“Occupational Therapy is a profession concerned with promoting health and well- being through occupation. The primary goal of Occupational Therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational Therapists achieve this outcome by enabling people to do things that will enhance their ability to participate, or by modifying the environment to better support participation.”
— The World Federation of Occupational Therapists
An Occupational Therapist or ‘OT’ completes a four-year Occupational Therapy degree. Many OTs have also completed a Master’s degree. Occupational Therapists must be registered to practice. They must complete ongoing training to maintain their registration and this is actively promoted at Irabina.
Occupational Therapy at Irabina
The experienced and dedicated Occupational Therapists at Irabina work with children and their families to make it possible for each child to reach his/her potential to perform a range of daily activities. For a child, this may be include: independence skills, fine motor skills, movement skills, play, school and kindergarten activities, and attending and engaging successfully with others.
Many young children with autism will work with an Occupational Therapist to improve skills in the following areas:
Fine Motor Skills
- Strengthening the fingers and small muscles of the hands
- Holding a pen, pencil, texta or crayon correctly using a tripod grasp
- Using feeding utensils correctly
- Using scissors correctly
- Imitating gestures and actions
- Relating socially with others
- Learning to play with play sets and a variety of toys
Gross Motor Skills
- Motor planning and body awareness
- Use of playground equipment
- Ball skills
- Upper body strength and postural control
Visual Motor Skills
- Colouring and drawing shapes, pictures and letters
- Pre-writing skills
- Cutting, and using scissors and craft materials
- Completing puzzles, mazes and dot to dot activities
- Lacing beads or creating with construction materials
Sensory Processing Skills
- Maintaining an appropriate level of arousal during the day
- Increasing focus and attention
- Improving parent awareness and child tolerance to a variety of sensory experiences
After an initial evaluation with your child, the Occupational Therapist – together with you as parents/caregivers – will work towards gaining skills and independence.
How do Occupational Therapists Work?
Occupational Therapists at Irabina work in a variety of ways. These include: providing individual therapy; working in small groups; and working within a kindergarten/classroom setting or in the child’s home. They are also able to liaise with other agencies who are working with your child, and provide consultation services or recommendations for home programs and specialised equipment.
In addition, Occupational Therapists at Irabina can offer the following:
Aquatic Occupational Therapy
Aquatic Occupational Therapy sessions are offered individually at Irabina’s small pool, located within the Centre. The aquatic environment provides a medium for learning to swim, becoming comfortable and acquiring safety skills in a pool. It also fosters the development of new skills. Other therapy goals are also addressed, including: listening and following instructions, participating in routines, body awareness and strengthening, gross motor skills like balancing and, of course, play.
Recreational Motor Skills Group Program
The Basketball Motor Skills Group is offered to children who may like to transition to a community basketball team. Small group sessions are offered weekly at a local venue to enhance ball skills and the social requirements of working in a team.
If you have any queries regarding Occupational Therapy services at Irabina, please contact the Head of Clinical Services, or one of our caring, professional Occupational Therapists.