Occupational therapy is not only for adults; practitioners in this profession assist people in all phases of life. Children can often benefit from it just as much or even more than adults. Children with a disability or other type of condition that causes developmental delays will follow a treatment plan designed to fit their distinct needs. Occupational therapy for kids begins with the occupational therapists evaluating the child to determine the areas that need the most assistance. Then, these professionals form a treatment plan that will place the child on the road to optimal functioning. The goal is to help the child be as functional and independent as possible.
Physical, Sensory, or Cognitive Disability
The brain develops rapidly, and a child’s first three years are critical for brain development. This is when children strive toward critical developmental milestones, the attainment of which will determine how they will function in daily life. When they don’t hit these milestones, they may fall behind their peers, requiring extra assistance in closing the achievement gap between them and their classmates. This may call for physical, sensory, or cognitive therapy, singly or in combination.
- Pediatric occupational physical therapy in Greenly, CO, includes having children practice gross motor skills (i.e., movement of the larger muscles in arms and legs) essential for locomotion and stability in skills like crawling, walking, and catching a ball. It also challenges youngsters to perform the fine motor skills (i.e., movement of small muscles in the fingers and forearms), which are essential for everyday activities like buttoning or zipping clothes, tying shoelaces, or writing with a pencil. When these skills are not fully developed, daily life for the child can become a struggle. Routine can become such a challenge that rising above it at home and school aren’t possible.
- Sensory therapy involves the child using the five senses (sight, hear, smell, taste and touch) to accurately synthesize information from the environment. Sensory processing problems can show themselves as oversensitivity and/or under-sensitivity to environmental cues. These issues can distract children from aspects critical to their long-term success, such as listening to instructions or completing schoolwork.
- Cognitive therapy is suitable for children having problems with sensory processing disorder generally and autism, specifically. Attending both of these struggles are difficulties interacting with people and staying aware of subtle cues that arise during work and play. This type of therapy often includes doing puzzles, working on communication skills, paying attention and developing physical coordination.
Improve School Performance and Daily Activities
Occupational therapy can enable children to gain more independence in routine daily life activities like dressing themselves, brushing their teeth and eating with utensils. With the help of pediatric occupational therapy, children can improve their school performance and daily activities that people often take for granted, such as holding a pencil correctly, using scissors to cut paper, catching a ball, or walking over an uneven surface. Children can also improve academic performance by learning to better focus and organize.
Physical therapy for lower back pain and other pain management issues for adults is also great for assisting children with developmental delays. The simplest of exercises performed over time can make a world of difference to a child’s development and overall success in life.