Occupational Therapy focuses on a collaborative approach to addressing challenges that interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them. Occupational Therapists (OTs) look at the interaction between a person, their environment, and the occupation that is meaningful to them.
Person: A person’s spirit (what is important to them and what makes them feel like themselves) and their emotional, physical, and cognitive abilities.
Environment: The physical, social, cultural, and institutional environment of the individual.
Occupation: The things we want to do, have to do, or are expected to do. This is more than work. Occupation can be thought of as how a person occupies or spends their time.
The interaction of these elements is where occupational therapy happens. OTs collaborate with individuals to make the overlap as large as possible enabling individuals to complete occupations within their environment more easily or with more meaning.
Who should see an OT?
Families and individuals who are going through a life transition or are facing obstacles can benefit from the support of an OT to do the things they want and need to do. OTs commonly collaborate with individuals who are becoming parents, families looking for support to embrace a child’s challenges, schools and community organizations, and children and teens experiencing obstacles in completing daily tasks to reach goals and elevate their lives.
What does an OT do?
A combination of the individual’s or family’s spirit and the OTs expertise is used to develop fun and effective strategies and plans to reach your agreed upon and individualized goals. Common goal areas include:
Regulation & Relationship
- Helping families navigate the challenging line between deciding when behaviour is communication and when it is attention seeking. Individualized strategies for parents at home, in the park, on family outings and even at the grocery store.
- Using a variety of strategies to help stay calm and in control and modelling appropriate ways to overcome obstacles.
- Social skills and healthy relationships at every age.
- Connecting with baby, toddler, and teen.
- Positive parenting focusing on praise, boundaries, and setting expectations and following through with natural and logical consequences.
- Stress management with strategies that engage the mind and the body.
- Interoception awareness which supports individuals learn to identify internal body cues such as hunger, pain, bladder signals, feelings and emotions.
- Mindfulness through play and being present with your child.
- Exploring and understanding sensory experiences.
- Creating regulation plans.
- Thriving in the classroom.
- Toilet training includes knowing when to go to washing hands and everything in between.
- Dressing can include the physical/cognitive skills of getting dressed, dressing for the weather and hacks for making clothing a more comfortable sensory experience.
- Eating goals commonly include increasing the variety of foods a child can tolerate and building skills to use cups and using utensils.
- Creating life balance to not only manage stressful times but find ways to elevate life.
- Scheduling, budgeting, cooking and life skills for young adults.
- Building mental strength and resilience.
- Creating and following bedtime, morning, after school or other routines.
- Sleep hygiene for parents and me.
- Specific skills which can include anything meaningful for the child or family such as bike riding, swimming, eating at a restaurant.
- Fine motor skills - handwriting, brushing teeth, using technology, playing games.
- Gross motor skills - running, stairs, crawling, using playground equipment.
- The power of play- teaching, learning and growing through play.
- Reaching developmental milestones.
How is Occupational Therapy delivered?
Private Coaching. Assessment and intervention provided directly for an adult/family/parent/child to enhance or support current or new goals. Services can be provided at AltaVie, in the home, or in the community.
- Private Coaching includes an initial assessment and goal planning session which takes approximately 60 minutes. After the initial visit an individualized plan including the number and frequency of intervention visits (usually 3-5) needed to develop, implement, and gain confidence in strategies provided is created. Strategy plans and summary notes are provided after every visit.
Leisure and learning groups for children and teens. Providing services for children and parents by combining skill based learning and activities in the community.
- Group learning or workshop prices vary based on topic, length and activities included. Check back soon for group learning opportunities.
Parent Learning Groups. Informal sharing of current research and evidence to make information accessible while providing clear, simple and effective strategies that can be used at home and in the community.
School or Organization Consultation. Class/group wide or student specific recommendations and plans to support learning through regulation, relationship and play.
Occupational Therapy is a regulated profession.
Occupational Therapy is a regulated medical profession. Occupational therapists must be registered with their provincial regulator in order to practice legally in Canada. BC’s provincial regulation is the College of Occupational Therapy British Columbia.