Did you know that many people still do not know what OT is or what we do?!? Well, this post is going to deep dive into all things pediatric OT with, of course, an emphasis on our role in handwriting!
Here we go!
A quick definition of an Occupational Therapist is a medical profession with an advanced degree that works with individuals (in our case, children and families) to achieve greater independence in their daily routines, habits, and roles. For very young kids, their primary occupation is PLAY! Then, as these little ones grow, they gain more occupations including self-care, feeding, school tasks, etc. And even older kids add on roles such as caring for pets, cleaning their room, etc. This is by no means an extensive list of a child's occupational life, but a quick introduction :)
Occupational therapists work with children to instruct and remediate and adapt areas that are impacting that child's participation in their occupational roles. OT's use evidence-based practice to serve a child with medical needs, sensory needs, or developmental needs.
One of the biggest roles for OTs working with school-aged children is the role of developing a child's motor skills, visual processing skills, neurological/cognitive skills for handwriting! This begins early on when children are preschool age and developing their posture, attention, and fine motor skills. As a child ages and enters K/1st grades the emphasis fine-tunes to more literacy skills of which handwriting is a HUGE component.
OTs are skills in addressing handwriting as they have insight in those underlying factors that may contribute to handwriting difficulties. Whether it be a developmental delay, a dyslexia/dysgraphia diagnosis, or a lack of instruction, the OT can dig down to figure out what is holding the child back, then provide remediation, instruction, consultation, adaptive techniques, and more. OTs can serve the child, their family, the teacher, the school administration and any others involved in the child's education.
Handwriting tutoring is multi-layered and much more than completing workbooks. Let us know if you would like to learn about our services :)