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Everything You Need to Know About Occupational Therapy for Children

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Occupational therapy for children, often referred to as OT is becoming an increasingly popular technique. The treatment revolves around helping kids improve on daily activities that they struggle with. The treatment has huge benefits for people of all ages and has proved positive results. Occupational therapy for children can help with a wide range of tasks and help kids with learning and attention disabilities become more independent. Although the practice is becoming more popular, many parents still haven’t heard of it or its benefits. To help you understand the practice a little more, here is everything you need to know about occupational therapy for children.


What is occupational therapy for children?

The definition of OT is the use of particular activities as an aid to recoup from physical or metal illness. So what does this actually mean and how can it help your kids? Well, essentially the treatment uses exercises activities and strategies to help kids develop many skills that they will need in order to become more independent. The aim is really just to help your child reach his or her full potential by ensuring they reach their development milestones. There are many benefits of OT for youngsters, such as improved concentration and self confidence. The general rule is that the sooner a child starts OT, the more effective it will be.


What tasks can occupational therapy for children help with?

child with down syndromeThere are clear benefits of OT, but many parents don’t consider it, simply due to the fact that they didn’t know it could help their child. In reality, the treatment can improve many different types of activities. One of the main advantages of OT is that it helps improve independence and stops your child relying on you for everything, therefore it can help with self care activities, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed and using eating utensils. Another common use for OT is to help with hand eye co-ordination, which will help with many school based activities. Furthermore, both fine, and gross motor skills can be improved, these include holding a pen or pencil, as well as sport or movement based actions. Sensory responses can also be improved through OT, so kids with sensory processing issues can respond in more comfortable ways. Although OT is often used for younger kids, it can also be beneficial for teens when it comes to planning and organization. Basically, OT can help with a wide range of issues, and make your child’s life much easier. If you believe your child is lacking in any area, it is best to consult with an occupational therapist for children to ask their opinion and begin treatment.


What activities are involved?

One of the best things about occupational therapists for children is that they will first look at your child’s strengths and weaknesses to determine the best therapy for them. OT is specifically tailored to your child, meaning the program will work on the areas they need help with, and provide encouragement in the areas they are already well developed in. As a result of this, the activities involved in any OT session will differ greatly depending on the specific child. However, generally, strength, focus, coordination, organization and sensory reactions will be addressed and worked on during the treatment. The goal for an OT is to find activities that work for the child in question and help to build their confidence. Often, if a child struggles to focus, an OT will suggest they do full body exorcises before sitting down to do school work; this may include trampoline play or yoga. This often helps kids use up enough excess energy to focus on sitting down and doing school work. Another common issue is handwriting, in this case an OT may use tracing as a way to help the child improve, or use an app on a tablet. The main thing to remember is that whatever issue your child has, it will be addressed in the most effective way. There is no set program when it comes to OT.


How can it help children with learning and attention difficulties?

Many parents struggle to find the best way to help their child if they have learning or attention difficulties, often OT is the best option in this case. Occupational therapy for children can help kids become more independent and better at completing tasks, which will in turn help with improving their learning and attention skills. This is especially true when it comes to younger kids. OT can be extremely effective for kids with learning difficulties, this includes both mental and physical problems. Some common issues that can be greatly helped by an OT include dyspraxia, sensory processing issues, visual processing issues, dyslexia, executive functioning issues and dysgraphia.