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What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?
Occupational Therapists help children thrive in the "occupations" of childhood – learning, playing and growing. This may involve teaching new or adaptive techniques for methods of self-care, preparing and eating meals, functional mobility or to perform recreational activities. To reach the maximum level of independence, an occupational therapist will evaluate and address upper extremity strength, coordination, endurance, mental status, sitting/standing balance and transfer mobility.
Activities of Daily Living include routine actions such as self-feeding, bathing, transferring (bed to chair), grooming, dressing and toileting. Functional activities are analyzed into specific skills and skill components related to neuromuscular, cognitive and developmental abilities. Through this analysis, variables to be targeted for intervention are identified. Activities or the environment may be adapted or modified so the child becomes as functional and independent as possible.
Upper Body Neuromuscular Assessment includes reflexes, muscle tone, strength, endurance, postural alignment and control and soft tissue integrity of the upper extremities. These components are the foundation for the development of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills involve deliberate and controlled movements requiring both muscle development and maturation of the central nervous system.
Cognition underlies a child’s ability to perceive, attend to and learn from the environment. Cognitive ability is required to learn skills in self-care, play and school.
Vision is the primary tool through which traditional learning takes place. Many times a child’s vision problems will limit success in the classroom. Sight is the mere ability to see, but vision is the result of the ability to interpret and understand the information that comes from sight.
Delayed Development refers to the full spectrum of development from mild delays to significant disabilities.
Upper extremity orthotic/prosthetic needs - Hands play a unique and important role in a person's life; they serve prehensile, proprioceptive and communication purposes.