Play as an occupation
For a child, their main occupations consist of eating, sleeping, toileting, learning, socialising, and arguably one of the most important childhood occupations, play.
Play-based therapy is a structured approach to therapy widely used by Occupational Therapists to engage children in improving functional growth and emotional well-being.
Childhood play is essential for brain development however, it should not end at the childhood stage¹. More and more research suggests that healthy playtime leads to healthy adulthood. While playing, children acquire and practice executive functioning skills, such as planning, initiating, completing, and re-evaluating². Therefore, Occupational Therapists continue to incorporate play in the process of developing more complex skills, such as meal preparation, budgeting or shopping, as the learner moves towards adulthood.
Occupational Therapists are trained to understand the whole person, including physical, mental health, emotional and behavioural needs, and their impact on school life. As a result, OT plays a vital role in a learner’s participation in school routines and enhances engagement in functional tasks through a person-centred approach that incorporates meaningful occupations – the building blocks of life.
For more information and details around the OT Week 2023 please click on the following link from the Royal Collage of Occupational Therapists: Occupational Therapy Week – RCOT. See also their occupations video and reading list.
1. Lynch H, Moore A (2016) British Journal of Occupational Therapy – ‘Play as an occupation in occupational therapy’ Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308180779_Play_as_an_occupation_in_occupational_therapy
2. Laverdure P, Beisbier S (2021) Occupation- and activity-based interventions to improve performance of activities of daily living, play, and leisure for children and youth ages 5 to 21: A systematic review, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(1). Available at: Occupation- and Activity-Based Interventions to Improve Performance of Activities of Daily Living, Play, and Leisure for Children and Youth Ages 5 to 21: A Systematic Review | The American Journal of Occupational Therapy | American Occupational Therapy Association (aota.org)