Specific Goals of Occupational Therapy Intervention
There are several specific areas in which OTRs provide therapy. They are discussed in the following section and include development of upper-extremity proximal stability, visual-perceptual, cognitive-adaptive, sensory integration, and self-care skills (Bundy, 1991). OTRs also help evaluate, design, and fabricate assistive equipment, determine appropriate seating and positioning, and evaluate the environment to determine the need for possible modifications (Frostig, 1974).
Upper-Extremity Proximal Stability
Upper-extremity proximal stability refers to the level of stability (firmness), ranging from children's trunk and shoulders (proximal) throughout the arms to the hands (distal). Proximal stability is believed to be the foundation on which hand skills may develop. Proximal stability assists children in sitting upright, which allows them to participate in tabletop activities (Frostig, 1974).
Because of the importance of proximal stability, the OTR often places children on various pieces of therapy equipment, such as bolsters or scooter boards, to enhance proximal stability. Working the trunk and upper body through exercises and activities is thought to promote improved proximal stability and distal hand skills (use of fingers for fine motor manipulation) for use in all areas of education and daily life (Larsen & Hammill, 1975).
Visual-Perceptual Motor Skills
Visual-perceptual motor skills are another area of emphasis in occupational therapy. These skills refer to children's physical responses to visual stimulation. Such skills are later used for activities such as reading from left to right or copying from the blackboard. During occupational therapy treatment, the OTR introduces activities that begin to challenge a child's visual-perceptual performance skills. Activities such as finding hidden pictures (figure/ground), bingo and lotto (visual scanning), concentration or memory card games (visual memory and matching), and block design replication (visual-spatial relations) address different aspects within the area of visual-perceptual motor skills.
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