Amidst the pandemic, OT students and practitioners are facing unprecedented challenges that impact their mental health and psychosocial well-being. Not only this, but they might have been working on developmental issues before the pandemic, such as:
It's important you don't ignore pediatric occupational therapy during the time of COVID-19, and continue with this beneficial therapy.
Occupational therapy services are still essential during this time, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the Department of Homeland Security's Mar 19, 2020 memorandum states OT professionals are crucial healthcare workers.
A couple of strategies pediatric occupational therapists suggest are:
- Continue participating in meaningful activities: Engage the family in activities that don't involve screens. For younger kids, this could be playing on the floor with toys they enjoy. It could mean working on a puzzle or playing a family board game for older kids.
- Rely on familiar routines: Kids thrive on clear expectations and consistency. While your daily life may presently look different as a family, you should consider creating small, predictable routines your children can follow throughout the day. For instance, this could mean creating routines for mealtime, getting ready in the mornings, transitioning to bedtime. Ask your kids to choose things that are meaningful to them that you could turn into a routine like helping prepare a meal, reading a story, or cuddling before breakfast on the couch.
The foundation of OT, which is the promotion of daily engaging activities for promoting physical and mental well-being, can help families thrive and adapt. As everyone is adjusting to the new "normal", OT is serving as a unique and critical role in supporting families in the adjustment to disruptions in daily life and routine.