Pediatric OT Helps

HOW DO I KNOW IF PEDIATRIC OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY MIGHT HELP?

A child’s growth is certainly somewhat unique to them, yet there are also predictable milestones and critical periods in development. Sometimes a family can use a little help in supporting their child with organizational skills, self-regulation, fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, sensory processing and other milestones. The following are some developmental challenges that may indicate a child could benefit from pediatric occupational therapy:

GROSS MOTOR: (large motor movements)

  • Seems weaker than their peers
  • Difficulty with hopping, jumping, skipping and/or running compared to peers
  • Difficulty standing on one foot
  • Appears stiff and awkward in their movements
  • Clumsy, seems not to know how to move their body; bumps into things; falls out of chair
  • Tendency to confuse right and left
  • Reluctant in playground participation and sports; prefers more sedentary activities

FINE MOTOR: (small motor movements)

  • Poor pencil grasp
  • Poor desk posture-slumps; leans on arm; head too close to work; other hand does not hold paper
  • Lines drawn are too light or too dark; wobbly lines; breaks pencil often
  • Difficulty with coloring, drawing, copying, cutting; avoids these activities
  • Difficulty with handwriting
  • Dominant hand

ACADEMIC:

  • Attention issues, distractible; difficulty completing work
  • Slow response time
  • Poor organization; difficulty sequencing
  • Restless, fidgety; difficulty sitting still
  • Difficulty following directions

SENSORY PROCESSING:

Tactile-processing

  • Seems to withdraw from touch; dislikes being cuddled
  • Does not like to get hands dirty or play with messy art media
  • Does not cooperate for grooming activities
  • Will only wear certain types of clothing
  • Touches everything; struggles to keep hands to themselves

Oral /Olfactory-processing

  • Picky eater; bothered by certain textures in food
  • Likes to eat the same foods
  • Does not try new foods
  • Eats non-edible items
  • Sensitive to certain smells

Auditory-processing

  • Sensitive to household sounds
  • Does not like crowds or noisy environments
  • Sensitive to loud sounds such as fireworks, sirens, alarms
  • Seems to talk excessively; likes to make loud sounds
  • Has difficulty making themselves understood
  • Has difficulty understanding directions
  • Cannot repeat hand clapping sequence

Visual-processing

  • Sensitive to light as compared to peers
  • Easily distracted by visual stimuli
  • Difficulty discriminating shapes, colors, and/or doing puzzles
  • Eyes tire easily with reading
  • Letter reversals after first grade
  • Difficulty with visual tracking

Vestibular-internal processing

  • Fearful of feet leaving the ground and activities moving through space
  • Avoids going on playground equipment
  • Avoids activities that challenge balance
  • Constantly moving; cannot sit still
  • Seeks movement
  • Visual tracking difficulties
  • Low muscle tone
  • Difficulty moving both sides of the body together or in opposition
  • Short attention span
  • Difficulty with emotional regulation

Proprioception

  • Clumsy, awkward, poor posture
  • Does not seem to know where they are moving in space
  • Overstuffs mouth with food
  • Has low muscle tone
  • Difficulty with touching finger to nose with eyes closed

Modulation

  • Struggles to accept changes in routine
  • Difficulty with transitions
  • Easily frustrated
  • Impulsive
  • Acts out behaviorally; difficulty getting along with peers
  • Marked mood variation; may have “meltdowns”
  • Lacks self confidence; low self esteem

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