The role of an occupational therapist is to evaluate the development of the sensorimotor skills of the child necessary to participate in activities of daily living in the community, at home and at school. The occupational therapist can work in different spheres such as sensory processing, extra curricular activities, eating, academic functioning and autonomy. The age of the population is 0 to 17 years old.
Depending on the age of the child, the length of the evaluation process can vary. In addition, every child is unique and has different needs and limitations that impact the length of the evaluation. The evaluation process includes clinical observations through play and different activities, as well as the use of standardized testing. This process will allow the therapist to get to know the child and their family as well as to why their parents are consulting an occupational therapist. Questions and questionnaires linked to birth history, development history, abilities and difficulties will be used.
After the evaluation process is complete, the occupational therapist will present the findings and explain the results to the parents with a written report. During this session, the frequency of therapy will be discussed and the objectives for the treatment sessions will be determined. Recommendations for home, school or daycare will also be given to help and stimulate the child in their different environments.
During the therapy sessions, the occupational therapist will be working on the objectives that were set in conjunction with the parents. The way treatment sessions are structured is through play, therapeutic activities and exercises, sensory integration and functional task specific activities. Parents are encouraged to participate and observe the therapy sessions, so that they can ask questions which will help them follow through with the recommendations at home. The frequencies of therapy sessions are variable as no two children are the same.
*In certain clinics, the service is offered at home, at daycare or at school.
In which case can the occupational therapist help?
Neurofunctional reorganization – Padovan Method ®
The Padovan Method ® or neurofunctional reorganization was developed by Beatriz Padovan, Speech Pathologist. This method takes into account the global development of a person and the person as a whole. This method is based on the correlation and interrelation of three important steps: walking-talking-thinking that allows for neurofunctional reorganization. The Padovan method ® and the movements that are done within the session follow the child’s steps of development including sensorimotor and oral motor skills. This method requires a minimum frequency of two sessions a week for at least 3 months.
Who can benefit from this method: anyone with the following diagnostics or difficulties: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyspraxia (developmental coordination disorder), developmental delays, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity, oral motor difficulties, behavioral and emotional difficulties and many more.
Do not hesitate to consult an occupational therapist who works in pediatrics to address your concerns about your child’s abilities, limitations and needs. Early intervention is key and can be more efficient.