Occupational Therapy and it’s vital role in education

When we think about starting school, the first priority is to instil a love for learning—for kids to enjoy school, and to want to learn. But what role can Occupational Therapy (OT) play in that process?


Occupational therapy for kids and school readiness

School demands a new set of skills from a child. Part of school readiness is ensuring kids are ready emotionally, socially and physically to meet those expectations. These are things such as independence, emotional skills, motor skills, social skills, attention and concentration and behaviour.

If a child faces difficulties in any of these areas in the early years – whether from a disability, learning difficulty, or emotional challenge – it could impact their ability to learn, socialise and enjoy school. All of these things are vital to instilling a love for learning.


How does occupational therapy for kids help with this?

An occupational therapist’s role is to help people be as independent as possible in all areas of their daily life. For kids, this involves assisting with the development and improvement of everyday skills they need at kindy and school. This could be washing hands, opening a lunchbox, sitting on the mat, behaving appropriately, holding a pencil, dressing… and many, many more things.

“An OT can help you build the skills and confidence to take part in everyday activities and live a meaningful life,” says Kathy Luke, Founder and Director at RAR Therapy, Queensland.


6 Ways occupational therapy can help your child

Fine motor skills

  • Pencil grip and control
  • Handwriting
  • Using scissors and other utensils
  • Visual perception

Gross motor skills

  • Core and whole-body strength
  • Balance and coordination
  • Body awareness

Emotional regulation

  • Managing meltdowns
  • Behavioural challenges
  • Emotional awareness of self & others
  • Attention and concentration
  • Self-regulation tools

Social skills

  • Developing and keeping friendships
  • Social rules and boundaries
  • Play skills
  • Engagement
  • Attention


  • Toileting
  • Dressing and self-care routines
  • Fussy eating
  • Sleep challenges

Organisational skills

  • Sensory processing
  • Identification of sensory processing differences
  • Strategies for sensory seeking or avoidance behaviours
  • Sensory tool recommendations
  • Education for families and school staff

How does occupational therapy work?

“Occupational therapists will focus on your child’s strengths and work in a family-centred way,” Ms Luke says. “This means we consider the unique needs of your family when working with your child.

“We create a stress-free and comfortable therapy environment for our clients. With no rush, you can take the time to build a trusting and long-term relationship with our therapists.”

Sessions predominantly use a play-based therapy approach.

“Children learn best through play, so it is important that the therapy sessions are fun!” Ms Luke says.

“We also work closely with schools to ensure that the strategies and knowledge can be replicated through many other environments.”

“Together, we help our clients overcome barriers and develop the skills to achieve their full potential.”

Of course, convenience is also important! “Therapy sessions can be held in a location that suits you, including in-home, at a clinic, in a community location, or at school. We also deliver telehealth (online) services across Queensland.”

Children’s services available at RAR Therapy

  • Developmental screening
  • School readiness screening
  • Comprehensive Occupational Therapy assessments
  • Equipment or Assistive Technology (AT) prescriptions
  • Simple and complex home modifications
  • Social skills training

Rar Therapy LogoRAR Therapy provides clinic-based, mobile and online community-based allied health services. They work with children, adolescents and adults with a range of disabilities by years, learning difficulties, chronic conditions and behavioural challenges. They help people get the support they need to be engaged, active and live well.

For more information, request a call back HERE


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By Guest Contributor

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