What is paediatric occupational therapy
Paediatric occupational therapy aims to increase a child's independence in daily life, with the associated meaningful activities. You can think of questions about getting dressed and undressed, playing, toddler skills, writing and/or sensory information processing. The occupational therapist connects well with the child and the parents to work on the activities that are difficult in a fun way. Do you recognize your child, make an appointment!
When can you see an occupational therapist
Parents and child can go to an occupational therapist when problems are experienced in performing meaningful daily activities, which hinders the independent functioning of a child. Possible questions for help can be:
- Putting on and off socks and shoes
- Tying shoe laces
- Putting jacket on and off
- Getting dressed and undressed
- Food and drink: using cutlery and drinking without spilling
- Mobility (cycling and walking)
- Playing alone or playing together
- Playing with toys (ex. Playing with 2 hands)
- Preschool skills
- Cutting and sticking
- Making a puzzle
- Working according to a plan
- Pain during writing
- Incorrect pen grip
- Pressing too hard or too soft with pencil
- Messy handwriting
- Writing too slow
- Difficulty learning to write letter trajectories
- Sensory information processing (at school or at home)
- Fidgeting and moving
- Easily distracted, difficulty following instructions
- Attention and concentration in class
The above meaningful activities in which children can experience problems depend on and are appropriate for their age.
What does a paediatric occupational therapist do?
During the treatment, the occupational therapist focuses on guiding a child through practice to acquire new skills, appropriate to the request for help. This involves looking at a child's learning strategy. Optimizing the environment is also very important. It is assessed whether adjustments are necessary in the physical environment (table/chair or layout of a room), but the social environment is also examined (guidance/way of giving instructions to parents/carers or other parties involved).
The occupational therapist deals with different developmental areas of a child:
- Fine motor skills development: use of the hands.
Being able to grab an object, bring it to the centre line and be able to transfer it, crossing the centre line, working with two hands and refining motor skills (from shoulder/elbow, to wrist to fingers) and motor coordination;
- Play development: in/out play > construction play
- Sensory information processing: regulating stimuli to be able to act;
- Development of executive functions: working in a planned way, spatial insight.
The basic health insurance entitles you to ten hours of occupational therapy per year. You may have a higher reimbursement if you have supplementary insurance.