, showering, brushing teeth.


• Promote their visual motor skills, gross or fine motor skills, eye hand coordination.


• Build their movement and coordination and balance.


• Improve socialising skills and make friends.


• Recommend adaptations or specialised equipment for home and/or school to

improve participation.


• Provide wheelchair or specialised seating equipment to improve participation.


• Encourage proper positions when using computer in learning especially for this

pandemic season to prevent further issues.


• Provide support in play and leisure skills.


• Establishing individualised sleep hygiene routines and healthy habits in supporting

rest and sleep participation.


• Provide support for transition from high school to further education or employment


How can you find occupational therapists?


Occupational therapy practitioners actually work in a variety of settings. These includes schools, clinics, rehabilitation centres, community centres, hospitals and even corporate settings.


BY - LIM PEI TIEN, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST.

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