Provided throughout Gainesville, Lake City, and Northeast Florida
What is OT?
Occupational therapy is an evidence-based, holistic rehabilitative/habilitative profession that focuses on increasing an individual's independence and daily life functioning through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. The word "occupation" is used to describe our daily activities:
ADLs (Activities of Daily Living): bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding/eating, toileting, functional mobility, personal device care, and sexual activity IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living): cleaning, care of others, care of pets, child-rearing, communication management, driving and community mobility, financial management, health management and maintenance, home establishment and management, rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation. In OT, we use these daily activities as a means and an end.
In pediatric occupational therapy, our primary focus on achieving goals is through a child's #1 occupation: PLAY! Through the specialized lens of OT, an occupational therapist incorporates specific skills into strategically chosen play activities to help the child achieve their goals and address underlying challenges, such as postural instability, fine motor skills and coordination, sensory processing skills, visual-motor integration, attention, and so many more.
Due to the holistic nature of occupational therapy, not only do therapists analyze the individual's physical abilities and challenges, but they also analyze their environment, social supports, and any other external factors that may be affecting occupational performance.
Who Can Benefit From OT?
If your child is experiencing difficulties with any of the above occupations, has not reached certain age-specific milestones, or has a certain qualifying diagnosis - they could benefit from occupational therapy!
Common Diagnoses that were seen in OT include:
• Cerebral Palsy
• Birth Injuries
• Traumatic Injuries
• Down Syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities
• Developmental Delay
• Developmental Disabilities
• Autism Spectrum Disorder
• Sensory Processing Disorder
• Learning Disabilities
• Spina Bifida
• Limb Differences
• Feeding Disorders
• Orthopedic Injuries
• Emotional/Behavioral Challenges
What Can Be Achieved Through OT?
Depending on the child's family's and therapist's goals for your child, occupational therapy can achieve many things!
Some examples may include:
• Increasing fine motor skills and coordination so that the child can complete handwriting or feeding tasks
• Developing postural strength and endurance so that the child can better coordinate their body, sit up in a chair without external supports, and complete tabletop activities (schoolwork, eating)
• Improving emotional strategies and behaviors in all environments
• Improving interpersonal skills in-order-to maintain healthy social relationships with friends and family
• Evaluating the need for specialized equipment, such as AAC devices (Augmentative and Alternative Communication device), wheelchairs, walkers, splints, sensory tools, bathing, and dressing equipment
• Learning basic self-care tasks such as dressing, grooming, feeding
• Promoting improved sensory processing skills and giving the child the tools to better respond to unexpected or unwanted sensory experiences (scratchy clothes, loud environments, food textures, etc.)