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What Is Occupational Therapy?

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By M’Liss Buckles, OTR/L

Occupational therapists help others become more independent with their meaningful, purposeful daily activities or “occupations.” OTs are supportive, creative problem-solvers who work in hospitals, clinics, schools, mental health programs and early intervention programs, to name a few. At CTC, our OTs serve children ages 0-3 in our Early Intervention Home-Based program, and children ages 3-18 in our Clinic-Based program. They use playful activities and creative strategies to help families improve their child’s independence in many areas, including: 

· Motor (movement) activities such as sitting, rolling, walking, playing on playground equipment, and eye-hand coordination for grasping, stacking, coloring, writing, and ball skills.

· Adaptive (self-help) activities such as eating, sleeping, toileting and dressing.

· Cognitive skills which often develop through a wide variety of play activities and extend to school activities.

· Communication skills such as gesturing, pointing, pairing actions with music, following directions and responding to safety cues.

· Social-emotional skills such as such as self-calming, handling emotions, taking turns, getting along with others and following social expectations.

In addition to these areas, some children have difficulty responding as expected to different situations. They may under-react or over-react to everyday situations, or may have trouble staying calm and organized during their daily routines. These difficulties may indicate sensory processing differences. Our OTs can help children make use of the sensory information they receive from the environment (such as sight, sound, smell, taste and touch), and from their own bodies (such as body awareness, balance, and pain perception).

If you know a child who might benefit from Occupational Therapy, contact CTC for more information at 253-854-5660.   

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