Occupational therapy practitioners work with people of all ages, even those at the beginning of life.
OTs in early invention work with kiddos who have an established delay/diagnosis, like down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or autism or those who are at risk of having delays, like being premature, exposed to drugs/alcohol in utero, or had a traumatic birth.
But babies don’t have jobs so what does an OT do with them?!?!?!?!
Well, we work on so many things with our little ones, i.e:
~meeting their developmental milestones
~ facilitating sensory rich experiences to integrate input
~ addressing feeding challenges for mealtime participation
~ providing opportunities for learning through movement & play
~ assessing their environment to promote optimal functioning and safety
~ educating parents on development, strategies, and other ways to help their kid
~ navigating parents through difficult tantrums or behavioral outbursts
~ encouraging caregivers to advocate for themselves and their kid
~ being a light for our families during what can be a dark, scary, and uncertain time
And the list goes on and on. The occupations of an infant or young child are to become aware, learn, move, and start to understand the world around them, which we address through play. And it is our goal as OTs in early intervention to support and assist our little ones early on in their lives so that they can be happy, independent, and successful as they grow.
So the next time someone says, “Babies don’t have a job”, do me (and all the other EI OT practitioners) a favor and educate them on how and why OT is so important to our littlest ones.
What’s your B-word for the ABCs of OT?