How can Occupational Therapy help with Self Care skills?
Occupational Therapy assists a child to improve their age-appropriate self care skills. Depending on the context or reasoning behind the child’s decisions to behave a certain way there are a few common self care concerns that OT’s treat:
1. Not being able to dress or undress age-appropriately
2. Difficulty using a spoon, knife and/or fork
3. Lots of spills and mess during eating, and trouble drinking from a cup
4. Difficulties toileting and soiling self
5. Trouble going to sleep and/or waking up
Occupational therapy can assist with these common complaints to allow your child to become independent in their self care skills. Occupational therapy is all about detective work. Before we can start with therapy we have to ask ourselves a few questions:
- What tasks of self care does my child struggle in?
- For his/her age, what is expected?
- Is there anything about the environment that I could change to make the task easier?
- What self care tasks does my child do well in or enjoy?
Asking these types of questions is the first step to solving the mystery! Next it’s time to experiment! Try some of these fun therapy ideas:
- Adapt the environment: if the toilet or sink is too high, use a stool; if the toothpaste is too spicy, use a different flavour; if the hairbrush is too hard or hurts, use a soft bristled brush; if the toothbrush is hard to hold; wrap a thick plastic tube around the handle to increase the grip.
- Reward charts: use a star chart to encourage toilet training.
- Playdough Practice: practice using cutlery by cutting up PlayDough food.