The role of the occupational therapist is to work in partnership with special needs children and their families to ensure that these children are able to make the most of their capabilities now and in the future, and that both child and family achieve a personally satisfactory life. The aim is to develop the child's potential functional independence. This is done by:
- helping parents and carers find easier ways of caring for their disabled child
- providing advice on equipment and technology, enabling the child to undertake certain tasks more easily
- advising on the practical aspects of home, school and social life which can maximise a child's potential
- showing a child more effective and alternative ways of approaching everyday tasks
- providing advice on alternative play and recreational activities which can develop the child's everyday skills and therefore overcome their wariness due to their disability
Paediatric occupational therapists work with families from the child's early years. They are usually based in child development centres, hospitals or social services departments and often visit homes and schools when required. For children with CP they usually work in close conjunction with the child's physical therapist.