'Doing, Being, Becoming and Belonging.’
 Ann Wilcock, 1999

The process of doing tasks within and together with people in our community is an essential part of who we are. This process has 4 essential components:

Doing: Doing is an essential part of being human. It is usually to meet some need or to produce some form of end-product, whether it’s writing a sentence for your teacher or riding a bicycle with friends.

Being: This is about who we are and doing tasks is a reflection of this. This involves the important roles in our lives, such as being a student, being a friend, being a son/daughter. Participating in tasks gives us a chance to be who we are and express that through the tasks we do.

Becoming: Participating in tasks is also important for developing the person we are going to be. For children, this is even more important as their choices, successes and experiences in everyday tasks shape the person they are going to become.

Belonging: To join in with others in tasks, or to share the same values fosters a sense of belonging to a group. Whether this is eating dinner with the family or playing football on the green, it is through participation that we establish our place in our communities.

The Occupational Therapist:

Because of the great value of participation in all these elements, the occupational therapist focuses on ways to facilitate and enhance a child’s participation in all aspects of his everyday life. By working with the family, we can explore how successful the child is in his participation and how we can build on his participation.

Occupational therapists focus on the child’s activities of daily living, which can be broken down into a few groups:

Looking after themselves (This includes feeding/eating, dressing, toileting, looking after their clothes/belongings, managing pocket money...)

Attending and being successful in school related tasks (This includes academics such as reading, writing and maths, as well as organising themselves, taking down notes/homework, mixing with other students, following instructions...)

Play & Leisure (This includes the development of play skills, range of interests, interaction with others during play...)

Within each of these groups, countless skills are necessary to ensure successful participation. Here are just a few:

  • Understanding information from the world
  • Following instructions
  • Organising ourselves, remaining regulated and focused
  • Holding tools and materials
  • Carrying out motor tasks
  • Feeling successful, having enough confidence to participate

Occupational therapists will help build on these skills to facilitate the child’s ability to participate. Where appropriate, OTs will work with other therapists to address the child’s needs. OTs will also look at changes to the child’s environment that can be made to facilitate participation.