What do Occupational Therapy Assistants do in early childhood intervention services…

I am a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and I have been working in early childhood intervention services for over a year and a half. I provide occupational therapy services to children from birth to 3 years of age. My roles involve assisting children in meeting their developmental milestones and their sensory needs, while also educating the child’s caregiver on techniques to use throughout their daily routines in their homes and/or daycare centres. Some daily tasks include providing proprioceptive and vestibular input, self-regulation skills, imitations of sounds and movements, utilising utensils to eat, and working with a variety of textures found in various medias. For example, if a child is hitting frequently and will not sit to attend to a task; I would explain to the caregiver that their child is sensory seeking by hitting. A technique that I could implement to be used to meet those needs is proprioceptive input through joint compressions and extension. Meeting this child’s sensory seeking needs would result in the child being able to sit and attend to a task for a longer period of time. Due to the young age of clients, most do not have a diagnosis, which can come with its own set of challenges. This includes trial and error of finding techniques that work with the deficits the child is presenting. Often, I am working with a first-time caregiver or a caregiver who has other children that developed at a “typical” rate, causing the caregiver to be frustrated and scared of the unknown. In return this can causes the child to become frustrated, because children feed off their environment and the emotions, attitudes, and body language of those close to them. We have recently switched from handwriting notes to electronic documentation that must be completed in the home, I find my notes to be more detailed about the treatment session, but the iPad’s are very distracting to the kids who love to press buttons. With that being said, my job is very rewarding and there is no greater feeling than when a child meets a milestone or masters a skill that the caregiver and I have been tirelessly working on for months.

Author: Katelyn Thomas

Bio: Hey! My name is Katelyn Thomas. I am 26 years old and live in Texarkana, TX where I have been a COTA for almost 2 years. I will soon celebrate my 1-year wedding anniversary with my husband at the end of this month! We have two fur babies: a German Shephard/Belgian Malinois named Zoey and a mini yorkie named Diesel. I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the lake, and traveling.

Twitter: @KateScottThomas

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