Happy Occupational Therapy Week!
From the 7th-11th November 2022, Occupational Therapists all over England have been sharing their ‘OT Life Hacks’ under the brand new campaign Lift Up Your Everyday.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a versatile profession and you will find us working in all kinds of places and with all kinds of people: from hospitals with elderly patients, on a farm supporting young adults with learning disabilities to Abingdon House School supporting our amazing neurodiverse students!
OT’s are here to support people to be able to do the things they want or have to do. We see beyond diagnosis or challenges that someone may have, to their hopes and aspirations. We then work with that person within their environment to remove barriers and find practical ways for people to achieve their goals.
Whilst there are many models of practice that OT practitioners use, one of the most simple can be used to explain how we support the people we work with. This is called the PEOP model - Person, Environment, Occupation, Performance. This model works on the premise that all our occupational performance (everything we do) and our participation in these tasks are shaped primarily by personal factors (intrinsic) and environmental factors (extrinsic) .
Below, our Abingdon OT’s have shared their ‘OT Life Hacks’ which work at adapting the environment to support your child’s participation in daily living activities.
Does your child need help remembering what to wash in the shower? Try writing a to-do list on the tiles in your shower or bath, that your child can tick off after they’ve washed that body part. This works as a visual reminder as there are a lot of steps to remember when we wash our bodies! You can buy washable crayons in most large supermarkets that will wipe off once you are done.
If your child is struggling to put their shoes on the correct feet. Find a sticker of their favourite character, cut it in half and place each half on the inner sole of the shoe so that when the shoes are placed together the sticker matches up. When getting shoes ready to put on the child needs to match the sticker!
Does your child find using a knife and fork together hard? It is a complex skill to hold a knife and fork and use them at the same time to cut up food. To learn this skill, start with how to hold the knife and fork - put little stickers on the knife and fork to show where your index fingers go, see picture below. You can then draw two lines in different colours next to each on a banana and guide your child to place the fork in first on one line, then use the knife to cut through the other line in a back and forth movement.
Do you notice that your child often struggles to use equipment that is small? Maybe they drop the keys regularly or they always complain that the cutlery ‘feels too small’? This might be because they struggle with their grasp strength. OT’s often focus on changing the environment - in this case making the handles of equipment bigger so that children find them easier to hold. Have a look at the pictures below - you can increase the size of a fork by wrapping it in a bandage or you can make keys easier to grip by sticking a ball of bluetack at the end.
By Mollie Turner, Occupational Therapist