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OT Awareness Month: Occupational Therapy for Children

Alethea Mshar
Special needs mom and Blogger
04/10/18  9:54 AM PST
OT Awareness Month

OT Awareness Month: How an Occupational Therapist Helped Our Child

 

Kathy stepped into our lives mere days after our son, Alex, was born. He came home from the hospital with a referral for Early Intervention Services because of his Down syndrome, and Kathy was the Occupational Therapist (OT) for our area.

 

I don’t think I even knew what an OT did when I met Kathy, but she was happy to explain about that as well as anything I might need to know about Early Intervention Services. It seemed odd to me that such a tiny baby would already need therapy, but Kathy explained that too. Infants with Down syndrome can learn to do things in ways that prevent them from developing the muscles they will need for later skills. With Kathy’s well-trained eyes and hands, she taught us all kinds of ways to ensure that Alex’s development would move forward as smoothly as possible.

 

Kathy came to our home to see Alex for three years. She helped us manage everything from his first roll to trying food, and from inching forward in his funny little army crawl to climbing up and down the stairs. Whatever Alex wanted to do and I needed to help him learn, Kathy was right there with us, showing us the best way to help him grow and develop, and keeping him safe.

 

OT helped Alex with everyday tasks, from using pencils and scissors and tying his shoes, to dealing with his environment.

Alex continued with OT when he started school at age three, and they helped him learn to use pencils and scissors and even tie his shoes. When he started school, Alex struggled to adjust to the classroom environment because of his Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). It caused him to be stressed out by the noises, lights and distractions that felt like an assault in this new, busy environment. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that our trusty OT was right there with suggestions for a sensory diet to help him manage his needs and cope with a new situation.

 

Now, as a high school student, Alex doesn’t need as much guidance from his OT, but they still check in on him and give us suggestions and make sure he uses proper technique in his daily work.

 

When Kathy introduced our family to Occupational Therapy, I had no idea how much of an impact she and other OTs would have on our son and our family. Alex has been empowered to live life to its fullest by the OTs who have helped us adapt to him and him to adapt to the world, and they deserve our recognition and appreciation.

 

inclusion on the playground

Alethea Mshar is a Special Needs Mom and Blogger.

Read her blog, Ben’s Writing, Running Mom

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More Articles Related to OT Awareness Month:

20 Ways a Social Worker Helped My Child with Special Needs

Teacher Appreciation Week: Why I Love My Child’s Special Education Teachers

 

 

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