Whether your child hits or bites because they're angry or for other reasons you don't fully understand, aggressive behavior in children can be a normal part of your child's development. Typically, if any child receives constant negative consequences for their aggression and learns new skills for improving their behavior, aggression starts subsiding during their preschool years.
But, aggression could sometimes be a symptom of a larger issue. In some situations, parents might require the help of a professional, like a pediatric occupational therapist who will provide the child with occupational therapy.
Obtaining a Pediatric Occupational Therapist’s Help
You'll want to set up an appointment with a pediatric occupational therapist if your child's aggressive behavior is making it hard for them to participate in family, school, or other activities. The therapist can evaluate your child for behavioral or emotional problems or a learning disability that could be setting off the aggressive behavior.
The Therapist’s Role
An occupational therapist can use informal and formal evaluation tools for identifying the motor, sensory, cognitive, and social-emotional factors that might contribute to the aggressive behavior of the child and help the school team come up with positive strategies.
Once they collect information about your child under observational and standardized evaluations, they'll tailor interventions to meet your child's specific needs. The goal will be to increase functional participation and treat and reduce the aggressive behavior. Examples of interventions might include:
- Providing S.I. intervention (calming activities)
- Role play behavioral consequences
- Allowing extra processing time
- Providing small group instruction
- Encouraging downtime and breaks
- Reducing the level of environmental sound/noise
- Sensory Integration and Techniques
- Lifestyle changes
- Schedule Implementation
- Social Participation Interventions
- Coping techniques
Once intervention begins, the pediatric occupational therapist will typically provide treatment in an office setting or in your home in an educational format so you can continue these clinical techniques on your own without the therapist being present.