What is occupational therapy?
Occupational Therapy helps children to be able to play, to develop skills and to be able to experience the world around them. Occupational Therapists (OTs) focus on the child’s positioning and movement and on improving their hand strength, coordination and dexterity as well as their cognitive, social, perceptual, sensory and psychological skills.
There are many children here in Bali who have no access to Occupational Therapy and who cannot play or interact with the world around them as others do. For some with severe physical disabilities, this means a life of lying on their back staring at the ceiling without stimulation or fun in their life. For others it means they struggle at school as they cannot focus or understand how to learn like typically developing children. Occupational therapists also provide counselling to children who have suffered trauma, neglect or abuse.
Treatment often focuses on improving a child’s development in the areas of:
- Fine motor skills – writing, picking up small objects etc.
- Gross motor skills – jumping, throwing, balancing, kicking a ball etc.
- Play skills
- Social skills
- Postural tone and stability
- Hand eye coordination
- Sensory Processing
- Cognition – attention/focus, memory, counting etc.
- Perceptual skills – understanding shapes, colours, distance etc.
Occupational therapists work with children who:
- Have a developmental delay – are behind other children their age in typical development
- Need counselling
- Have a physical disability such as cerebral palsy
- Have an intellectual disability such as Downs syndrome
- Have a condition such as autism or another sensory processing disorder
- Have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or another learning disorder