Breaking Boundaries: The Benefits of Online Occupational Therapy for Children
Occupational therapy (OT) is a healthcare profession that helps individuals enhance their daily activities and participate in meaningful occupations. Traditionally, OT has been conducted in-person, but with the rise of remote work and virtual services, the field has also adapted to online settings. In this blog post, we will explore how online OT works and its benefits for children and families.
The Benefits of Online Occupational Therapy for Children
Online OT offers several benefits, including greater accessibility for children living in remote areas or with busy schedules. Online OT is flexible and dynamic, allowing for multiple sessions per week and scheduling that suits the family's needs. Online OT also provides occupational therapists with the opportunity to observe children in their natural environments, such as their homes or classrooms, making it easier to develop skills that transfer to their daily routines.
Moreover, online OT encourages strong communication and collaboration between families, teachers, and occupational therapists. By sharing photos and videos of the student's progress, families can create a wider support system for their children. As a result, families and teachers can provide additional support at home and in the classroom, making it easier for children to apply their new skills in everyday life.
Online OT also provides occupational therapists with the opportunity to observe children in their natural environments, such as their homes or classrooms, making it easier to develop skills that transfer to their daily routines.
How Does Online Occupational Therapy Work?
Online OT is similar to traditional in-person OT, but with the added convenience of remote access. The therapist begins by conducting an assessment that includes interviews with the child, parents, and teachers, along with questionnaires. Based on this information, the therapist devises a treatment plan and sets goals for the child. Online OT typically involves scheduled video calls with the child, parents, and therapist, where they work together to develop strategies to support the child's learning. These strategies may include exercises completed during the session and activities for the child to complete throughout the week. Unlike traditional OT sessions, online OT requires close collaboration between the therapist and family to prepare and plan materials in advance, ensuring the sessions are effective.
What Tools Are Helpful for Online Occupational Therapy?
The tools required for online OT are simple and readily available. A laptop with a microphone and camera is essential, allowing for flexibility and adaptability to different circumstances. The camera can be tilted to different angles, allowing the therapist to observe the child's movements and techniques during the session. Additional tools such as pencils, paper, and other common household items may also be used during the session.
Case Study: An Example of Online Occupational Therapy for Children
An excellent example of how online OT works is a young boy from Italy who received support from a Linden OT specialist based in Berlin. Despite the physical distance, the boy was able to seek support from a specialist to improve his handwriting. The online sessions involved regular scheduled video calls on a laptop, allowing the occupational therapist to observe the child's writing techniques.
The occupational therapist also had specific camera technologies that allowed her to demonstrate exercises and techniques to the child. The combination of visual and auditory support helped the child learn new methods and techniques in a shorter time. By adapting to remote work during the pandemic, OT services can now be offered online, making them more accessible to children worldwide.
Online OT provides numerous benefits for children, including greater accessibility, flexibility, and a wider support system. With simple tools and careful planning, occupational therapists can deliver quality services remotely, helping children develop the skills they need to succeed. At Linden, our occupational therapists are committed to providing fun and engaging therapy sessions, whether in-person or online.