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Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Suggesting to a parent their child may need occupational therapy might confuse or anger them, but if parents take a step back and look at how their child responds to certain situations, they may notice some common behaviors. Do they easily become frustrated and irritated or do they just walk away from a task they deem too difficult? Do they refuse to engage with their peers? There are many telltale signs to answer the question: does my child need occupational therapy?

OT Focuses On Challenges

We are all challenged by something. It may be our ability to pay attention while reading, our listening skills, or just using a computer. Adults can overcome certain challenges by studying or practicing to improve.

Children who are just learning new skills are enormously more challenged if it doesn’t come naturally and as easily as other children. That is the focus of occupational therapy. A pediatric specialist pinpoints the issue(s) and designs a specific plan for each child.

Exercises and activities are designed and coordinated to build on weak specific skills.

What might some of the challenges be?

Developmental Delay Is A Challenge

This means a child is not developing skills which they should master by a certain age. This could be not crawling, sitting up, or walking at the appropriate age among other skills.

Fine Motor Skills

Some children have difficulty with their fine motor skills like using their fingers and hands to maneuver objects. They may have trouble holding and using a pencil, a utensil, using a pair of scissors, or opening and closing buttons on their clothes.

Tying their shoes and drawing pictures will also be difficult and they may avoid such activities.

Gross Motor Skills

These challenges involve their balance, going up and down stairs, and coordinating their hands to throw and catch a ball. It’s always best to begin therapy at an early age. Once they begin to play with peers, they may be in danger of being bullied, especially with regard to sports, which could lead to further issues.

Visual Challenges

Processing what they see can be a real challenge for some children. Parents will notice they cannot distinguish objects from one another. They will have trouble copying letters and numbers and lose their place while reading or copying from the board or another page.

Control Of Muscle Movements

This manifests itself as eating in the front of their mouth, drooling excessively, difficulty using a cup at the appropriate age, spilling liquids or food from their mouth while eating, and trouble using a straw.

Sensory Challenges

Some children are distressed at loud noises and not able to calm down. They are constantly moving, jumping, and easily distracted. They may be under responsive to certain stimuli like being cut or feeling pain.

They can become overwhelmed with lights, noise and distractions and reach sensory overload causing them to become hyper or non-responsive.

Overall Learning Challenges

Is your child unhappy at school, while doing school work, or do they have difficulty completing school tasks? Are they unfocused and easily distracted? Are they falling behind?

Finding help for your child so they can overcome their challenges and gain self esteem is a primary function of parenthood. There are many resources available.

Get help for your child, and contact TLC Pediatric Therapy at (407) 905-9300 for a pediatric occupational therapy evaluation.