Back-to-School & Occupational Therapy: Why They Go Together
Do you have a child who struggles in social situations, is delayed in his or her school and learning skills or has difficulty paying attention in class? For kids with these challenges, back-to-school isn’t a time of joyful anticipation and new school clothes, it’s a foreboding wrought with anxiety and stress. And it’s not easy for parents and families, either.
Pediatric occupational therapy (OT) can benefit children who fall into several categories: from infants who were born prematurely to kids with ADHD, to children with learning or physical disabilities. Occupational Therapy focuses on a broad range of skills, from social behavior to self-care to emotional regulation.
A pediatric occupational therapist might work with a child on learning to write letters and numbers, and shapes and patterning; fine motor skills including self-feeding, lacing, buttons and hand strength. Gross motor skills like balance and body coordination—to ensure children can keep up in gym class or on the playground—are another area that OT can influence. Additionally, pediatric OT works on social skills to ensure children are able to relate to, and participate with, their peers during cooperative play, pretend play and group activities.
Ultimately, pediatric occupational therapy focuses on helping children develop the skills they need to grow into functional, independent adults. Early intervention is key in preventing future roadblocks for kiddos.
Rachel Griffin – OTD, OTR/L, ATP is a doctor of occupational therapy at St. Vincent Health who provides both outpatient and inpatient therapy services for patients. She has extensive training and a special interest in pediatric occupational therapy, with many years’ experience with sensory integration, learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities and physical disabilities.
Pediatric OT can change the story for kids with cognitive, sensory or physical disability, so that back-to-school can be about fun, friends and learning. To contact Rachel, call the SVH Therapy Services Department at 719-486-7180.