Pediatric Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapy (OT) can help optimize fine motor development, sensory function, motor planning and learning potential.
Occupational Therapists work with children who do not demonstrate age appropriate behaviors and abilities in one or more of the following areas:
Thinking skills; problem solving skills; attention to task; safety awareness.
Integrating reflexes to develop voluntary movement patterns; developing motor skills, balance and equilibrium reactions; muscle tone; eye-hand coordination, grasp-release and manipulation of objects.
Adaptive/Self Help Skills:
Feeding or using utensils; dressing and using fasteners; toileting and other hygiene skills; awareness of environmental dangers.
Ability to grasp pen/pencil; letter formation; spacing and page orientation.
Orienting to and processing sensation from the body and stimuli from the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Occupational Therapist are trained to help both children and adults to function daily in their best capacity with things we do every day such as
- Age appropriate self- help skills
- Development of motor skills
- Visual Perceptual skills
- Cognitive development
- Regulation of arousal level to attend to activities
- Refinement of sensory processing
- Appropriate social interactions
Children do have an “occupation”. They have the job of being a kid! What do kids do? They often go to school, play, socialize and are challenged to continuously learn new things as they develop both cognitively and physically. If a child is missing or delayed in any of these skills, Occupational Therapy can help address any deficits or help build on missing skills.
Sensory regulation is a popular term you may hear when reading about treatment of children with any sensory processing disorder. Just what is sensory regulation?
Children with sensory regulation disorder often have difficulty regulating their emotions and behaviors in response to sensory input.
Typically we take in many sensory inputs throughout the day and can filter them out without it interfering dramatically in our day. Adults often tap their legs, chew their nails, or listen to music. Some of us would never listen to music while trying to concentrate. Our bodies have a unique way of controlling or regulating the amount of sensations we can handle at once. Ever notice that you can hear the cars on the highway but you tune them out unless you specifically think about it? Then it might begin to bother you. You are unable to filter it out.
This is a common reoccurring problem with regulating sensory information for many children. Sometimes they are under stimulated so they are always seem to crash into things or be extra rough. Maybe they are always making noises which stimulate their senses through vibration or sound.
OT can help provide a sensory balanced diet by addressing the over reactive or under reactive systems in the body.
We receive and perceive sensory input through sights, sounds, touch, tastes, smells and movement. Sensory Integration is defined as the neurological process that organizes sensation from one’€™s own body and the environment, thus making it possible to use the body effectively within the environment.
Sensory integration dysfunction is a problem in processing sensations which causes difficulties in daily life. Sensory integration dysfunction is a complex neurological disorder, manifested by difficulty detecting, regulating, discriminating or integrating sensation adaptively. This causes children to process sensation from the environment or from their bodies in an inaccurately, resulting in “sensory seeking” or “sensory avoiding” patterns. It can also result in dyspraxia, a motor planning problem.
When children are “picky eaters” it can be a result of poor motor planning or skills, oral motor control issues and often it is a sensory issue such as dislike for the texture or smell of the food.
It gets back to how the child processes sensory information that so many of us take for granted every day. OT can help address the sensory deficits that may be interfering with the child being open to exploring new types of foods.
Self-care skills are numerous for children such as age appropriate dressing, brushing their teeth, feeding themselves, learning to write, playing appropriately on a playground, playing with others, to putting on their shoes and socks.
Handwriting skills are multi layered. It requires a cluster of skills to come together to write a language and numbers. This involves visual motor, visual perceptual, cognitive skills, and fine motor control of the hand and strength at the core to stabilize the arm for better performance. Additionally handwriting requires emotional regulation and attention to the task to sit and perform what is asked of the child.
Occupational Therapy can address all of these issues to help your child’€™s handwriting improve to an age appropriate level as the objective.