For kids, playing is their occupation. It helps them explore the world around them, learn to interact with it and develop essential life skills that will allow them to connect with others and do things independently one day.
Some children have trouble mastering the skills that will allow them to investigate and navigate their environment on their own. They might experience issues with fine or gross motor skills, sensory processing, visual-perceptual skills, and other abilities. In those cases, pediatric occupational therapy can make a big difference.
The purpose of pediatric occupational therapy is to help children become independent in all areas of life. An occupational therapist can assist kids in developing the skills that occupy their days, such as eating and getting dressed. Children with developmental delays can make significant strides socially and emotionally by working with a therapist.
Here are just a few signs that your child might benefit from pediatric occupational therapy.
1. Difficulty achieving age-appropriate developmental milestones. Occupational therapy can help children who show signs of developmental delays. For example, if your 1-year-old isn’t crawling yet or if your 2-year-old can’t walk steadily, you should consult a medical professional about possible developmental issues. You can learn more about red flags for potential developmental delays for kids ages 1-5 from this blog entry.
2. Issues with fine motor skills. Some children struggle with tasks that require strength, control, and dexterity of the small hand muscles. Kids who have trouble with fine motor skills will have a difficult time with tasks like using scissors, drawing, stringing beads, and using utensils, according to the Child Mind Institute. If fine motor skill issues aren’t addressed, a child with delays in this area could have a hard time performing essential activities like writing and using computers at school.
3. Trouble with gross motor skills. Occupational therapy can also help children who have trouble with gross motor skills, which involve the major muscle groups, the Child Mind Institute states. Kids experiencing gross motor skill issues will have difficulties related to balance, strength, endurance and coordination – which can affect their ability to climb stairs, walk, hop, and play catch, among other activities.
4. Sensory processing problems. Children with sensory processing disorders can benefit from pediatric occupational therapy. If your child seems to overreact to touch, taste, sounds, or smells, that’s a common sign that he or she could have sensory processing issues and might need occupational therapy, according to EverydayFamily. Kids with sensory processing problems might also display under-sensitivity and keep seeking out sensations by moving around and touching everything constantly, according to the Child Mind Institute.
Overall, occupational therapy can help children with a range of conditions. Our pediatric occupational therapists at Little Steps specialize in but aren’t limited to the following:
- Birth injuries or defects
- Traumatic injuries
- Developmental delays
- Post-surgical conditions
- Autism/pervasive developmental disorders
- Hand injuries
- Sensory processing disorders
- Chronic illnesses
To learn more, feel free to contact us today by calling 847-707-6744 or emailing [email protected]. If your child needs occupational therapy, our compassionate therapists can help him or her achieve independence, grow, learn and thrive in various environments.