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Occupational Therapy – Katie Fielding

This month’s guest Blog is from Katie Fielding – an NHS Occupational Therapist and friend of Growing Hope.

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a job that not everyone has heard of but there are many of us and it is a wonderful career. I chose OT as wanted to do something with people where I could be creative and also have the flexibility to work with different groups of people. 

OT can be a hard job role to explain as it is so diverse. Within children’s services OT’s want to find out what is stopping a child from taking part in an activity that they want to do. This might be something like changing for PE by themselves or doing some baking. We then find out what is tricky and work together with families to make a plan to change this. Therapy is different every time which is what keeps us on our toes! 

I love working with children and their families – although our job really is about the whole family around the child. I find the most effective way help children achieve their goals is by involving the most important people in a child’s life. A lot of our job is to help parents feel confident in helping their child overcome challenges and achieving their goals. Something small like putting their coat and shoes on by themselves can make a big difference to a child who wants to go out for playtime with their friends! 

I work for the NHS and the Covid-19 pandemic affected our services in a big way. For me, the hardest thing was wearing all the PPE – it got very sweaty at times under all the plastic! However, there have been some positives in finding new ways or working, some families have requested that some meetings continue virtually as it means they need to take less time out of work to talk to healthcare professionals. I have also found that the important conversations around everyone’s mental health (both staff and families) have been much more prevalent and I hope we all continue to look out for each other in the future in this way. 

Top Tip: Building Up Strength for Handwriting
Handwriting is a really tricky skill, but it starts with building up all the muscles in the shoulder and tummy. If you have a baby or toddler try putting a Duplo board on a vertical surface like a wall and putting bricks on it this way. An easel works well for an older child or chalking pictures on a wall outside. 

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