Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy helps children who are experiencing difficulties interacting in their daily environment and with peers. Activities, techniques, and environmental modifications, as well as sensory integration therapy are utilized to facilitate and maximize performance and participation. The therapist and child work together to achieve independence in all aspects of the child’s life. For a child, this includes development, play, learning, and self care.

Play and learning are cruicial for development. When a child’s development is challenged by disabilities, an occupational therapist can evaluate a child’s skills in daily activities, school performance, and self care activities and compare them to what is developmentally appropriate for his/her age group. Treatment is focused on improving a child’s skill level to meet those of his/her peers.

The Preschool Child

Occupational therapy intervention may be helpful if your preschool child is experiencing 3 or more of the following difficulties:

  • seems weak or floppy
  • clumsy, falls frequently
  • bumps into furniture, people
  • breaks crayons and toys easily
  • dislikes jumping, swings, or having feet off the ground
  • difficulties colouring in lines, doing puzzles or using scissors
  • delayed language activity
  • overly active, unable to slow down
  • doesn’t like lying on stomach
  • dislikes bathing, cuddling, or hair cuts
  • overreacts to touch, taste, sound, odour, lights
  • avoids playground activities
  • has sleep difficulties

The School-Age Child

Occupational therapy intervention may be helpful if your school-age child is experiencing 3 or more of the following difficulties:

  • difficulties focusing attention/hard to shift to next task
  • tends to lean on arms or slumps at desk
  • needs more practice than others to learn new skills
  • reverses some letters, can’t space letters on lines
  • uses writing tools with heavy pressure, hand tires quickly, often dislikes doing written work
  • dislikes jumping, swings, or having feet off the ground
  • overly active, unable to slow down
  • difficulty paying attention to or following instructions
  • low self-esteem, lack of confidence
  • dislikes swimming, bathing, hugs and/or hair cuts
  • overreacts to touch, taste, sound, odour
  • avoids sports activities or gym
  • finds it difficult to make friends of the same age