At KMA we know that the emotional well-being of children is as important as their physical health. We have a focus on the whole child, not just their diagnosis. As experts in occupational performance, we look at the functional strengths and challenges of the child and how their mental health concerns are impacting an important daily occupations such as everyday family life, play, learning and socialising with friends.
Mental health problems affect one in ten children. Experts suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than they did thirty years ago, with as many as 70% not getting the right help at an early age.*
The most common mental health conditions in children and young people include:
- Anxiety including generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, agoraphobia and separation anxiety when starting school for example, can also be a problem for some children
- Conduct disorders including defiance, aggression and anti social behaviours
- Depression (more common in older children)
- Eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa amongst others
- Self-harm and suicide (more common in children with a mental illness)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Schizophrenia (from 14 years onwards)
Our occupational therapy specialists can support children to successfully engage in their daily routines at home and school. Our training provides us with a strong foundation in human development and activity participation. We have specialised knowledge and skills in social and emotional learning and regulation; task analysis, including including sensory, motor, cognitive, and social dimensions; and environmental modifications to support inclusion.
We help children develop productive habits and routines that support their physical, intellectual and emotional health and growth. When a child’s abilities are well matched with the demands of an activity and the environment where they live, learn and play, they are more resilient and better able to cope with challenges and succeed in a variety of everyday activities at home and school.
How can KMA help?
- Undertake assessments with recommendations in support of the Education, Health and Care Planning process. (EHC Plans)
- Carry out assessments to help create a behavioural intervention plan or a graded plan to support the child who is refusing to go to school.
- Help teachers develop personalised goals based on the individual needs of students and identify strategies to creatively address these goals in the classroom.
- Recommend timetable adjustments to reduce anxiety, for example through including additional opportunities for creative expression or physical activity.
- Develop meaningful functional activities to increase self-efficacy and social participation.
- Recommend modifications to classroom environments and activities as needed to promote and support student learning.
- Work with children individually or in small groups for example: set up and run a lunchtime or playground buddy group to promote social skill development and build peer relationships.
- Consult with teaching staff to recommend strategies which will support a student who is struggling to complete classroom tasks.
- Facilitate the development of social skills and meaningful activities through therapeutic games, group work, exploration of hobbies, etc.
- Design a ‘quiet area’ within a classroom or suggest alternative seating to help calm and organize a student who is easily distracted or has emotional outbursts.
Our Occupational Therapists can provide direct services to individuals and small groups, as well as interventions for schools and whole classrooms. They can offer consultation to support a students learning, daily living skills, play and leisure activities and beginning work skills, in co-operation with other health and education professionals.
For further help or assistance please call our team on 01264326308