Cork school children with difficulties benefitting from new Occupational Therapy pilot My OT & Me

| Posted on: 19 October, 2021

Cork children experiencing difficulties with school related skills and daily activities are benefitting from a new Occupational Therapy pilot My OT & Me

Founder Innovators Jess Kennedy and Sean O’Tuama saw a clinical need for an on-line Paediatric Occupational Therapy (OT) resource to help children. Working with North Lee Primary Care Occupational Therapy Department, HSE and supported by Health Innovation Hub Ireland, My OT & Me has successfully launched a pilot programme for this valuable resource.  The Covid-19 pandemic worldwide has underlined the need for on-line OT resource to help children and parents in their own home. My OT & Me’s innovative platform addresses that need.

Paediatric Occupational Therapy helps children and young people with different needs and abilities to become as independent as possible by developing the skills they need to perform the purposeful activities that make up everyday life. The HSE Primary Care Occupational Therapy Services are experiencing increased numbers of referrals. This can be challenging particularly in times of limited resources, long waiting lists and redeployment of existing staff to COVID-19 testing duties. There is also a significant demand for private paediatric OT services in Ireland amongst parents, caregivers, educators, professionals and students.

My OT & Me’s platform is a unique solution to this clinical need and the team responded by developing a telehealth based product as an online paediatric occupational therapy resource to support children and families who are in need of OT support. It supports and empowers as many families as possible in an innovative, accessible and interactive way. My OT & Me provides information through structured high quality educational videos for parents covering a range of OT topics. Children are provided with My OT & Me’s product, Octobox, which is a telehealth-based solution to support them with skill acquisition in a fun and interactive way.

Health Innovation Hub Ireland is supporting the My OT & Me Innovation Journey and is currently running a pilot with North Lee Primary Care Occupational Therapy Department, HSE with thirty children and their families in Cork City who are awaiting intervention services. The children and their parents or guardians are currently undertaking a dedicated My OT & Me 12 week programme which will conclude in January 2022. They will avail of resources consisting of online educational paediatric OT videos for parents / guardians as well custom designed programmes including Let’s Get Moving Gross motor classes for children. It will provide parents and children with resources to work on specific skills with their child which have been identified and therefore potentially reduce the need for some families to avail of public services.

Jane O’Flynn, Programme Manager, Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) welcomed the pilot, “HIHI is delighted to support My OT & Me in the pilot of this new service for children with North Lee Primary Care Occupational Therapy Department. We believe that My OT & Me’s telehealth platform can provide much needed support for children and their families not only in North Cork but throughout the country and internationally.”

Jess Kennedy, co-founder My OT & Me said “providing families with access to support as early as possible can drastically improve outcomes for children. With the demand for OT increasing, a scalable solution is needed, and the My OT & Me platform can relieve some of the anxiety and stress parents may be feeling by empowering them with practical strategies they can use at home.”

Sarika Kaushik, OT Manager, North Lee, HSE said “we are so delighted to be part of this project. Our aim is to empower families to help their children in achieving their goals. This additional resource is provided to them in a very structured manner to help them feel supported throughout their journey. The OT’s working with these families are positive that at the end of the project, the children and their families will have the knowledge and the skills they require and will therefore result in positive therapeutic outcomes.”