By Jordyn Perry, MOT, OTR/L
April was Occupational Therapy Month! But, what exactly is Occupational Therapy – or OT?
Our team of 13 Occupational Therapists are an integral part of our students’ and clients’ lives.
Occupational Therapy involves much more than just handwriting and sensory needs. It is defined by the “occupations” that make our lives meaningful. Occupations include: activities of daily living skills, instrumental activities of daily living skills, work, education, sleep, play, leisure, and social participation.
Many of our students struggle with activities of daily living skills (ADLs). This includes things like dressing, bathing, toileting, grooming, eating, etc. Occupational Therapy can help address these skills through remediation, providing compensatory strategies, or adaptive equipment to promote independence.
Fine motor coordination refers to the ability to use your fingers, hands, and arms to reach for, grasp, and manipulate objects in order to complete everyday tasks. Upper extremity strength and fine motor coordination skills are required to execute handwriting, cutting, dressing, feeding skills, etc. OTs incorporate “preparatory activities” in therapy sessions including (but not limited to) manipulating therapy putty and/or playdoh, tweezer activities, clothespins, etc. to strengthen the muscles within the hands and improve fine motor skills.
Visual motor/ processing skills are various skills to move eyes and collect information within the environment. Visual perception is the ability to perceive the information that is seen. Visual skills also include eye-hand coordination which is an essential skill to manipulate objects in your everyday life. Deficits in visual motor integration may be observed by difficulty copying written work, letter reversal or deficits recognizing patterns, difficulty reading, difficulty catching a ball, difficulty with ADLs, etc.
In April, Bridgeway Academy staff members participated in a series of challenges posed by the OT department to provide an interactive experience of skills their students may practice in OT. Each week, staff members posted pictures or videos of themselves or their colleagues completing challenges with the #mOTivate for a chance to earn an OT-related prize for their classroom. See below: