Does My Teen Need Occupational Therapy?

A few weeks ago, I shared some guidelines for how to recognize if your baby may benefit from occupational therapy, and in that post I explained that a person’s “occupation” doesn’t have anything to do with a job (at least not in the therapy sense), but actually encompasses what a person needs or wants to do that is appropriate for his or her life stage. Occupational therapy (OT) can help people reach their maximum independence level for their daily activities by changing something about their skill set, an actual activity, or the environment in which an activity is performed.

In most pediatric therapy clinics (including ours), you’re most likely to see children – from babies up through the intermediate years – in the waiting rooms for occupational therapy, but occupational therapy isn’t just for kids. Many teenagers can benefit, as well, and because they are rapidly approaching adulthood, OT may be crucial to helping them live independently, cope with the daily events of adulthood, succeed in the workplace, or simply to participate to their maximum ability at home and in the community.

With those aims in mind, following are eight questions that will help you determine if your teenager could benefit from occupational therapy:

  1. If he/she will need transition care beyond school, is there a plan in place (for example, for healthcare, guardianship, etc.)? If your child is not physically or cognitively able to make decisions independently, will you legally be able to help make decisions for/with your child after age 18?
  2. If your adolescent requires assistance with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, toileting, grooming, etc., are you physically able to assist him/her without injury? For example, if he/she requires transfers, are you physically able to transfer him/her without hurting your back/neck/etc.?
  3. Is your adolescent able to make and sustain friendships?
  4. Does your adolescent tend to be forgetful, disorganized, or a poor planner? Does he/she have difficulty with time management?
  5. Does your adolescent tend to overreact to changes in routines or schedules?
  6. Does your child have difficulty following multi-step directions?
  7. Is your child independent enough to stay at home unattended for long periods of time (at least an hour or more)?
  8. Is your child able to complete household chores and/or simple meal prep?

If your teen has any deficits in these areas or if you feel your family could benefit from working with an occupational therapist, consider booking an appointment with our clinic. Kid’s Creek Therapy offers free consultations.

Carolyn Miller, MSOT, OTR/L

Image Courtesy Pixabay/Title Added

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