5 Signs That Your Child Needs Occupational Therapy

5 Signs that your child needs OTOccupational therapy in India: 
A child’s main occupation is playing and learning. It helps them explore the world around them, learn to interact with it and develop essential life skills that will allow them to connect with others and do things independently .

However, some children may have trouble mastering the skills .They might experience issues with physical(fine or gross motor skills), sensory processing, cognitive and academic skills etc .

In those cases, pediatric occupational therapy can make a big difference.

Occupational therapy in India

The purpose of pediatric occupational therapy is to help children become independent in all areas of life.

Here are five signs that your child might need occupational therapy-

  1. Difficulty achieving age-appropriate developmental milestones

If a child is behind in developing skills that are common during a particular age or during a particular time period.

For examples:

  • Not reaching developmental milestones of neck holding, sitting, crawling, and walking on time.
  • Not learning at an age appropriate level.
  • Not developing age appropriate play and social skills
  • Not pointing or communicating age appropriately.

 

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  1. Avoids eye contact and inappropriate Social Interaction

Social interaction skills are skills that help us to bond and build relationships with other people in our life and also to understand those around us. Your child may have delayed social skills if they show some of the following traits:

  • Avoiding to appropriate eye contact while talking.
  • Difficulty interacting socially with family and peers
  • Difficulty interacting  engaging and play with peers age appropriately
  • Difficulty adapting to new environments and large gatherings.
  • Delayed communication or language skills
  • Can’t cope in the school environment

 

3.Inadequate or Inappropriate Play Skills:’

 

Play is a crucial activity in children, developing age appropriate skills and understanding their place in the world.

A child can build his/her motor skills, build their cognitive skills, learn problem solving, and develop social skills through play.

Your child may be needed to consult an OT if you notice these following things:

  • Does not explore toys appropriately
  • Engages in repetitive play for hours (e.g., lining up toys)
  • Prefers to play alone rather than with an adult or peer.
  • Constantly on the go without purposeful play
  • Short attention span, Moves quickly from one activity to the next
  • Difficulty in  joining with peers/siblings when playing
  • Does not understand concepts of sharing and turn taking

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  1. Issues with gross motor and fine motor skills.

Gross Motor (physical) skills are those which require whole body movement

and which involve the large (core stabilising) muscles of the body to perform

everyday functions, such as standing, walking, running, and sitting upright. It also includes eye-hand coordination skills such as ball skills (throwing, catching, kicking).A child who has low body tone and strength, and/or balance may appear clumsy or uncoordinated. They may also have difficulty with these areas:

  • Unable to roll,throw,catch or kick ball age appropriately
  • Climbing up and down stairs at an age appropriate time
  • Coordinating both sides of the body
  • Understanding the concept of right and left
  • Poor balance and coordination.
  • Low muscle tone
  • Poor endurance,gets tired easily( or avoids physical games and activities

Occupational therapy in India

Fine motor skills are skills such as writing, cutting, holding a small object, picking up a spoon, and tying shoelaces.

The development of these skills depends upon the age appropriate development of physical skills (such as core muscle strength ,trunk control and shoulder strength) providing the stable base from which the arm and hand can then move with control.

If your child is struggling with fine motor skills, they may have difficulty with one of these actions:

  • Not developing a hand dominance at an age-appropriate time
  • Unable to use both hands appropriately
  • Difficulty in manipulating toys and puzzles
  • Holding a pencil or writing tool or using scissors
  • Poor pencil grip, poor handwriting(letter/number formation)
  • Coloring, drawing, tracing, prewriting shapes
  • Using zippers, buttons, shoelaces
  • Avoiding tasks and games that require fine motor skills

If fine motor skill issues aren’t addressed, a child with delays in this area could have a hard time performing essential activities like writing and using computers at school.

Occupational Therapist(OT) can provide physically based therapy strategies and offer modified movements to help your child complete everyday tasks.

Occupational therapy in India

5.Sensory Processing Disorders-

Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD  is a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that the individual perceives results in abnormal responses.

Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into responses. For those with Sensory Processing Disorder, sensory information goes into the brain but does not get organized into appropriate responses. Those with SPD perceive and/or respond to sensory information differently than most other people.

A child with sensory processing concerns has difficulty using sensory input from his/her eyes (vision), ears (sound), skin (touch), nose (smell), mouth (taste), muscles and body joints (body awareness), and inner ear (balance & position of body in space).

Have you noticed the following traits in your child:

PraiseIf you have noticed the sensory issues and you feel your child’s sensory behaviors are interfering with their ability to focus or complete day-to-day activities, you might need to consult a pediatric occupational therapist.

An occupational therapist can help you to identify the sensory issues and suggest you strategies which can help the child.

 

A trained occupational therapist can teach your child to meet their sensory needs safely and effectively. An OT might design a sensory diet. This carefully designed plan is a series of physical activities to give each child the right amount of sensory input he needs.

 

Above issues can also in turn affect the academic skills and the child may have difficulty in coping at School

  • The child may have issues with handwriting, hand-eye coordination (writing on a classroom whiteboard, copying in a notebook what the teacher writes on the board) ,difficulty paying attention, or lack of organization and social interaction etc

Learning challenges, sometimes called learning disabilities, are another type of developmental delay. If your child is challenged by one of the following, you may want to consult an occupational therapist:

  • Unable to concentrate and focus at school
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty following instructions and completing work
  • Tires easily with school work
  • Poor impulse control
  • Hyperactivity or low energy
  • Not keeping up with workload at school
  • Difficulty learning new material
  • Makes letter or number reversals after age seven

OT can help kids with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

Behavioral Issues-

Have you noticed frequent episodes of hitting, meltdowns, extreme anger or anxiousness.

These issues can be addressed by an occupational therapist.

Behavioral challenges are often the result of an underlying issues like when there is inadequate communication skills( especially in case of non verbal child or child who has limited speech, environmental influences, or health etc.

An occupational therapist can address underlying issues and help your child find positive ways to get their emotional needs met while limiting negative behavior.

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CONCLUSION:

There are lots of benefits of OT for children. And the sooner a child starts OT, the more effective it tends to be.

If you feel like your child is having above mention issues, an occupational therapist can help. An OT would look for your your child’s strengths and areas of weakness.

An OT can evaluate and identify the areas of concerns and provide you right intervention, tips, strategies and social activities to use in everyday situations.

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(1 Comment)

  • Anuj Lal

    I have been advised OT for my son, as he has been diagnosed with ADHD. Major complaints/issues:
    1. Anxious while climbing stairs. Doesn’t climb stairs without help.

    2. Has to be prodded to study.

    3. Faces issues in completing class work and homework.
    4. Lately, he has been displaying some new stress related symptoms and behaviors.

    Regards,
    Anuj

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