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Occupational therapy for children

Occupational Therapy for Kids

Occupational therapists assist patients with achieving their highest level of function by finding ways to adapt their activities of daily living to best meet their needs. When hearing the phrase ‘occupational therapy’ one might think it is something adults will benefit from, however, occupational therapy is just as important for kids. A child’s occupational therapist can help children with fine motor skills such as holding a pencil, improve their abilities to participate in play activities and socialize with their peers, manage classroom activities with ease, feeding/eating challenges, and picky eaters as well as become more independent with self-care. 

Occupational therapy for children can be a great adjunct to other therapies and treatments. Some common diagnoses that may benefit from this type of therapy include autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, fine motor weakness, Down syndrome, Spina Bifida, and muscular dystrophy. Whether the challenges are physical or cognitive, occupational therapy may be able to help.

Therapists can help children on the autism spectrum with self-regulating their emotions and responses. They can help with managing sensory issues as well. Other areas to address may include executive functioning and social skill management.

Cerebral palsy (CP) can be caused by damage to the brain before, during, or after birth. It can cause children to have difficulties with motor movement and tightness due to a decreased range of motion. Occupational therapists can help those with CP to increase their range of motion and stability, and improve control of their body. 

There are many different reasons why a child may have low tone or weakness in their muscles. Conditions such as Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, premature birth, and developmental delays can cause a child to fatigue quickly due to inefficient use or control of their muscles. This may hinder their ability to keep up with their peers and access the world around them. Occupational therapists can help children find a more energy-efficient and practical way to participate in activities throughout their day both at home and school. This may include the use of assistive devices, adaptations in their environment, therapeutic exercise, accommodations, or other modalities. 

Per the World Health Organization (2022), approximately 1 in 100 children are on the autism spectrum. Sometimes a child may have tactile defensiveness where certain textures or temperatures bother him or her. This may carry over into eating, perhaps the child will gag, or worse, vomit when specific foods are placed in their mouth. Alternatively, sometimes a child may present with weak muscles in the mouth and have difficulty controlling the movement of food, or swallowing. Occupational therapy can help overcome these challenges.

When searching for a children’s occupational therapist, look no further than Milestone Therapy Group. The therapists understand that children need to engage and interact through play in their world. Kids learn through social interaction and by gaining the ability to experience their world firsthand. Milestone Therapy Group can help your child find their own way of doing so. They are able to assess a child’s individual needs and come up with a treatment program that is tailored specifically for them. Giving a child the gift of communication and independence will lead to a happy, thriving child. 

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