Occupational Therapy for children

Some of the “paeds” team from Auckland earlier this year with CEO Dr Christine Howard-Brown

This week is World Occupational Therapy week. The theme for the week is Celebrating Excellence – Hei Whakanui i te Rawe. Occupational Therapists make up the largest proportion of allied health clinicians at ABI (about 60 of them at the moment) and are extremely valued members of the rehabilitation, clinical and leadership teams.

ABI has a specialist paediatric team – clinicians who have chosen to specialise in working with babies, children and adolescents.  ABI has a large paediatric team in Auckland and a smaller number of paediatric clinicians in Wellington.  The clinicians work with children with a wide range of impairments from injuries like Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury, major trauma and those with neurodevelopmental disabilities.  Many of the children supported by the team have lifelong needs and the clinicians involved are working across home, education, other agencies and in the community to support the child engage in everyday life activities as they age, grow, change and develop.  

The ABI Auckland Paediatric Occupational Therapists celebrated World Occupational Therapy week this week by providing valuable training sessions to the wider ABI team on the skillset within the “paeds” team, a history of Occupational Therapy and celebrating excellence within the team.  The Auckland paeds team kaupapa is “to enable and empower our clients/whānau by working alongside them, to gain health, wellbeing and independence in all they chose to do and be” 

This team of Occupational Therapists work across a wide range of areas such as wheelchairs and seating, Needs Assessments, specialist assessments, Concussion Services, Educational programmes and assessments and therapy interventions.  The OT’s have at least 5 years post-graduate experience all the way up to 36 years as an OT!  Many of the OT’s have post-graduate qualifications and one is fluent in NZ Sign Language as well.  

The team reflected on how important it is to build relationships not just with the child, but of course parents, wider whānau, other carers, schools and many other agencies that are wrapped around the child.  How important it is to have a whole person and whānau focus, being collaborative, empathetic and reflective, using science, evidence and theory but also being creative and thinking outside of the box for what is going to work for the child and whānau. 

Thanks to the OT’s in the Auckland Paeds team for sharing with us the type of work they do and how much they strive for excellence (also one of ABI’s values) and all love working with children and their whānau.

Watch this space for more updates from the other ABI teams of OT’s as they celebrate Occupational Therapy this week.

Happy World OT week to all our OT’s we really value your mahi!