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The Heart of Paediatric Occupational Therapy: From Cory's Perspective

In a child's life, moments like playing, learning, and interacting with people and the world around them hold profound significance for their development. These activities are the occupations of childhood, the essential things that fill their days and shape their growth.


Meaningful Occupation to Support Development

The wellbeing of a child, as I see it, is a delicate balance. It's a dance between what a child needs and wants to do combined with their individual strengths and weaknesses, all set against the backdrop of their physical, social, and cultural environment. All these elements must weave together to support unfolding development. "This doesn’t need to be perfect, but a big enough mismatch between these elements can have a significant impact on a child’s wellbeing."


The Role of Paediatric Occupational Therapists

This mismatch is our niche as paediatric occupational therapists, creating ways to bring the environment and the child’s skills together to support their participation, wellbeing, and development.


To do this job well, my toolkit is diverse, filled with knowledge and skills honed through experience and continuous learning. From understanding the nuances of environmental adaptations to diving deep into the complexities of sensory processing, each child's narrative guides my approach.


Partnership with Parents

In paediatrics, understanding the child also means extending our support to the parents and primary caregivers. The fabric of a child’s support system is an integral component to making progress.

"I must join caregivers as a partner in their journey, offering my expertise to support them in their confidence around navigating the intricacies of parenting a child with unique needs."


The Art and Science of OT

In day to day sessions, my pre-selected activities must be readily adapted to give way to the spontaneous flow of discovery. This balance is the art and science of OT: being present in the moment, while also being informed by my previous planning and clinical reasoning. This is how I can intentionally facilitate a child’s innate ability to find their path, especially when it’s illuminated by their own curiosity and joy.


Creating a Safe and Attuned Environment

At the core of meaningful intervention is my commitment to providing each child and their family a safe and attuned environment. It’s about them feeling seen, heard, and valued. It’s from safety that I ask children and families to stretch and meet the challenges they face.


The Therapeutic Journey and Self-reflection

The therapeutic journey is as much internal in myself as it is external for the child. Having a greater understanding of my own experience enables me to meet each child and family with the empathy, sensitivity, and respect they deserve.


Beyond Compliance to Fostering Discovery

My work is not about enforcing compliance in children but about kindling the spark of curiosity, about fostering discovery, joy, and endless possibilities. In each child, there is depth to their potential, which is a privilege to behold and convey as their therapist.


Reflections

I hoped to share my insights as a therapist and offer my perspective on what it is to be a paediatric occupational therapist. With each child and family I meet, I'm reminded of the beauty and resilience of the human spirit.

"This is not just my job; it's a part of who I am—a journey I'm honoured to share with families every day."

 



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