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OT Week: so what is occupational therapy?

October 17, 2017

This week is Occupational Therapy Week, so I thought I’d use the opportunity to answer a few ‘frequently asked questions’ about my work as an Occupational Therapist in Perth.

So, what is  OT really? You all seem to do such different things: I met an OT who helped my Grandma after her stroke, but you mainly work with children.   

Occupational Therapists work with a wide variety of clients, but the goal of therapy is always to help them reach optimal functioning in their valued roles. This is done through addressing skills and routines to reach the greatest level of meaningful independence possible. For your Grandma, this may mean increasing arm strength and coordination to get back to the cooking she loved to do. For children, it may mean addressing fine motor skills to improve handwriting and their capacity as a student.

What about working in Mental Health – how does that fit in?

In the same way we need physical skills and capacities in life, we also need emotional and social skills. Modern thinking includes a greater awareness of how difficulties in these areas impact children’s ability to learn and thrive. For example, a child experiencing anxiety may have difficulty with attention in class due to their persistent worries. Difficulties can arise from a complex interaction of genetics, background and experiences. As an Occupational Therapist based in Perth, I focus upon building children’s capacities and skills, including their social and emotional development, to support their wellbeing.  This is often undertaken through playful activities.

Occupational therapy also looks at the interactions between the person and their environment. This can mean looking at factors such as friendships and bullying, the impact of our modern digital world, the school environment and family interactions. Being a parent can be one of the most challenging roles we take on in life.  We parent without an instruction manual, and yet can equally be overwhelmed by the volume of often conflicting advice on the Internet. Providing parents with practical, evidence based information is an important part of my role as an Occupational Therapist.

I’ve heard I can get funding through a Mental Health Care Plan. What is a mental health care plan and how do I get one?

A Mental Health Care Plan is a program within Medicare that provides rebates to help provide Better Access to Mental Health Care.

If your GP feels you or your child are eligible for this plan, they complete it with you during an appointment (usually you need to request a longer appointment to do this). This plan is available to see Psychologists, some Social Workers and suitably experienced Occupational Therapists, such as myself. In completing the referral your GP needs to include my name or profession and process the required Medicare item number.

For more information follow this link.

For GPs more information is available here. 

Occupational therapy for children in Perth

‍As an experienced Occupational Therapist, I am committed to providing my clients with the advice and support they need to reach their full potential. Based in Perth’s northern suburbs, I offer occupational therapy services for children, adults and parents to help them identify and develop strategies to overcome everyday difficulties. Should you or a family member require occupational therapy services, you can book a consultation via my website. Alternatively, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.