Occupational Therapy

How to Make the Most of Online OT for Children

In-person pediatric occupational therapy (OT) is without a doubt an effective option to help your child with developmental issues. But if your child is not in a position to meet online, due to being immunocompromised for example, they can consider online OT, since it’s better than postponing your child’s needs for what may be many months or even an entire year.

In light of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, pediatric OT therapists all over are considering online therapy and many are already launching new solutions. Pediatric occupational therapy online is an effective solution during these times for occupational, vision, speech, and behavioral services. It’s good for helping with fine motor skills, handwriting online, visual perceptual skills, and sensory integration.

Telemedicine has already been shown to be as effective as in-person healthcare. With online pediatric OT therapy, your child can benefit from the comfort of their familiar surroundings and still receive flexible and prompt scheduling for OT therapy. 

There are several ways to make the most of online occupational therapy for your child.

1. Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Just like the pediatric occupational therapist creates a distraction-free environment in their office, so should you at home for your child. Designate a separate room away from other siblings or other distractions that your child can do their therapy in. 

2. Install the Video Conference Platform

Ask the therapist which type of videoconference platform they’re using. Today, Zoom seems to be the most popular. But, there are other platforms so you’ll want to ensure you download the correct one. 

Many people are familiar with FaceTime and Skype, however, these aren’t HIPAA compliant. Once you find out which video conference platform the therapists uses, be sure you download and test it before your child’s first session to ensure it’s properly working and you’re ready for a great first online session.

3. Reinforce Learning With Home Activities

As a parent, you can reinforce your child’s learning with home activities that will help develop their handwriting, fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills and more. Here are some home activities you can try:

  • Zoo sticks or chopsticks: These work perfectly for working on dexterity and tripod grasp for handwriting online.
  • Scissor cutting activities: These help your child practice and master scissor cutting. They’re designed to help them practice cutting out shapes and lines and to ensure your child is using the right scissor grasp while they’re cutting.
  • Hand exercises: These help your children develop coordination and strength of their hand muscles.

Remember, nothing beats hands-on, in-person therapy with a professional who is experienced in child developmental issues.  But you can work closely with the pediatric occupational therapist to come up with other home activities you can incorporate into your home therapy along with your child’s online OT sessions.

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