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What is an Occupational Therapist?

An Occupational Therapists works with a young person to develop flexiblity in their legs using a yellow strech band
An Occupational Therapist at Work

Occupational Therapists (OTs) are healthcare professionals. They support people to recover from injury and/or overcome the barriers that stop them from doing the activities that matter to them. An OT will have completed a graduate degree and must also be registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). Many will also be members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

Parents and carers most often encounter OTs because their children or young people require support to enable them to develop skills to help them learn, socialise and play. Many children and young people with Speical Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) struggle in particular with sensory processing difficulties, such as over or under responsiveness to stimuli, and problems with fine and gross motor skills. OTs who are trained in Sensory Integration Occupational Therapy (SIOT) can help children and young people to manage their sensory processing difficulties. They can support development of self-regulation skills through the use of specific programmes such as the Zones of Regulation. They can recommend environmental adaptations and equipment to schools and colleges, such as small, low arousal classrooms, wobble cushions and adaptive technology to record work in place of writing. They can also devise, implement and oversee sensory diets, which are tailored plans of physical activities that enable children to achieve and maintain a ‘just right’ temperament for learning.

At SEND Advocacy we can advise on whether input from an OT, including an SIOT, is necessary for your child or young person, and help you to make sense of any reports you obtain or already have. If you need someone in your corner to help you secure the education your child deserves, contact us today.


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