The goal of Occupational Therapy is to improve children’s performance of tasks and activities that are important for successful school functioning.

OTs work alongside the child to help make changes in:

The child – OTs help the child to develop the skills needed to complete school tasks successfully by providing advice and education and recommending new strategies.

The task – OTs adapt the tasks a child is having difficulty with to provide the ‘just right’ challenge for each child. Thus helping them to remain engaged with the tasks and motivated to ‘keep trying’.

The environment – OTs suggest changes in the school environment around the child where this is an obstacle, such as the child’s seating position in the classroom.

There are a range of difficulties that OTs can help children to address in schools. These difficulties may include:

  • Attention and concentration.
  • Memory and organisation.
  • Handwriting and other fine motor skills (hand grasp, finger strength).
  • Gross motor skills (coordination, balance, core strength).
  • Posture and seating (sitting still, sitting upright)
  • Emotional and behavioural (anxiety, stress, sadness, depression).
  • Social interaction.
  • Self-care (dressing for PE, feeding).

 

OT input can increase a child’s productivity in school by making tasks more manageable. Following therapy, children feel more able and are more likely to engage in classes as they begin to see what they can achieve. By helping to remove the barriers to learning, OT support impacts on a child’s self-confidence and willingness to engage in other activities in and outside of school.