Happy Occupational Therapy Month!!

I have just returned from the annual American Occupational Therapy Association Conference in Chicago. What an experience! I am feeling rejuvenated, full of new ideas, and ready to advocate for this unique profession!

Typically the children who are coming into our outpatient pediatric clinic are receiving services for their gross and fine motor delays, sensory processing difficulties, and visual perception deficits. Well… that is just a small piece of the puzzle when we are looking at how we can serve our pediatric population. Today I want to talk about pediatric mental health. Typically we would assume that children receiving mental health services have a mental illness and may be being served within an inpatient setting. WRONG! Occupational therapist are here to help all children with or without a psychiatric diagnosis to maintain positive mental health.

HOW?

It is important for all parents, caregivers, teachers, and therapist to understand the capacity of mental health services and what it entails. The first step is prevention by understanding signs of stress and the promotion of safe and friendly environments for children to learn and grow. This includes the classroom, playground, cafeteria, and recreational activities. Here are some areas that we can work with our children in to promote positive mental health:

  • Self-regulation skills
  • Coping Skills
  • Encourage positive self-talk
  • Bullying prevention
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Body acceptance
  • Self-Care
  • Positive communication
  • Team Work
  • Self-discovery
  • Fostering Kindness

Please click on the link below for more information on self-regulation skills and how you can help your child: http://mamaot.com/5-ways-to-improve-self-regulation-skills-in-toddlers-and-young-children/