young boy attending an occupational therapy

Occupational therapy for children is a branch of medicine which deals with people of all ages who have sensory, physical or cognitive problems. OT can be very beneficial, as it helps them regain independence, and look after themselves.

Kids who suffer from sensory, physical or cognitive problems can often times feel alone, and distance themselves from situations that help kids grow and are normal to experience.

Occupational therapy for children is used to help kids overcome these barriers that can affect their development. These barriers can often limit them in the performance of basic functional life skills. This is why it is important to help develop and manage these skills at an early age.

Does your kid need OT? How can it benefit them? Find out here.

Who is occupational therapy for children for?

Occupational therapy for children is for kids who have physical, sensory or cognitive problems that may prevent them from developing or engaging in activities which are vital to their social, emotional and physical development. These kids may have a hard time playing with other kids, engaging with them socially, their school performance might be lacking or starting to degrade and they may have low self-esteem. Occupation therapy is for children who may have sensory processing disorders, birth defects, traumatic injuries to the brain or spinal cord, autism, learning problems, mental health or behavioural problems, cancer and more.

How can occupational therapy for children help?

little girl and an occupational therapist for children

Occupational therapy for children can help with kids in certain situations caused by specific disorders. With OT, the aim is to help kids to develop motor skills in order to grab and release objects, and develop fine handwriting and computer skills. In addition to this, more hand-eye coordination skills are to be developed such that they can progress through school. Furthermore, basic life skills are also developed such as brushing of teeth, getting dressed and feeding. OT also focuses on learning social skills and behaviour that is socially acceptable from an early age, by observing and managing how they deal with frustration and anger. Occupational therapy for children overall teaches and develops life and social skills that will be beneficial to them, and will create a long lasting impact on their life. These particular skills are very important in life, so much so that it is crucial these skills are developed regardless of any barriers they may encounter.

How does physical and occupational therapy for children differ?

Physical development both do aim to improve kid’s lives, however there are some differences. Physical aims to help with pain, endurance, joint range of motion, strength as well gross-motor skills. Occupational therapy for children aims to help with more basic skills to do with the basics of life, including fine-motor skills such as grasping and releasing objects, visual-perceptual skills, sensory-processing problems, cognitive skills.

The primary difference between the two would be that physical focuses on main focus is to do with gross-motor function, which is larger bodies of muscle working together to achieve something, whereas OT focuses on fine-motor skills to do with performing tasks that are meaningful to them.

In summary, occupational therapy for children is used to help kids with physical, sensory or cognitive disorders to develop and manage fine-motor skills in order to perform life’s basic functions, as well as visual-perceptual skills, social skills, sensory-processing skills and cognitive skills. These are skills which are required to function in life, and may act as barriers in their development. Therefore, it is vital for these skills to be developed and managed despite their barriers, in order for them to live a healthy and functional life.

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