If a child cannot learn the way I teach, then I must teach the way he learns.
--Anna Gillingham, educator and psychologist

Monday, July 10, 2017

Could My Child Benefit from Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapists can help families with a variety of challenges. Take a look at the list below for some signs your child might benefit from occupational therapy. Remember to always consult your pediatrician with any concerns you have about your child.

Does your child demonstrate any of the following:

Motor Skills
  • Developmental delay (not reaching developmental milestones of sitting, crawling, and walking and/or not developing age appropriate play and social skills)
  • Difficulty with manipulating toys, puzzles, feeding utensils, or scissors
  • Difficulties with pencil grasp or handwriting
  • Difficulties with clothing fasteners (zippers, buttons, shoelaces)
  • Not developing a hand dominance
  • Difficulties with coloring, drawing, tracing, pre-writing shapes
  • Clumsy or uncoordinated movements and poor balance
  • Difficulty going up and down stairs at an age appropriate time
  • Difficulty with the concept of right and left
  • Poor ball skills
  • Low or high muscle tone
  • Poor posture while sitting or standing
  • Difficulty coordinating both sides of the body
  • Doesn't cross midline of body during play and school tasks

Visual Processing
  • Difficulty with the spacing, placement, and sizing of letters
  • Difficulty recognizing letters
  • Loses his/her place when reading or copying from the board
  • Difficulty with copying shapes, letters, words, or sentences
  • Difficulty with visual tracking
  • Difficulty finding objects among other objects

Oral Motor/Oral Sensory
  • Drools excessively
  • Difficulty using a cup or straw at an age-appropriate time
  • Loses excessive liquid or food from his or her mouth when drinking or chewing
  • Appears to be excessively picky when eating, only eating certain types or textures of food
  • Excessively mouths toys or objects beyond an age-appropriate time

Sensory Processing
  • Overly sensitive to sound, touch, or movement
  • Under-responsive to certain sensations (e.g., high pain tolerance, doesn't notice cuts/bruises)
  • Constantly moving, jumping, crashing, bumping
  • Easily distracted by visual or auditory stimuli
  • Emotionally reactive
  • Difficulty coping with change
  • Inability to calm self when upset

Learning Challenges
  • Unable to concentrate and focus at school
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty following instructions and completing work
  • Poor impulse control
  • Hyperactivity or low energy
  • Makes letter or number reversals after age seven

Play Skills
  • Needs adult guidance to initiate play
  • Difficulty with imitative play
  • Moves quickly from one activity to the next
  • Does not join in with peers/siblings when playing
  • Does not understand concepts of sharing and turn taking

If you notice one or more of these signs in your own child, consider making an appointment to discuss it with your pediatrician. You can also participate in an OT screening, which will indicate whether there is a need for a full OT evaluation, at Laughlin Children's Center without a doctor's prescription by calling 412-741-4087.

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