How many students have trouble paying attention while in class? Could there be a way to help people with that problem? Occupational therapy (OT) is helpful for many different things including helping kids succeed in school. “Occupational therapy (OT) treatment focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives” (“Occupational” NP). If someone is younger their brain is not fully developed so it is easier for them to learn something new and get the hang of it at a faster rate than someone whose brain is fully developed. OT is especially helpful for young people with ADD, ADHD, Sensory Integration, Dyslexia, and other learning disabilities. Occupational therapy can change lives because it helps people figure out how to keep their brains engaged, how to have self-control, and what to do every day that will make life successful for them.
To keep the brain engaged there are many different things one can do. An occupational therapist can suggest many different practical strategies for helping people keep their brain engaged. Chewing gum is just one example because it will stimulate the brain so that memory and focus are improved. “Research suggests that chewing increases heart rate, blood pressure, and cerebral blood flow” (SiOWfa15 NA/NP ). This could be the reason that people's test results and reaction times have improved.
Another method of keeping the brain engaged that is highly suggested by occupational therapists is taking a thirty-minute break after school before starting on homework. This will give the brain a long enough rest so that it will stay focused on the task at hand. During the break it is best to do a variety of activities like exercising or just having fun by running around, and this should not include any screen time.
A third approach has to do with body positions. Reading or doing homework lying prone, supported by the elbows, is a good method. The main reason for doing this is that it helps calm the nerves. If the nerves are calm, the brain is more likely to stay focused. Also, try sitting on a yoga ball rather than sitting on a stationary chair. Using a yoga ball will keep the brain engaged because people can not just lean back and zone out.
Self- control is another issue that can be helped with OT. Often people with learning disabilities do not think before they speak, but certain things will help them learn how to control feeling and words. To have self-control when angry, therapists suggest using a happiness jar. Writing happy feelings down with a fun pen instead of saying mean or hurtful words and putting it in the jar can help keep someone calm; this will also ensure that no one's feelings are hurt. Talking with a friend or adult will also help because if someone holds all of their feelings in, they will eventually come out in an unhealthy way.
If one wants to say something mean or not appropriate, he or she should write it down on a piece of paper. Then crumple the piece of paper and throw it away. When someone says something to someone it is really hard to take it back. That is why occupational therapists suggest this method. They also suggest taking a deep breath; this will make someone think twice about what they are going to say.
Finally, OT therapists suggest some simple things to make life more successful. One is to make goals because they often lead to success. Making goals will give people the ability to see that they are working toward something. Making lists will also help keep people more organized, which will make sure that they do what they were supposed to do at the right time. Also, have parents help with homework. Parents will be able to explain things in a way that will help their child understand, since parents know how their child learns and how their child’s brain works.
There are many reasons that people need Occupational therapy. Many people with learning disabilities need OT to learn how to deal with their brain. It is the best idea to go to OT because people need to know how stay focused, control your temper, and what to do daily to help people be successful. Occupational therapy will help people that need it. They incorporate what an individuals needs are and incorporate that into their therapy.