Lucy: A day in the life of one of our Occupational Therapists
For Lucy, each new day is as unique as the children she treats. She works in a variety of setting from an elementary school to a clinic, and this flexibility can cultivate great progress in her clients.
Kids spend a large portion of their week in a school setting, so play skills are vital. This OT aims to guide children towards independence; this encompasses teaching healthy interactions with peers, proper body language, and toilet timing. Toilet timing is when a caregiver regularly places the child on the toilet at timed intervals to provide ample opportunity for the child to go. Lucy also works with the parents to create scripts for every day tasks. These scripts must target a concrete single behavior that is in need of management. The goal must be simple and presented regularly to the child. Lucy has found this method to be successful in many areas including using the toilet.
Repetition is important when dealing with children with various disabilities. Handedness can be a confusing concept for some Lucy’s clients, but with repetition, positivity, and encouragement she can help them figure out their hand preference. Handedness is an important concept for a child to learn at a young age, as it influences their muscle memory and literacy skills.
Lucy also uses an approach called Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA. ABA is an evidence-based method that helps record progress in children. Lucy works with her clients accumulate transferable skills from a classroom or clinic setting to a normal social setting. Lucy also focuses on the training the parents, this is a vital concept because “teachable moments” during daily activities are crucial to the child’s development.
For Occupational Therapists, establishing a relationship with the family is just as important as the relationship with the child. Especially when it comes to feeding issues. Lucy uses a program called Sensational Meal Times. This is a program that was developed by an OT and Dietitian in Australia, and has provided positive results. Lucy works with the parents to figure out what foods, textures, and smells the child will routinely encounter in the home. Then, she aims to find foods that are similar to what they always eat. The goal is to expand the child’s food palate, making meal times healthier and more enjoyable.
The life of an Occupational Therapist is never boring. Lucy’s day demands various skills and approaches, but she makes it look so easy!