“Going Beyond the Clinic: 5 Ways to Support Your Child’s OT Progress Outside of Therapy Sessions.”

When a child is undergoing occupational therapy (OT), parents often wonder how they can continue to support their child’s progress when they are not in the clinic. While therapists do their best to make the most of in-session treatment, supporting a child’s OT progress outside of the clinic is crucial to overall success. It may seem daunting, but there are several simple techniques that parents can use to aid in their child’s occupational therapy journey. Below, we will discuss five ways to support your child’s OT progress at home.

What does children’s occupational therapy do?

Before diving into the ways to support your child’s OT progress, it is important to understand what occupational therapy for children entails. Occupational therapists work with children who have physical, sensory, or cognitive challenges that may impact their ability to perform everyday tasks like bathing, dressing, and self-care. They also focus on developing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and sensory processing to help children reach their full potential and participate in activities they enjoy.

Communication with the Pediatric Occupational Therapist

The first step to supporting your child’s OT progress is open communication with their therapist. They are a valuable resource for understanding your child’s specific needs, strengths, and areas for improvement. Make sure to ask questions about what techniques or strategies you can use at home to reinforce what your child is learning in therapy. Additionally, communicating any progress or concerns you have noticed with the therapist can help them tailor treatment to better suit your child’s needs.

Create an OT-Friendly Environment

Creating an environment that supports your child’s occupational therapy goals is essential for their success. This can include setting up a designated space for therapy-related activities and keeping necessary supplies easily accessible. It is also important to eliminate potential distractions, such as loud noises or clutter, that may hinder the child’s focus during therapy exercises.

Set Goals and Create a Plan:

Creating a plan with your child’s occupational therapist can help you both understand what goals they are working towards and how to support them outside of the clinic. Make sure your child understands their goals and help them practice occupational therapy exercises so that they can improve their skills and increase their progress.

Incorporate Therapy Techniques into Daily Routines:

Parents can incorporate therapy techniques into daily routines such as food preparation, bathing, and dressing. OT is all about mastering everyday tasks and incorporating such techniques into daily routines helps your child with OT progress faster and more naturally.

Provide Opportunities for Sensory Play:

Sensory play activities can be a great way to assist in OT progress outside of therapy sessions. Sensory play can help your child improve their skills such as hand-eye coordination, communication, and problem-solving skills. For example, you can provide your child with a bin of rice or sand to explore or add beads to playdough for them to squeeze and roll.

Encourage Independence:

Enabling your child to do things on their own and gain independence can help confidence and increase OT progress. Simple tasks such as letting them hold their spoon during dinner or independently dress themselves can help build skills and increase confidence.

Break Tasks into smaller pieces:

Your child’s occupational therapist has likely provided you with tasks or exercises to practice at home. If these tasks are challenging, break them down into small parts and make them feel more comfortable for your child. This approach helps them build confidence, and it helps with acquiring skills faster.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is crucial when it comes to supporting your child’s OT progress outside of therapy sessions. This means incorporating therapeutic activities into daily routines and practicing regularly. For example, if your child is working on hand-eye coordination, you can incorporate activities like throwing and catching a ball while playing outside. Consistency helps reinforce what the child learns in therapy and allows them to make progress more quickly.

Therapist and child and building blogs

Occupational therapy is critical in aiding children in overcoming challenges such as motor movements and sensory processing. But, it’s essential to understand that the child’s progress depends on support outside of therapy sessions. As a parent, you can incorporate therapy techniques into daily routines, create a plan with your child’s occupational therapist, encourage independence, break tasks down into small parts and provide opportunities for sensory play. Remember, supporting your child’s occupational therapy progress at home can help them reach their goals faster and develop new skills for success.

If you are worried about your child’s development or wish to proactively plan for the future, considering pediatric occupational therapy could be beneficial. Take the first step by communicating with their therapist and incorporating therapy techniques into daily routines. Let’s work together to help your child reach their full potential. Contact us today!

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