Pediatric occupational therapy Los Angeles helps children in gaining and promote independence by strengthening their fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and sensory motor skills. This will help the children to socialize and function in life and become functional grown up. Conditions such as general developmental delays, congenital physical impairment, and acquired injuries hamper a child’s ability hamper to perform activities that are appropriate at their age. Furthermore, it can even hinder the normal progress of the child through the cognitive or social development stages. Occupational therapy pediatrics may be quite critical to parents in promoting appropriate age skills to prevent any delay in development. According to the nature of development skills acquisitions, if a child’s delay is not addressed as early as possible then the possibility of a problem can be higher at a young age.
Why should we choose pediatric occupational therapy?
In life, the role of a child is to interact and play with other children. Pediatric occupational therapists help in evaluating the current skills of children relating to play, school performance, and daily activities to compare them with the appropriate developmentally at that age. They also help children that find challenging in performing daily activities by addressing behavioral, sensory, social, motor, and environmental issues.
Who may benefit from pediatric occupational therapy?
Children might need pediatric occupational therapists with or without the presence of a medical condition. However, those children are considered to be at high risk if they have the following health conditions as this can result in delaying impacting participation skills whether at home or school. They are as follows:
- Birth defects or birth injuries
- Traumatic injuries (spinal cord or brain)
- Sensory processing disorders
- Learning problems
- Developmental delays
- Behavioral problems
- Pervasive or autism developmental disorder
- Post-surgical hand conditions
- Spina bifida
- Cerebral palsy and other chronic diseases
What can we accomplish through pediatric occupational therapy?
The following are some of the areas where pediatric occupational therapists work in helping children. They are as follows:
- Pediatric occupational therapists help children in improving fine motor skills. This makes the children grasp and release toys and others. Also, this can help in developing good handwriting skills.
- They also help children in addressing hand-eye coordination. This help in improving the skills of a child such as batting a bat, hitting a target, copying from a whiteboard, etc.
- They help children in learning basic life tasks. This can include getting dressed, bathing, brushing their teeth, eating food by themself, etc.
- Pediatric occupational therapists help children maintain good positive behavior in all environments. For example, instead of acting out or hitting another child, use positive ways to deal with such anger such as participating in physical activities or writing about feelings.
- They also help children in evaluating the need for specialized tools and teaching them how to use them such as wheelchairs, dressing devices, splints bathing equipment, communication aids, and others.
- They also help children in improving their attention and social skills allowing development in interpersonal relationships.
What do they do to help children?
While treating children, pediatric occupational therapy often involved playing into their treatment so that it helps in reducing any anxiety or fears they might feel toward therapy. However, people should not confuse pediatric occupational therapists with play therapy. To pediatric occupational therapists, play involved a series of motor planning, learning activities, and cognitive training. This play in therapy can include puzzles, games, toys, physical exercise, and songs. In short, the main goal of a pediatric occupational therapist is to help children stimulate and make appropriate progress while they are being assisted to build a child’s confidence and self-esteem when it comes to their capabilities and potential.
Moreover, the therapist providing occupational therapy pediatrics must be certified and must have a license to practice it. They are the professional that provides intervention for skills development. This can include ongoing analysis of the ability of a child and medically based development and measurable goals to help children increase their overall performance with the appropriate task at their age group.
Here are some of the few areas that a pediatric occupational therapist would help to develop. They are as follows:
Fine motor skills:
This can include wrist and forearm control, finger dexterity, and hand strength
This can include remembering the shapes and sequences, and names and formation of letters.
Gross motor skills:
This can include body and balance coordination
This can include bathing, dressing, and eating by themselves
This can include listening and following directions, and taking turns
This can include helping with sensitivity to noise, taste, touch or textures, and visual stimuli.
Education and training of a pediatric occupational therapist
A pediatric occupational therapist works with children of all ages starting from infants to adolescents. So, a pediatric occupational therapist qualification starts with an undergraduate degree. And also since there is no program for a pediatric occupational therapist, this degree can either be in biology, psychology, anatomy, kinesiology even liberal arts. Furthermore, pediatric occupational therapists also have experience in working voluntarily with children or people with mental disabilities, illnesses, injuries, and pain. So, this work experience to deal with children helps them in promoting and gaining acceptance into a specialized master’s degree in OT. So, during their graduate programs, they mainly focus their fieldwork and coursework on assessing the ability of a patient in performing daily tasks, critical reasoning skills, anatomy, developmental skills, and rehabilitation skills.
The last step on the way to becoming a pediatric occupational therapist is licensing and certification. So, all the people who choose pediatric occupational therapy as their carrier need to pass NBCOT (national certification in occupational therapy) examination.