Occupational Therapy with Ms Jenna-Lyn Andriessen

We kicked off 2018 with our first formal meeting of the year on Thursday, 22 Feb. Ms Jenna-Lyn Andriessen, an Occupational Therapist (OT) came to share some of her wisdom with the teachers. Jenna specialises in OT with children, particularly in the school environment and has worked at Scottsville Primary School previously.

Jenna started off the meeting with explaining the very broad and multifaceted occupation of OT and the role that OT can play in the classroom, particularly an inclusive classroom. OT can be beneficial for learners on several different dimensions including physical, social, emotional, academic and cognitive dimensions. OT can be especially helpful to those children with special needs or who need help reaching typical developmental milestones. Jenna explained that OT in the classroom can help to empower learners and teachers to function optimally by providing creative solutions, activities, environmental adaptations and group work that aid in enhancing opportunities, focus and function for learners.

In the meeting, Jenna also gave the teachers tips for identifying those learners who would most benefit most from OT. Learners who show deficits or are behind in terms of academic ability and quality, gross and fine motor skills as well as social and emotional function are likely to benefit the most from OT, although everyone may find that OT is useful. To end off the session Jenna covered tips for how to refer those learners who are most at risk or most in need for special education, as many of the teachers have expressed this is one of the most challenging aspects of their job.

On behalf of all the teachers at Sizabantwana we would like to thank Ms Jenna-Lyn Andriessen for coming to speak to us and for her very useful and valuable insight. Your contribution to empowering teachers and changing the lives of children is most appreciated. Thank you again.

I would also like to thank Dlalanathi and all those learners in Australia with the Uthando doll project who send such beautifully crafted dolls, the teachers are always so excited to receive them and the learners here in South Africa even more so. Thank you once again

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