Playing is the major occupation of children. This helps them to explore and understand the world around them. It also helps them to interact with the world and develop important skills that enable them to function independently and connect with others.

However, some children have difficulties in developing the skills required to navigate and explore their world. Such kids may have problems with gross or fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and sensory processing, among others. Children experiencing any of these often require occupational therapy for children.

What are the signs that a Child needs Occupational Therapy for Children?

Occupational therapy for children is an aspect of child health care. Professionals that work in this domain help kids who may have challenges with sensory, cognitive, and physical skills. With this therapy, these children can gradually regain full independence in their lives. Here are some signs that indicate that a child needs occupational therapy for children:

  • Problem with attaining age-appropriate developmental milestones. For instance, if a one-year-old child is not crawling or a two-year-old is not walking steadily, it may be important to consult your healthcare provider regarding the developmental challenges.
  • Difficulty in developing fine motor skills: When a child struggles with basic tasks that need control, dexterity, and strength, such as using utensils, scissors, stringing beads, and drawing, it may mean that they have issues with fine motor skills.
  • Difficulty in developing gross motor skills: Children that have a problem performing tasks that require endurance, coordination, strength, and balance may have to undergo occupational therapy for children. These kids may have trouble climbing the stairs, playing catch, hopping, and walking, among others.
  • Problems with sensory processing: When you notice that your child overreacts to smells, sounds, touch, or taste, it is a major sign that the child may have sensory processing problems and would require occupational therapy for children.

What are the Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Children?

Occupational therapy for children aims to help children dealing with issues associated with their physical, social, and emotional needs. The therapy often requires daily exercises, activities, and other types of therapies. With this therapy, children can play normally; improve their daily activities, school performance, sense of accomplishment, and self-esteem. Some benefits associated with occupational therapy for children include:

  • Improved fine motor skills for grasping and releasing toys, developing computer skills, and good handwriting.
  • Enhanced eye-hand coordination for playing and completing school activities, such as copying from a blackboard and batting a ball.
  • Develop fundamental life skills, including bathing, brushing of teeth, self-feeding, and getting dressed.
  • Develop positive social skills and behaviors through the practice of anger and frustration management.

Who Can Benefit from Occupational Therapy for Children

Children of all ages with some basic physical, emotional, and social challenges can benefit significantly from occupational therapy for children. Kids with the following conditions are candidates for this therapy:

  • Birth defects or birth injuries
  • Traumatic injuries to the spinal cord or brain
  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Autism
  • Learning problems
  • Developmental delays
  • Orthopedic injuries, including broken bones
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Severe hand injuries
  • Post-surgical conditions
  • Behavioral or mental health problems
  • Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and many other chronic diseases

How Can I find Occupational Therapists for Children?

Occupational therapy for children is a specialized area. If you think that your child will benefit from this therapy, you can ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a specialist.

You can also speak with the school guidance counselor or school nurse for a recommendation based on the child’s social needs or academic performance. Additionally, you can check with a local rehabilitation center or nearby hospital for referrals.