Occupational therapy for children plays an important role in helping kids achieve their maximum level of independence and function. Skilled therapists who have the knowledge, tools, and expertise to diagnose your child's condition can help you determine the type of program that can truly help them function well in their home, school, and social environments. Occupational therapy does not only deal with basic and practical life skills, but with other aspects of the child's well-being, too, such as his or her cognitive, visual, motor, and social skills.
Babies, toddlers, and very young and older children can receive occupational therapy services. A correct and accurate assessment of the child's condition is important to address every aspect of their disorder. Because 'tasks' of children in different age levels vary—for example, the tasks that babies have to perform are very different from the work and leisure tasks that school aged children need to participate in, different approaches must be applied to effectively perform therapy.
The key is to find an occupational therapy service that offers a holistic approach to help address multiple facets of your child's sensory, motor, cognitive, and behavioral difficulties. Occupational therapy works to help kids develop the most basic underlying skills that are necessary for learning as well as performing specific tasks, while also addressing behavior and social skills. It helps a child develop self-concept, self-esteem, and self-confidence, in addition to aiding in the development of their basic sensory awareness, motor skills, and learning skills to form healthy behaviors. Occupational therapy can improve:
- Body awareness or proprioceptive sense
- Movement coordination between the two sides of the body
- Motor control and organization, planning, and coordination
- Gross and fine motor coordination
- Visual perceptual skills
- Fine Motor skills, including handwriting, cutting and coloring
- Sensory modulation