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What Parents Need to Know About Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is considered an integral part of the treatment plan for anyone with Cerebral Palsy.

Many parents may be led to believe that occupational therapy is only aimed at adults, since children don’t strictly have an ‘occupation’ however this couldn’t be further from the truth. A child’s school life and ability to play and learn are all important parts of their ‘occupation’ growing up, and therapy can teach them processes and tasks that are required to make it through school and into adult working life.

Occupational therapy may be provided within your home, school, public or work environment by a trained, licenced occupational therapist. A therapist will work closely with a child’s family to establish their concerns and priorities for their child, as well as to gain an understanding of the environment they live in.

Occupational therapy is a key element in the multidisciplinary approach to achieving independence in all aspects of a child’s life.

When Do I Begin Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy can begin any time after CP is diagnosed (a diagnosis is usually made before 18 months). Children’s needs differ significantly when they have cerebral palsy, and therapy will usually be advised if a child demonstrates that assistance is required to perform every day tasks.

How is Occupational Therapy Performed?

Occupational therapy addresses the sensory, cognitive and motor functioning of a child, and usually begins with an assessment to establish their ability to perform everyday tasks such as going to the toilet or getting dressed.

As your child gets older, occupational therapy will adapt to focus on different tasks, relevant to their circumstance.

For example, when a child is younger, occupational therapy will teach them basic tasks such as feeding themselves, getting dressed, writing and bathing but as they get older, it can encompass anything from using a computer, to answering the phone and using tools in the workplace.

What are the Benefits of Occupational Therapy?

There are many advantages to occupational therapy, and it can help enable children with cerebral palsy to develop and maintain a daily routine and handle everyday tasks with little or no assistance.

The goal of physical therapy is to help individuals:

  • Develop a workable routine
  • Pursue hobbies & interests
  • Interact with others
  • Become part of a community
  • Perform tasks independently
  • Respond to the demands of everyday life
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Cope with challenges and emotions

If you believe that your child has cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. You can contact Express Solicitors to obtain advice from a specialist solicitor who will discuss the case with you and provide you with confidential advice on the options available to you.

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