What is Occupational Therapy?
In the school system, Occupational Therapy Practitioners focus on improving students overall academic improvement by integrating new techniques and giving more support outside of the classroom to improve fine motor skills, handwriting, sensory processing, attention, coordination, visual perception and ADLs (activities of daily living) so they are able to apply these skills in their every day school environment. This is done by seeing students in a 1-on-1 or small group setting and giving those new ways to be able to do things that typical peers are able to complete. Occupational Therapy is provided to help students achieve or find new ways to complete difficult tasks they need or want to be able to do in order to grow and become more independent in their school environment.
How can OT be used at home?
Parents can help students improve their overall fine motor skills by providing different activities that require them to manipulate things in their hands and fingers. Some examples are lacing, beading, using tongs, pinching, playdoh, using rubber bands, etc. Improving fine motor skills and hand strength is going to help improve handwriting and overall independence completing activities in their everyday lives. Handwriting can be incorporated in everyday activities such as writing a grocery list, birthday cards, different coloring activities or mazes and can be modified by providing larger spaces and bold or colored lines to write in/on. Coloring and tracing are good skills to build to begin learning handwriting skills.
Parents can integrate skills to improve sensory processing which can help improve behaviors seen at home and increase their attention by providing different sensory inputs into their everyday routine at home. A good article to refer to for better understanding of sensory processing and tips to provide inputs at home is https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/sensory-integration-tips-to-consider .
Parents can provide different activities to help improve visual perception and coordination by playing different board/card games, mazes, word searches, puzzles, threading, etc. More large motor coordination tasks to provide are tossing/rolling a ball back and forth, building/stacking, etc.
A great source for parents to use to find various fine motor, visual motor, coordination and any other tasks that can be used at home to improve these skills is https://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/