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What are Occupational Therapists?: Child Health Services

DescriptionThis leaflet provides an overview of services provided by occupational therapists to children and young people.
ISBN
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateSeptember 07, 2005

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    What are Occupational Therapists? - Cover Photo

    The role of the Occupational Therapist ( OT) is to work with children who have difficulties with the practical and social skills necessary for their everyday life. An Occupational Therapist will aim to enable the child to be as physically, psychologically and socially independent as possible.

    Occupational Therapy services across Scotland are delivered in line with national and local priorities. The service delivered may change to reflect current staffing levels and resource demands.

    WHY DO WE SEE CHILDREN?

    Occupational Therapists work with parents/carers and others to assess if a child has difficulties with practical and social skills. Following assessment the Occupational Therapist will identify appropriate strategies in order to enable the child to maximise his/her potential when carrying out activities of daily living.

    WHO DO OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS WORK WITH?

    Occupational Therapists work in close partnership with the child and their family, education, social work, other healthcare professionals, community club leaders and the voluntary sector. Together they have a shared responsibility for meeting children's needs.

    WHERE DO OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS WORK?

    Occupational Therapists work in the child's home, nursery and school as well as clinics and health centres and other locations in the community depending on the needs of the child.

    WHAT DO OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS DO?

    A) REFERRAL

    When a referral is received additional information may be gathered and a decision will be made as to the appropriateness and urgency of the referral. The parent and the referrer will be informed of the decision and given further advice as appropriate.

    B) ASSESSMENT

    Assessment may include information gathering from parents, families and others involved in the child's life and building on what is already known about the child from other agencies such as education and social work.

    Assessment will include:

    • Functional difficulties such as dressing, eating, toileting
    • School skills such as pencil and scissor skills
    • Play skills
    • Sensory abilities such as touch and balance
    • Fine motor skills and gross motor and movement abilities
    • Social skills
    • Behavioural responses during the child's day

    This may include formal and informal assessment such as observation.

    The decision whether to offer further support from Occupational Therapy is based on the outcome of assessment, the impact of the difficulty on the child's life and the likelihood of effecting change at this time

    C) REPORTING

    Following assessment the outcome will be discussed with the parent and a written report will be sent to the parent and the referrer. The therapist may need to share this information with other people for the child's benefit. This will be discussed with the parents and referrer.

    D) INTERVENTIONS

    There is a range of possible ways of supporting a child. These will always involve working with and through parents and others, e.g. classroom assistants, occupational therapy support workers, class teachers, learning support teachers, nursery workers.

    Possible ways of supporting the child may include one or more of the following:

    • Training and advice for parents/carers and other service providers (health, social work, education)
    • Provision of programmes of work and ways of supporting the child in different environments. This intervention may be carried out by different people following the Occupational Therapist's recommendations
    • Recommendation of specialist equipment to support functional skills and learning
    • Involvement with educational and transition planning
    • Direct therapy with child individually or in a group

    Following the agreed period of support the child's progress will be reviewed in partnership with parents/carers and others and further recommendations and actions will be adopted according to the child's changing needs.

    E) DISCHARGE

    The child will be discharged from therapy for one or more of the following reasons:

    • Potential achieved
    • Child not benefiting from therapy at this time
    • Child/young person or family do not want to continue with therapy

    FINDING OUT MORE ABOUT OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

    Further information about your local Occupational Therapy service can be obtained from your health centre, GP practice or school.

    College of Occupational Therapists - www.cot.org.uk

    National Association of Paediatric Occupational Therapists - www.napot.co.uk

    Occupational Therapists are graduate health professionals who must be registered with the Health Professions Council ( HPC) which is the regulatory body for all Allied Health Professions. You can check registration of any Occupational Therapist via www.hpc-uk.org