How Can Occupational Therapy Help Your Child?

How can Occupational Therapy help your child?

A question that many parents come across is, “How can a pediatric occupational therapist help my child?” Occupational therapy works with you and your child by therapeutically addressing any possible difficulties identified in their “occupations” through play, socialization, self-care, and school responsibilities. Occupational therapists help to develop the necessary skills that your child needs to accomplish their everyday tasks. They target the identified areas of concern and provide therapeutic interventions to increase your child’s participation and success in their daily activities.

Therapists work closely with the caregivers and educational providers and can assist them in strategies that may benefit all aspects of your child’s life. It is often perceived that occupational therapists only help with fine motor and gross motor skills. However, they can provide additional assistance beyond these general abilities. There is a wide range of areas in which OTs can offer services in the behaviors that might concern you about your child. Several focus areas in which pediatric OTs can work with your child on are:

  •    Sensory integration
  •    Developing a sensory diet
  •    Social skills
  •    Handwriting skills
  •    Self-regulation and coping mechanism
  •    Activities of daily living (feeding yourself, bathing, dressing, toileting, brushing teeth and playing)
  •    Instrumental activities of daily living (cooking, driving/ using public transportation, using a telephone, finances, shopping and medication management)
  •    Engaging in appropriate play
  •    Feeding/ Picky Eating
  •    Executive functioning skills
  •    Visual motor skills

These aspects are essential in every child’s life. An occupational therapist can work closely with the caregiver to identify areas of concerns as well as provide methods to facilitate your child’s success not only in school but also in their home environment. OT’s can help provide your child with individualized strategies that can best accommodate their specific needs and help them to develop and flourish the skills they need to reach their milestones, grow independently, and motivate them to participate in their daily routines.

Pediatric Occupational therapy can help address cognitive, behavioral, sensory, and motor functions that are difficult for your child. The skills and tactics taught in the clinic can be utilized at home, school or in the community. They also allow your child to engage in essential activities. The skills that are continuously learned in therapy can stimulate your child to apply and develop new strategies in different areas of their life. The home programs that therapists provide include information and suggest ideas to you, as the parent, how your child can adapt to their routines. These can include:

  • Dimming the lights before bed for a relaxing environment
  • Having your child play animal games using their arms and legs to get the input through all of their joints
  • Letting your child set the table, clean up the table and push in the chairs provides heavy work and proprioceptive input which can be calming and regulating for them

The therapy sessions are client-centered and work on achieving the child’s personal goals, values, and desires. In addition to occupational therapy helping your child develop the basic requirements to reach their functional goals, it also helps to improve their daily challenges, which can also be beneficial to the child’s entire family.

Occupational therapy assists your child in both self-development and the promotion of self-exploration. Having your child learn, grow and thrive in their abilities is what we strive to achieve in a fun and safe environment.