The Occupational Therapy Team

 

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The occupational therapy team aims to promote each child’s participation, functioning and independence within their ‘occupations’ at school:

  • Play
  • Learning in the classroom
  • Self-care tasks such as dressing and feeding

Assessment

When assessing, occupational therapists look at how the following factors impact on a child’s participation, functioning and independence.

1. The child’s individual skills and capacities

a) Level of engagement and play skills
b) Self-regulation
c) Gross, fine and visual motor skills
d) Sensory profile

2. Activity demands

a) Motor
b) Social
c) Developmentally appropriate, i.e. how it matches the child’s current skills and capacities

3. Environment

a) How the environment supports or limits participation and/or independence 

Intervention

The occupational therapists offer a range of interventions dependent on each child’s level of needs determined through assessment. These include:

1.  Individual, small or whole group therapy that focuses on developing the child’s skills and capacities (mentioned above)

2. Collaborating with the class team to adapt activities within specific class lessons to:

a) Encourage the child’s spontaneous and independent participation and engagement
b) Provide a “just-right” challenge to continue to extend their skills and capacities (motor, regulation, attention).

Some examples:

Using the peanut ball which can promote body awareness, strength and stability of the muscles as well as offer organising or alerting feedback that can enhance a child’s participation and engagement within a lesson or activity.

Child using peanut ball

Using therapeutic putty which promotes the strength and stability of the arms, hands and fingers, can offer organising and calming feedback (through pulling or pushing against resistance) and is motivating for many of the children. Pushing the blocks (pictured) together against resistance also offers strengthening feedback to the fingers.

An examlpe of Therapeutic Putty

Finding objects of relevance to the lesson in a box of dry chickpeas (or dry rice, noodles, lentils). Using tongs or large tweezers promotes the strength and stability of the fingers and supports the development of a tripod grasp required for writing.

Pupil picking up objects from a box a chickpeas using tweezers

3. Providing therapeutic equipment to increase efficiency or independence within a specific task.

Some examples:

“Movin’sit” cushion (blue cushion pictured) or footstools to promote a more efficient and stable posture in sitting to enable the child to be more available to participate and engage in lessons.

Examples of Movin'sit cushions and footstools

Inclined planes or pencil grips to promote efficiency in writing.

Example of a pupil's work on an Inclined surfaceA pencil with a grip attached

Foam handles on utensils to promote efficiency and independence in feeding.

A spoon with a foam handle

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!