:: Occupational Therapy at Kestrel Manor School
by Martin Muriuki
Kestrel Manor, being an integrated school, has an occupational therapist working on private consultation to help some of the children with Special Needs.
Such children function in most cases below their age level and / or have difficulties in performing certain tasks / activities in their daily life.
Occupational therapy focuses on methods that permit these children to be as independent as possible both at school and at home. It involves children who have
- Delayed development milestones as a result of brain damage before, during or after birth or any physical trauma.
- Difficulties in control of their muscle tone essential in assuming their right posture and performance of daily tasks.
- Difficulties with motor skills e.g. writing due to a pathological or physical acquired cause.
- Difficulties in co-ordination and balance (Alexia), which makes children to be clumsy especially in, their class work. They also experience difficulties in feeding, dressing and self-care.
In general, the field uses sensory stimuli of touch, temperature, pressure, stretch, resisted motion, joint compression as well as visual eyes and auditory ears stimuli as a mode of treatment.
With various methods, I use my hands on the child to elicit muscles actions, reduce spasticity, prevent deformities and stimulate the right movement patterns, inhibiting or preventing the primitive unwanted movements.
The repetitive training of the child is aimed at helping in achieving the movement he/she could not achieve on him/herself. In time the sensory motor experience will help him/ her in acquiring the motion or posture on his / her own.
My work involves working in close co-operation with parents, teachers and support staff. The class teacher for example has to know the best posture expected for the child with assistive aids e.g. splints on how to be worn.
Parents are also given home-based programmes for the children.