Occupational therapy for children, commonly referred to as OT, has helped children of all ages do the tasks that everyday living requires in order for them to succeed. For many kids these tasks can be very difficult which is why their families search for OT to help them overcome these limitations. This program can have wondrous results for these kids especially those who suffer from attention or learning issues.
Occupational therapy for children can help with a wide array of tasks including but not limited to fine motor skills such as brushing your teeth or even writing on a white board. If this program sounds like it can help about your child or a family member then read on as we talk about everything you need to know about occupational therapy for children.
What is it?
OT uses strategies, exercises and activities to help kids develop the necessary skills in order for them to be more independent. If you have noticed that your child has not hit those developmental milestones that the rest of their cohort has, they require additional attention to get them on the track that they need in order to thrive. The therapists that work with these kids are able to use a lot of different activities to help with the following things;
- Activities of daily living and self-care (using utensils, dressing themselves)
- Hand eye coordination
- Gross and fine motor skills
- Organising and planning
- Sensory responses
While there are many benefits to occupational therapy for children, the sooner they start the more effective the results will be. A kid’s brain is in that developmental stage when they are young where it is like a big sponge. The earlier you start to implement these methods to get them on the right track, the sooner you will see them become more independent.
Examples of activities
While the activities performed in occupational therapy for children differ from therapist to therapist there is a clear procedure that they will follow. Firstly they will look at your kid’s strengths and weaknesses and create a program of activities for them to work on. This program will use their strengths to relate to their weaknesses so they can become a well-rounded person. Things that will be addressed range from;
- Sensory Reactions
A common example that therapists will do is for when kids have trouble focusing. If their strengths and interests lie in sports they will ask them to do full-body exercises before they get started with their school work. Once all that pent up energy has been exerted from their body they may be able to sit down and concentrate more. Exercises can range from animal poses, yoga to even jumping around on a trampoline for a short amount of time.
How occupational therapy for children can help with attention and learning issues
A lot of children suffer from learning and attention issues which can really bring down their confidence when they are at school. If this scenario sounds all too familiar to you, you may want to consider occupational therapy for children. Starting these programs early can be really beneficial especially for younger children.
Therapists can help kids who struggle with gross and fine motor skills. Generally kids who have dyspraxia are recommended to undergo these programs. They can help them by;
- Build gross motor skill such as coordination and balance through games. Catching balls and star jumps are common activities for this.
- Practicing their fine motor skills through activities such as picking up items with tweezers.