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 meaningul 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 identiy actors (e.g., sensory, motor, social–emotional, cognitive) that may limit successul participation across various settings, such as school, home, and community. Activities andaccommodations are used in intervention to promote successul perormance in these settings.
DeinitiOn: prOmOting strengths During everyDay practice
In strength-based approaches, the practitioner ocuses on identiying 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.
Wo bf o -bd o?
1. Children in general education without identifed problems or risks.
All children can beneft romidentiying and ostering their preerences and abilities.
2. Children in general education who are at risk o school ailure due to:
3. Children served in special education with:
Recent research (Fette, 2011) suggests that the ollowing student strengths are associated with positivepsychosocial and academic outcomes and should be promoted:
Practitioners can focus on usingthe child’s strengths and abilities toincrease participation in the follow-ing areas of occupation:
turn-taking and sharing
leadership and initiation
for future college and career