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Why Would a Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Feb 26th, 2024 | by Wendy Stroda, OTR/L, CTRS

Wendy Stroda, OTR/L, CTRS

February 26th, 2024

Paediatric occupational therapy can be a great benefit to children who have physical, sensory, cognitive, and/or developmental disabilities. In this blog, NAPA OT Wendy is here to discuss what paediatric occupational therapy entails, how it can help your child, and the expected timeline for improvement.

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a field that approaches the whole person and works on overall function for improvement and independence in all areas of life. The American Occupational Therapy Association defines it simply as “Occupational therapy enables people of all ages to participate in daily living.”

Occupational therapy will help your child have improved overall function and independence during their daily tasks.

How Can Occupational Therapy Help My Child?

As a paediatric occupational therapist, I believe occupational therapy can be beneficial for most people at any stage in life. Occupational therapy will help your child have improved overall function and independence during their daily tasks. This can mean improved balance, increased independence with feeding, increased safety awareness, independence during dressing, improved hand function for handwritten tasks, etc.

Why Would a Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Used for all age groups, occupational therapy (OT) aims to bring individuals to their full capabilities, whether it is short-term therapy, weekly sessions, or an intensive therapy approach.

You may have a child or loved one who was referred to paediatric occupational therapy for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
  • Delay in fine motor skill development
  • Difficulties maintaining self-regulation (ability to keep a calm, attentive, and engaged demeanor)
  • Difficulty with feeding: Occupational therapists can work on helping your child develop the oral-motor skills they need to chew and swallow safely with good coordination
  • Difficulties with self-help skills: Occupational therapists can help your child with being able to brush their teeth and dress themselves

Related Reading: 3 Benefits of Occupational Therapy You May Not Know About

Additionally, occupational therapy may benefit children with various diagnoses, including but not limited to:

Scheduling an Occupational Therapy Evaluation for Your Child

Scheduling an occupational therapy evaluation is so important. An OT can help answer questions you might have during the evaluation process and assist you with the right path to take, whether it be in the form of weekly services, intensive therapies, home-based intervention, school services, or a comprehensive home program.

What Age Is Best to Start Occupational Therapy?

There is no age limit for starting occupational therapy services. Children from birth to adulthood can benefit from interventions. Some children may not show signs early on; it’s okay if your child is older and you feel he/she needs services. As soon as you have a concern, contact a local clinic to schedule an appointment for an occupational therapy evaluation. An OT can perform testing to help identify what needs your child has and the best ways to assist your child, and you.

When Will I See Improvement?

Improvement is based on the individual and what goals you make with your team. There is not a set timeline, but often therapists work on creating measurable and reachable goals within 3-6 month timelines. A therapist will create meaningful goals for your child using input received from testing, clinical observations, and information provided by you as a parent or caregiver.

Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy? Where to Begin?

If you feel your child needs occupational therapy services, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local clinic to schedule an evaluation. If you are local to a NAPA Centre clinic, we invite you to get in touch to schedule a free 30-minute screening with one of our therapists.

About the Author

Wendy Stroda is a paediatric occupational therapist at NAPA Austin. In her free time, she likes to explore nature with her two kids, and husband, as well as go on daily runs.

About NAPA Centre

NAPA Centre provides weekly and intensive paediatric therapy sessions tailored to your child’s unique needs. We offer a multidisciplinary approach integrating physio, occupational, speech and feeding therapy. With clinics throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, we aim to bring hope to families worldwide by providing access to the best and most innovative therapies all under one roof.

TAGS: Blogs, OT
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