Kidshealth.org defines occupational therapy (OT) as a branch of health care that helps people of all ages who have physical, sensory, or cognitive problems. OT can help them regain independence in all areas of their lives. Occupational therapists help with barriers that affect a person’s emotional, social, and physical needs.
How it helped my family:
Before I needed this service, paid for by your medical aid, I had no idea what it was. Just like many I thought that it’s for adults with work related issues you might have.
So a few years ago my grandfather turned 90 and we had to fly to Cape Town to attend his birthday party. My then 3 year old son became obsessed with the idea of flying. He wanted nothing to do with it. Kept on asking questions and made the end result negative. Around the same time we noticed that he was becoming more and more obsessed with certain toys, he complained more about his friends at school not wanting to play with him and when we asked at school they said it’s when they don’t want to do what he wants to do. So we figured it’s a control issue he has. Plus he stopped playing outside in his jungle gym, avoiding our back yard at all costs.
He is a very level headed kid, he wants things explained to him clearly so that he knows what to expect. His school recommended we seek out occupational therapy for him.
We made an appointment, had our first consultation and then started taking him once a week.
At first he had a lot of anxiety even just going to the therapist as they were on the first floor of the Dome and his fear of heights was so intense that just walking towards their rooms was a huge struggle. He would hold onto the glass and walk all the way next to it until we reached their rooms. As time went by we noticed it was getting better, he was more relaxed and excited to see Antie Charmaine.
By the time his sessions with Charmaine were over, he would jump off the little walls leading up to the door at the Dome. He would very proudly walk towards the room and on the day of our flight, he very confidently got onto the plane walking in front of me and gave the stewardess his boarding pass.
Occupational therapy has helped us understand our son, it’s helped us understand better how to help him and after our first experience we have taken him back many times. He had sessions leading up to his school readiness assessment, she helped with his writing style and just got our little man ready to face the world. It did the world of good for his confidence and he is not at all the unsure little boy he used to be. After all, he is 8 years old now.
We so often brush off the issues our children have and hope they will get over it, but sometimes they do need the help to cope. I learnt so much. From how they were born to how old they were when they started crawling to your own behaviour when you are pregnant and how it influences your kids.
See Charmaine’s details below, she is still my children’s occupational therapist for whenever the need arrives.