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In the Midst of Occupational Therapy: Busy Books as an Unexpected Ally

In the Midst of Occupational Therapy: Busy Books as an Unexpected Ally

If your child is in or about to start occupational therapy, you may be looking for ways to support their progress at home. Busy Books are an unexpected ally for children in the midst of occupational therapy, often used by occupational therapists and easily used at home. They can be used to support children with a range of delays and occupational therapy needs, especially when guided by a parent or adult.

These are just some of the ways Busy Books can support children in occupational therapy. You should always work with your occupational therapist to ensure any additional aids align with your child’s specific progress and needs.

Benefits of Using Busy Books to Support Children in Occupational Therapy

Improved speaking skills.

While speech therapy is primarily worked on with a speech pathologist, some occupational therapists are also equipped to assist with speech. This may be due to hearing impairment, development delays, neurological or behavioural problems, genetic disorders, lack of exposure to language and more. Busy Books can help give parents a fun way to help their children with language and speaking delays, helping intrigue their child and maintain their focus while exposing them to new words.

Many Busy Books are designed specifically to help children with communication or language delays. In particular, the ‘Let’s Talk Together’ Busy Book (as well as many others) has children say words out loud before completing an action. The activities have them repeat words multiple times to help with their development. For example, in the ‘Big and Little’ section of the book, kids will need to say ‘big’ or ‘little’ when placing an animal cut out in a big or little box. As your child progresses, you can have them whisper little or say ‘big’ louder to expand their speaking skills. 

Increased empathy.

Big feelings can be hard for any child. For a child with social-emotional delays, like learning empathy, they can be especially hard. Occupational therapy can help children gain control of their emotions and reactions, such as thinking differently about how they’re feeling or how they may have made someone else feel by their actions. Busy Books can also be an unexpected ally for helping children learn empathy.

The colourful animations and story-like way of learning through Busy Books helps children see things from different perspectives. There are also specific Busy Books, like My Body Mindfulness, which have kids match facial expressions to emotions and actions, such as recognising a child smiling going down a slide as happy. As you work through the book with your child, you can ask them for examples of when they were happy or when they think a friend may have been sad to help them increase their empathy.  

Supporting fine motor skills.

Children should start to develop fine motor skills from as young as 2 months old, as progress throughout their life. As they get older, fine motor skill delays may be present in trying to tie their shoe laces, write or using buttons and zips. If their progress seems a little delayed, such as having trouble grabbing or manipulating objects, occupational therapy can help your child develop those skills. For children in the midst of occupational therapy, Busy Books can be used as an unexpected ally in helping your child progress with their fine motor skills.

Busy Books are activity based, often requiring children to point, trace, draw, write, handle cut outs and other hands-on activities. Whether it’s tracing letters, writing numbers or placing missing characters (such as in the Alphabet, Numbers & Writing Skills Book), the books progress with your child’s development, helping them thrive and grow in a fun way.

Alphabet Numbers Writing 1 scaled 3

Enhanced independence.

While children greatly benefit from being guided through Busy Books by their parents or adults, they can also benefit from being left to their own devices too. Sitting back and watching how your child interacts with the books and activities can help you see their progress when you aren’t there to help them. It can help them gain their confidence doing activities on their own, and problem solving on their own.

Finding books your child is interested in will help them make leaps and bounds on their own. Often, kids will lose focus or interest in learning when they don’t have an adult looking over their shoulder. Busy Books use bright, fun animations, pictures and stories to help draw them in and maintain their focus. The My Little Farm Book, in particular, is fun for children who love animals, as they can match photos of animals to animations, match footprints to animals and more. For children who love machinery, digging or building, the Community & Construction Book is popular, where they learn and name machines, as well as learn about different uniformed tradespeople. 

Increased social skills.

The repetitive, fun nature of Busy Books makes them ideal for kids to share with siblings or friends. You can have your child show their siblings or friends how to work through activities they have done themselves, or help them work together, taking turns. For children who have social delays, it can be a good way to help them learn some of these crucial skills without explicitly telling them what to do or correcting them. 

“My little 2.5 year old absolutely loves this book! He already loved construction and trucks but this book has him even more engaged and he loves learning the new things. We have 5 busy books now and my little one uses them almost every day and it’s always a feature when we have other kids over – everyone loves them. Would highly recommend. We don’t do screen time and he isn’t yet in childcare and the books have provided us with more structured learning which is great for him, but also for me!” Blair Collier

Frequently Asked Questions About Supporting Children in Occupational Therapy

Why might a child need occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy helps in improving the function of the body. So, children may need occupational therapy if they have a delay in fine motor skill development, or difficulty self-regulating, feeding or self-help skills, such as being able to dress themselves. 

Can occupational therapy help with behaviour?

Occupational therapy may be able to help with child behaviour issues by helping them learn how to function appropriately in different situations. An occupational therapist can help a child learn how to self-regulate by managing their emotions, as well as their behaviour. 

How long does a child need occupational therapy?

There is no specific timeframe a child may need occupational therapy as how many sessions they need depend on their needs and progress. Your occupational therapist can make a recommendation based on an initial assessment. 

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