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Occupational therapy for children

How to know if your child needs an occupational therapy evaluation

As a parent, you want to see your child grow and develop without challenges. Therefore, you may feel concerned if you notice delays in your child’s skills at an age when these are either supposed to be forming or be in place. But how do you know whether what you are seeing needs a professional evaluation?

Many parents and caregivers have heard about Occupational Therapy services but aren’t quite sure exactly what an OT does. Occupational Therapy works with individuals on their Occupations and occupations look different at every age. In pediatric Occupational Therapy, the plan of care is to help support a child’s participation in daily routines and activities. At Milestone Therapy Group, we believe that the first step to helping children succeed is timely identification of needs and intervention. Below is a brief overview of some areas of development that an Occupational Therapy evaluation or ongoing OT sessions could address. 

  • Helping Infants Meet Developmental Milestones
  • Tolerating tummy time
  • Rolling, sitting, crawling and walking
  • Visually tracking toys
  • Reaching or moving to get to toys

Feeding and Mealtime Routines

  • Latching to accept breast or bottle for feedings
  • Introducing purees and table foods (accepting food off the spoon and progression of textures).
  • Self-feeding: finger foods and utensil use
  • Picky eaters: increasing the variety or volume of foods a child is eating
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing food
  • Difficulty in drinking from a cup or drinking from a straw

Fine Motor

  • Difficulty reach, grasping and manipulating toys
  • Completing toys such as a shape sorter or puzzle
  • Grasp on crayons and pencils
  • Copying simple pre writing strokes and progressing to handwriting (forming letters)
  • Bilateral Coordination skills: lacing/stringing beads and snipping/cutting with scissors

Gross Motor 

  • Walking and Running
  • Jumping
  • Walking up and down the stairs
  • Throwing and catching a ball
  • Decreased balance and coordination

Social Skills

  • Difficulty at home, daycare, preschool or school with:
  • Following classroom routine and directions
  • Transitioning between activities
  • Sharing toys with peers
  • Sitting to attend to adult directed tasks
  • Prefers to be self-directed
  • Limited eye contact

Sensory 

  • Hypersensitive or under responsive to sensory input
  • Heightened sensitivity to sound, touch or movement
  • Doesn’t like to have hands, face or clothing messy
  • Under responsive to certain sensations like pain
  • Difficulty coping with change or transitions
  • Inability to stay calm
  • Constantly moving, jumping or crashing

Dressing

  • Difficulty cooperating in dressing and undressing routines
  • Unable to dress themselves independently (when age appropriate)
  • Difficulty managing fasteners: zipper, buttons and or snaps

We hope this article will guide you to understanding whether an occupational therapy evaluation is what your child needs at this moment. In fact, if you really want to be sure, you could even speak to us at Milestone Therapy Group. Our licensed and qualified occupational therapist has helped countless children meet their goals! Please feel free to book a consultation with us and let’s get started helping your child discover the path to healthy growth and development.

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