Occupational Therapy

occupational therapistOccupational therapy practitioners help people with an injury, illness, disability or learning difficulties to become more independent. Occupational therapists are constantly looking for enjoyable ideas and tools to help others help themselves. Since enjoyment is vital in the process, games are particularly useful.

Children and games

Playing games helps children to develop all sorts of skills, from learning to be part of a team, to being more sociable and taking turns. Puzzles, board games and computer games improve memory, concentration, strategy, flexible thinking, planning and problem solving. They are very useful for children with learning difficulties.

Autistic children show little interest in making friends as they have difficulties with the social signals that most of us take for granted. Occupational therapists can work with the education provider to develop practical ideas such as play boxes with toys, and running structured games for playtime.

Group games can help children to develop a positive and proactive approach to four areas of emotional and behavioral development – self-esteem, aggression, relaxation and concentration, and social skills. For people with physical limitations, playing simple physical games can be very beneficial, helping to improve co-ordination and muscle power.

occupational therapistGames for older people

For older people who are getting forgetful – perhaps in the early stages of dementia, memory games can help to focus their mind and increase their confidence. Games such as jigsaw puzzles can also help people who have had a stroke to regain some motor control, confidence and gain a sense of achievement. In all of these areas and ideas, the key is interest and enjoyment. You will find plenty of ideas for use in occupational therapy on websites devoted to games.