Cognitive-behavioral challenges can make daily routines difficult for some children. Struggling with conditions like autism, premature infancy, cerebral palsy, congenital disabilities, developmental disorders, or traumatic injuries to the nervous system, children may need assistance in completing simple tasks and responding to social cues.
For these children, their caretakers’ goal is to help them grow into independent adults who can take care of themselves without support.
Pediatric Occupational Therapy can help achieve this goal. This approach targets several focus areas designed for intervention, including improving children’s motor and self-care skills, while also strengthening their memory, balance and coordination, and sensory perception.
What Does It Take to Become an Occupational Therapist?
While those opting to offer pediatric occupational therapy should have a master’s degree, there are also certifications required, and licensure exams that are necessary to pass for stepping into the field.
Along with formal training, occupational therapists must be adept at working with children. Because most children deal with anxiety during their sessions, the therapist needs to soothe them and alleviate stress by integrating motivational techniques in their plan.
Examples of such techniques include incorporating customized games, puzzles, toys, and activities such as singing, dancing, and physical exercise into a child’s schedule.
Occupational therapists must also display a keen sense of responsibility and commitment to their job.
This is because children count on them to learn how to manage their life, and the impact of a therapist’s actions is far-reaching. A skilled therapist can boost a child’s confidence and develop his self-esteem, while an impatient one can make a child feel like he will never be able to function like his peers.
Another crucial area an occupational therapist must polish is their communication skills. This is especially important when they are required to interact with the families of children they are supporting.
It should be noted that the child alone is not a therapist’s client, and his parents and siblings are just as much a part of the process. As such, the therapist should know how to make his family members learn strategies used during sessions and implement them at home.
The Rewarding Experience of Pediatric Occupational Therapy
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, job securement by occupational therapists is expected to grow by 18% from 2018 to 2028.
This projection proves that more children are increasingly relying on pediatric occupational therapy to improve their quality of life.
The intervention rewards impacted children with a firmer grip on their circumstances and provide a sense of purpose to therapists.
For instance, when the American Occupational Therapy Association credits the field for its ability to promote literacy among children affected by impaired reading and writing skills, therapists can feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they are equipping students for better academic prospects.
All children deserve to experience the world in its utmost joy. Some can’t tap into this experience because it is hard for them to interpret their surroundings due to cognitive-behavioral impairments. Pediatric Occupational Therapy can provide support in dealing with these impairments. If you would like to know more about it or have questions related to how you can become part of the field, please feel free to contact us.