Occupational therapy focuses on a child’s ability to perform everyday activities in a way that provides meaning to life. Occupational therapy is important for a child when their activities are affected (or become limited) by delays in development, disability, or disease. It addresses the underlying skills such hand dexterity, sensory processing, and cognitive or mental functioning.
Determining if your child needs occupational therapy
An intervention plan is usually agreed on between the family and occupational therapists. Appointments can take place at home or in the child-care setting. Please contact the Community Rehabilitation office to arrange an appointment with an occupational therapist. Additionally, parents and guardians will be given a home programme for their child and will be responsible for incorporating these ideas and activities into their child’s day.
After an initial evaluation, further consultations are available upon parental request—or at the request of other agencies involved, with the parents’ permission. Consultations are used to determine whether full assessment is required and to provide general advice. The therapist will send your doctor the consultation results and you will be required to follow up, on obtaining a physician’s referral, if a full evaluation is recommended.
A full assessment has to be recommended by a physician. Once a physician’s referral has been received by the Department of Health’s Community Rehabilitation office, you will be contacted by phone or mail and asked to arrange an appointment with the relevant therapist(s). There may be a waiting list for an assessment.
Occupational therapy and your child
Treatments are specific and different for every child, however, examples of treatments are:
- designing appropriate activities
- using compensatory activities
- adapting the environment to fit the child
- prescribing assistive equipment