Occupational Therapy for Enhancing Skills in Children with Epilepsy

Occupational therapy, specifically tailored to address the needs of children with epilepsy, plays a vital role in supporting their development. These children often face a range of symptoms associated with epilepsy, varying in frequency and intensity. Due to these challenges, many of them encounter difficulties in school and struggle with social skills, significantly impacting their self-esteem. However, occupational therapy interventions can provide significant benefits.

Which learning areas are affected in children with epilepsy?

Many children with epilepsy, despite having normal intelligence, experience deficits in specific areas crucial for thinking and learning. These areas commonly include attention, concentration, memory, and organizational skills. To enhance these critical abilities, occupational therapy interventions, such as psychomotor therapy, are highly recommended.

Occupational therapy approaches to skill enhancement

Occupational therapy, with its focus on facilitating engagement in meaningful activities, is well-suited to improving the skills mentioned above in children with epilepsy. Through play and exploration of novel experiences, occupational therapy helps children develop their organizational skills, attention span, and executive functions, including working memory, inhibition, and flexibility. By incorporating occupational therapy techniques, children can make significant strides in these areas.

The impact of spatial development on learning

Spatial development in children directly influences their reading, writing, and mathematical abilities. Particularly in early childhood, occupational therapists work on enhancing “sensory-motor” skills by encouraging direct experiences that allow the child to explore physical spaces. This may involve activities such as crawling, walking, and sitting on the ground. Additionally, occupational therapists offer stimulating games that foster the understanding of concepts like right-left, front-behind, before-after, up-down, inside-outside, near-far, and beginning-end.

Stimulating working memory through occupational therapy

Occupational therapists employ various activities to stimulate working memory, which aids children in temporarily retaining information and processing additional data to solve problems. For instance, working on mathematical concepts can be beneficial for children with epilepsy.

Promoting inhibitory control and attention skills

Occupational therapy interventions also focus on promoting inhibitory control, helping children regulate their emotions and behaviours effectively. This aspect of therapy is crucial for optimal self-control and requires attention skills, including selective and sustained attention, to minimize distractions and maintain focus on the intended task.

Enhancing cognitive flexibility through occupational therapy

Cognitive flexibility, an important skill for adapting to new environments, is another area targeted by occupational therapy. By incorporating specific interventions, occupational therapists help improve the child’s ability to adjust and thrive in different situations.

Conclusion: Collaborative care for children with epilepsy

Epilepsy in children often correlates with difficulties in social competence, behavioural adjustment, emotional well-being, and academic performance. Therefore, it is crucial to provide comprehensive support, including psychological intervention and speech and language follow-up. Occupational therapy, in collaboration with educators, families, and healthcare professionals, plays a vital role in developing and continuously improving academic, behavioural, and emotional success plans for children with epilepsy.

If you believe your child with epilepsy might need occupational therapy in Dubai, reach out to TBC. Our Lebanese therapists offer occupational therapy for children in English, French and Arabic.