An interview with occupational therapist, Siddhi Rawat:
WHAT IS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AND HOW DOES IT HELP?
Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through ‘occupation’. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in preferred activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement.
Q: BASED ON PAST EXPERIENCES WITH PATIENTS, HOW IMPORTANT IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF GROSS MOTOR SKILLS IN DEVELOPING ADEQUATE FINE MOTOR SKILLS?
Motor development happens in a predictable sequence of events for most children.
Gross motor development involves skills that require the coordination of the large muscle groups of the body, such as the arms, legs, and trunk. Examples of gross motor skills include sitting, walking, rolling, and standing.
Fine motor development is concerned with the coordination of the smaller muscles of the body, including the hands and face. Examples of fine motor skills include holding a pencil to write, buttoning a shirt, and turning pages of a book.
From theoretical knowledge and our practical experience it has been observed that clients are able to develop fine motor skills i.e. are able to perform tasks with smaller muscle groups when they have optimal strength in their core muscle groups (larger muscle groups) i.e. they have developed their gross motor skills.
Q: WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU FIND THE MOST EFFECTIVE FOR TESTING THE CAPABILITY OF A CHILDS GROSS MOTOR SKILLS?
- Clinical observation
- Gather information about daily living tasks
- Assess milestones e.g. check stair climbing with alternate feet, ball catching and throwing, riding a bike. However, selection of activities depend on client’s physical and cognitive ability
Q: WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU SUGGEST ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE AT IMPROVING A CHILD’S GROSS MOTOR SKILLS?
Obstacle courses, core muscle strengthening exercises, exercise using specialised equeipment such as a Gym ball and Scooter board.
Q: WHAT ARE COMMON DISORDERS YOU ENCOUNTER RELATING TO GROSS MOTOR SKILLS?
Low muscle tone, developmental delay, Downs Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Cerebral Palsy
Q: WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF THESE DISORDERS OR DELAYS?
A normal muscle tone facilitates development of age appropriate gross motor skills. When a child does not have normal muscle tone, it affects his or her gross motor skill development.
Another reason could be inadequate opportunities to learn performance of tasks.
Q: DO YOU PRESCRIBE A SENSORY DIET TO YOUR PATIENTS? IF SO, WHAT ARE THE COMMON REASONS AND FACTORS THAT RESULT IN CHOOSING A SENSORY DIET AS A TREATMENT PROGRAM?
Yes, we do recommend strategies that fulfil a child’s sensory needs within their daily routine.
We recommend these strategies if child’s sensory profile:
- Hampers the childs ability to perform his or her daily living tasks effectively
- Affects his/her behavior
Siddhi is currently available for new referrals at our Carina clinic. She can be contacted on 3398 9367 or complete a referral form here.