Occupational Therapy in Paediatrics

What does a children’s Occupational Therapist (OT)do?

The occupational Therapist works with children who have a medical condition and have a difficulty with everyday activities at home, school, or in the playground. The aim is to enable the child to be as independent as possible.

How can a child get referral for Occupational Therapy?

A child must have a written referral from a Paediatric Consultant who they are attending in the Cork University Hospital. Both inpatient and outpatient referrals are accepted.

Who should be referred?

The Occupational Therapist works with babies, children and teenagers with a variety of conditions. Some of the conditions include:

  • Neurological conditions e.g. Epilepsy, Brain Injuries, Brain Infections.
  • Burns and Scarring.
  • Orthopaedic conditions e.g. fractures.
  • Heart conditions,
  • Juvenile Arthritis.
  • Loss of a limb,
  • Specific long term medical and surgical conditions.

What happens at the treatment sessions?

Treatment sessions last approximately 45 minutes. The Occupational Therapist will work on some or all of the following areas depending on your child needs:

  • Daily Living Skills – washing, dressing.
  • Feeding skills.
  • Play skills.
  • Seating/posture – wheelchairs, chairs.
  • Developmental Delay.
  • Home and School visits.
  • Retraining Upper Limb Function.
  • Splinting.
  • Perception – jigsaws, letter reversals.
  • Cognition – memory, attention.
  • Challenging Behaviour.
  • Sensory Processing.
  • Recommend equipment, aids and appliances.

What is Neonatal Occupational Therapy?

  • Neonatal Occupational Therapy provides individualised habilitation and developmental stimulation to infants based on their ongoing behavioural cues.
  • Special attention is paid to environmental influences and therapists strive to provide family centred care.
  • The underlying philosophies of Occupational Therapy are akin to that of NIDCAP i.e.  individualised, relationship-based, family centred care.

So what services can the Neonatal Occupational Therapist offer?

  • Perioral stimulation (to enhance feeding skills)
  • Therapeutic positioning (to prevent deformities, increase physiological flexion, provide comfort and containment)
  • Splinting (correct deformities)
  • Advice on environmental adaptations (to reduce infantile stress)
  • Sensory Stimulation (tactile, auditory, visual: to develop nerve mylination and reduce stress)
  • Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale to identify infants strengths and weakness.
  • Facilitate self-regulatory capabilities.
  • Information group for parents which incorporates stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Sibling play group.
  • Car seating assessments.
  • Develop individual home programmes for parents to follow at home.
  • Post discharge follow up assessments and interventions.

Who is likely to benefit from Occupational Therapy?

  • Marked prematurity
  • Developmental concerns
  • Abnormal tone
  • Prolonged hospitalisation
  • Sensory impairments
  • Orthopaedic and neurological malformations
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • HIE
  • PVL
  • Parental anxiety

Paediatrics (Children's Services)

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