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Promoting Strengths in Children and Youth

Promoting Strengths in Children and Youth

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Occupational Therapy’s Role in Mental Health Promotion, Prevention, & Intervention With Children & Youth: Promoting Strengths in Children and Youth
http://www.aota.org/Practitioners-Section/Children-and-Youth/Browse/MH.aspx
Occupational Therapy’s Role in Mental Health Promotion, Prevention, & Intervention With Children & Youth: Promoting Strengths in Children and Youth
http://www.aota.org/Practitioners-Section/Children-and-Youth/Browse/MH.aspx

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03/27/2014

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Occupational Therapy’s Role in Mental Health Promotion, Prevention, & Intervention With Children & Youth
Promoting Strengths in Children and Youth
This information was prepared by AOTA’sSchool Mental Health Work Group (2012).
OccupatiOnal therapy practitiOners
use meaningul activities to help children and youth par-ticipate in what they need and or want to do in order to promote physical and mental health and well-being.Occupational therapy practitioners ocus on participation in the ollowing areas: education, play and leisure,social participation, activities o daily living (ADLs; e.g., eating, dressing, hygiene), instrumental activities o daily living (e.g., meal preparation, shopping), sleep and rest, and work. These are the usual occupations o childhood. Task analysis is used to identiy actors (e.g., sensory, motor, social–emotional, cognitive) that may limit successul participation across various settings, such as school, home, and community. Activities andaccommodations are used in intervention to promote successul perormance in these settings.
DeinitiOn: prOmOting strengths During everyDay practice
In strength-based approaches, the practitioner ocuses on identiying and building upon the student’sabilities versus ocusing on their limitations or disabilities (Hoagwood et al., 2007; Reddy, DeThomas,Newman, & Chan, 2009). For example, a student with vocal talent would be encouraged to participatein the school chorus or other opportunities to sing in community programs.
Wo bf o  -bd o?
1. Children in general education without identifed problems or risks.
All children can beneft romidentiying and ostering their preerences and abilities.
2. Children in general education who are at risk o school ailure due to:
•Dyslexiaorlearningneeds•Mildtomoderatementalhealthchallenges•Havingbulliedorhavingbeenbullied•Occupationaldeprivationorsocioeconomicneeds
3. Children served in special education with:
•Signicantlearningdisabilities,developmentaldelays,orschoolfailure•Severementalhealthneeds•Multiplesystemsinvolvement(e.g.,mentalhealth,juvenilejustice,childwelfare)
W   ood?
Recent research (Fette, 2011) suggests that the ollowing student strengths are associated with positivepsychosocial and academic outcomes and should be promoted:
Contextual Supports
•Caringadults:relationshipswithteachersandotherswhomodelpositivevaluesandbehaviors•Positivepeerrelations:acceptancebypositivefriendswhomodelprosocialbehavior•Familybonds:activeengagementwithgoodt,communication,supportiverelationships•Communityparticipation:senseofbelongingandmeaning,commitmenttoroles•Culturalfactors:importanceofdifferingmeaningsinandidenticationwithdifferentcultures•Schoolfoundations:forsocial,academic,andstudyskills;peergroupwithwhomtotransition•Schoolenvironment:positiveclassroomwithhigh-qualityeducationenvironment•Respectfromothers:peopleshowconsiderationfortheindividual’sneedsorpreferences•Materialpossessions:buildingidentityorinterests
Personal Traits
•Attention:abilitytofocusandfollowdirections;affectsqualityofeffort•Cognition:self-knowledge,accurateinterpretationorprocessing,intelligence,graspofconcepts•Creativity:originalexpression,inventiveness,imagination,opennesstoideas,aesthetics•Interests:skills,fascinations,hobbies,engagementinself-targetedsubjects•Health:physicalandmentalhealth,symptomswellcontrolled,freeofmedsideeffects•Temperament:individualqualities,values,andpersonality •Optimism:emotionalwell-being,joy,enthusiasm,hope,humor,positivemood•Positiveidentity:self-condence,esteem,respect,happinesswithlifechoices,authentic
This information sheet is part of a School Mental Health Toolkit athttp://www.aota.org/Practitioners-Section/Children-and-Youth/Browse/School/Toolkit.aspx
continued 
OccupatiOnal perOrmance
Practitioners can focus on usingthe child’s strengths and abilities toincrease participation in the follow-ing areas of occupation:
so o
•Sensitivitytoothers•Empathy•Prosocialbehaviorssuchas
 turn-taking and sharing
aDl
•Self-condenceandpositiveidentity•Attentiontoandindependence
 in self-care
edo
•Academicskillsandperformance•Groupskillsnecessaryfor
 learning
•Rulecompliance•Classengagement
Wok 
•Strivingbehaviorssuchas
 leadership and initiation
•Senseofmasteryand
 
accomplishment•Flexibilityandadaptive
 
performance•Persistenceanddependability•Identicationofabilitiestargeted
for future college and career
p/l
•Useofplayasasuccessful
 
copingstrategy•Resilienceandsocialskills
s/r
•Balanceofdailyroutinesinclud
-
ingrestandrelaxation•Promotionofgeneralmentalandphysicalhealthandhappiness

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