If you want to be successful in performing occupational therapy for children, then there are a few traits you are going to need first. Without these traits, you run the risk of causing mental or even physical harm on accident and this would be devastating for the participant and their loved ones to deal with.
Therefore, it’s essential that before you consider pursuing a career in occupational therapy for children, that you have the following traits.
1. Compassion and understanding
First of all, the work in any field with disabled people, especially children, you need to have a high degree of compassion and understanding. These are people who are going to be struggling with everyday things that you find easy and don’t even think about – which is exactly why they need compassionate help.
If you go into performing occupational therapy with children by being bossy and impatient then you will fail immediately as you will have lost the trust of the person you are trying to help. Without trust being established between the participant and the therapist then nothing meaningful can be accomplished.
While you might think you are a patient and kind person, stressful situations can bring out the worst in anyone, so you need to make sure you aren’t someone who is sensitive to someone else making mistakes and struggling with simple things. Your role is to help them overcome their impairments so that they can engage with these tasks independently.
When a participant in occupational therapy for children is able to perform tasks independently (like brushing teeth or changing clothes), their self-confidence naturally skyrockets. The core component of a disabled person’s happiness is being able to meaningfully engage with society in spite of their impairments and not feel like they are just taking up space.
If they ever get the sense you are losing patience with them or are starting to resent them, they will be devastated. They already deal with stigma from wider society and may have a poor view of themselves, so acting inappropriately would only reinforce those negative feelings for them.
2. A good work ethic
Performing occupational therapy for children not only requires you to be compassionate and patient but also requires you to have a strong work ethic and put in the hours necessary to really help people. While the results are amazing, the process takes a lot of hard work and you need to not only motivate yourself but motivate the participant to continue engagement.
If you start phoning it in and seeing it as ‘just a job’ then the participant will suffer and not get the full benefit of your training and expertise. In order to carry out occupational therapy for children you need to be very dedicated to what you are doing and put a lot of thought into each person you work with.
3. A good bedside manner
When you are doing occupational therapy for children you need to have a good bedside manner so that you can engage with disabled children and make sure they feel comfortable. You also need to be friendly and enthusiastic when meeting the loved ones of the participant so they can feel confident that you are going to do a good job and that the participant is in safe hands.
Hopefully the above helps you knowing whether or not you are the right person to do occupational therapy for children. As mentioned, without the above traits you could run the risk of causing harm to a vulnerable person who came to you for help.