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What is Occupational Therapy?
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Occupational Therapy (OT) is used to treat Sensory Integration Dysfunction. The goal of OT is to enable children to take part in the normal "occupations" of childhood - such as playing with friends, enjoying school, eating, dressing and sleeping - which are often problems for children with DSI. Each child is provided with an individualized treatment plan. Direct treatment often occurs at a Children's Hospital or in a private practice setting. Therapists sometimes also consult at home or school. Parents are directly involved in treatment sessions so that they can learn more about their child and, together with the therapist, can figure out how to incorporate their family's priorities into treatment.

What does Occupation Therapy look like?

Treatment is fun! It occurs in a large, sensory-enriched gym with lots of swinging, spinning, tactile, visual, auditory and taste opportunities

Your child and their OT

Finding and getting along with the right OT pretty much requires the same chemistry as finding one's best friend. They either click and the relationship is magical, or they don't and things don't work out so well. Here are some tips and trick that may smooth the way to success.

Starting therapy with an OT is a transition. DSI kids traditionally don't do well with transitions. Prior to the start of therapy, coordinate a transition strategy with your OT. Discuss whether or not, at least for the first few sessions, it would be a good idea for you to attend. There are pros and cons to attending the session - especially if your child has separation issues. One of the major benefits of attending sessions with your child is that you will learn a lot about how to teach your child new things, get him to attend.

Here are some OT tips to keep in mind as you get started:

A sensory diet is an all-day, every day matter. Ask your OT to help you create a good sensory diet plan for home and school.

Ask your OT for a list of supplies you will need to get for the sensory diet.

If weighted or hug vests, weighted blankets or other expensive items are suggested, ask to borrow some to try out.

OT is where your child will most likely learn to self-regulate. Coordinate a self-regulation technique for use at home school and OT.

If your child does not receive OT at school, ask your private OT to talk to the teacher about preparing a suitable sensory environment for your child.

If your child has sensory issues with food textures, let your OT know. She can incorporate strategies into her OT plan.

If your child has social issues, such as not knowing how to deal with teasing at school, let your OT know. She can help with social skills.