October is Occupational Therapy Month, and this year we want to highlight the benefits of Occupational Therapy for kids.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Let’s start with this – Occupational therapy is a profession dedicated to helping individuals develop, recover or maintain their ability to perform daily activities. It can be preventative, as well as a corrective measure to help individuals live productive and satisfying lives. Some examples of daily activities that OT can help with are:
Self-care – getting dressed, eating, and moving around the house
Being productive – going to work or school, participating in the community
Leisure activities – sports, gardening, and social activities.
Regarding your child, an Occupational Therapist (OT) can assess and provide therapy to help them respond appropriately to sensory information. The OT can address psychological, social and various environmental factors that may affect the way a child functions in different settings. A child could benefit from using special equipment or having an assistive device for classroom purposes, such as something simple like a pencil grip or computer software.
Children spend their days playing and exploring the world around them, which is important for learning how to interact with others and developing independent life skills. This is a crucial part of their overall development, so it’s important to keep note of your child’s progress and any setbacks that might come up.
Signs that your child might benefit from Pediatric Occupational Therapy:
Trouble with gross motor skills – If your child experiences difficulty with their balance, strength, endurance or their coordination, then OT can be beneficial with strengthening these motor skills. Therapy can help with a child’s ability to walk, climb stairs, hop and other daily activities. Later on in life, such deficits can hinder kids from participating in sports or play at recess, which can affect their self-esteem. It’s important to tackle these issues early on with the help of a Pediatric Occupational Therapist.
Difficulty achieving age-appropriate milestones – Are you concerned your 1-year-old isn’t crawling yet or that your 2-year-old isn’t walking steadily on their own? Occupational therapy can help children who are showing signs of developmental delays.
Issues with fine motor skills – Children that have trouble with fine motor skills typically have a difficult time with simple tasks such as drawing, using scissors or even their utensils, according to the Child Mind Institute.
Sensory processing problems – If you that notice your child tends to overreact to touch, taste, sounds or smells, these are common signs, that there could be sensory processing issues. Occupational Therapy can help with sensitivity to these senses using different exercises.
How to find Occupational Therapy for kids
The purpose of pediatric occupational therapy is to help children become independent in all areas of life. Occupational therapy services can be provided in various settings, such as in a clinic or within the home and school environment. The first step is to speak with your family doctor about any concerns you may have with your child’s development. From there, your doctor will be able to recommend a pediatric Occupational Therapist that will fit your family’s needs.
Occupational therapy and physiotherapy services may be publicly or privately-funded. For children with coordination difficulties, community-based services may be covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). On the other hand, private services may be covered by extended health coverage plans.
A big thank you to all of our Occupational Therapists at CTG for their hard work and dedication – Happy Occupational Therapy Month! #OTMonth
To learn more about the Occupation Therapy services available at CTG, please visit: https://www.closingthegap.ca/services/occupational-therapy/