Occupational Therapy At Sterling Practice
An Occupational Therapist helps people, who may be experiencing difficulties, to perform day to day tasks within functional norms, by providing strategies, exercises, and functional aids. For children, this may mean support for self-care, independence, attachment, socialising, self-esteem, avoidance, confrontation, motor-skills, handwriting, attention, focus, family life and progress.
Sounds straightforward right? A few exercises and routines should sort it out? Unfortunately, there is no magic spell for a quick fix. Just like anything worth achieving, persistence and practice should get you to Carnegie Hall – but if you do not have the foundational skills in place, you will not leave Go.
In supporting children overcome difficulties, it is essential for the professional to address the actual factors causing the issues. Failure to do this means that any progress may be short term, superficial, scripted or a learnt behaviour and is not easily transferred to other skills i.e. progression to more complex tasks is not readily achievable.
Occupational Therapy at Sterling Practice identifies the underlying factors causing these issues and directly addresses these through expert direct therapy in our clinic rooms and indirect therapy through guidance for parents and schools as to how to support.
By targeting the underlying factors, the Sterling Practice OT, who is an expert Sensory Integration Practitioner, can begin to decisively support and help mature the systems that are underdeveloped or delayed. This means that progress, which may be quick or may be slow, is sustained and the transfer of skills from clinic to home and or school is consistent.
When therapy takes place in a clinic environment with sensory integration equipment and apparatus, a young person will get the input their systems need to be in the ‘just right’ place to really work on the areas of weakness in order to progress further. The therapist can then advise the child/ young person, parents, and school of specific strategies to support and consolidate progress. We also offer therapy at school where there is dedicated space and access to sensory integration equipment.
Therapy in a clinic environment is without question more effective than that conducted where there is no specialist equipment. Therapy at school can of course be undertaken, where the school has dedicated space which can be adapted to use specialist apparatus.
The most effective therapy starts with a thorough assessment which establishes the occupational and sensory profile of the child and why he or she is experiencing certain difficulties and the underlying factors to which these are attributed. Regular attendance at clinic (usually weekly) with an expert therapist, implementing the advice/tasks at home by your therapist and support being put place at school through close liaison.
Based on years of experience of helping thousands of young people reach their Sterling Practice, we are of the view that that in the absence of clinical equipment, even the most skilled an expert occupational therapy practitioner provides a diluted form of therapy which at best is perfunctory and at worst has no impact which invariably leads to questions about the effectiveness of this therapy intervention.
This is why we strongly advocate therapy in a clinic setting, be it in our rooms or where available at school.
It is our considered view, that precious budgets, with huge opportunity costs, are best spent on advice for parents and school staff on support strategies and either training teaching assistants or providing therapy assistants to implement detailed programmes for daily support.
When choosing a therapy professional, please bear in mind that access to the best resource in the form of expertise and specialist equipment is important to consider. Convenience, uncompromising schedules, and other commitments are of course important factors, but you may be better off attending clinic in half terms and holidays and having a therapy assistant do a programme than committing to ineffective ‘fluffy’ therapy for which you are charged the same! Pay now or pay later is worth a thought.
Each young person child is unique and has his or her own occupational and sensory profile of strengths and weaknesses which are combination of foundational and cognitive skills based on our underlying neurological systems, which allow him or her to perform day to day tasks consistently well and to develop further. When one or more of the systems that underpin foundational development are stuck or delayed, then problems can arise and impact on areas such as self-esteem, academic performance, and the family dynamic.