Introduction: Many people are familiar with occupational therapy (OT) for adults, but did you know that OT can be incredibly beneficial for kids as well? OT is a type of therapy that helps people of all ages to develop the skills they need to live as independently as possible. For kids, this means helping them to develop the fine motor, gross motor, and sensory processing skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Here are just a few of the many benefits of OT for kids.
Fine Motor Skills
One of the main goals of OT for kids is to help them develop the fine motor skills they need to perform everyday tasks such as writing, cutting with scissors, and using a fork and spoon. OTs achieve this goal by working on activities that improve dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and grasp. For example, an OT might have a child practice stringing beads or cutting through playdough to help improvefine motor skills.
Gross Motor Skills
In addition to improving fine motor skills, OTs also work on gross motor skills such as balance, coordination, and stamina. These are important because they allow kids to participate in daily activities and playtime without getting tired too easily or being at risk for injury. Balance exercises might include walking on a beam or standing on one foot while coordinativexercises could involve hopping forward or catching a ball. Activities to improve stamina might involve swimming or riding a bike.
Sensory Processing Skills
Another important focus of OT is helping kids to develop strong sensory processing skills. Sensory processing refers to the way our brains take in, organize, and respond to information from our senses. Some kids have difficulty processing certain types of sensory information which can make everyday activities such as going to the grocery store or getting a haircut quite challenging. An OT can help by working on activities that desensitize kids to certain smells, textures, sounds, etc., or by teaching coping mechanisms for when sensory overload does occur.
If your child is struggling in school or having trouble participating in everyday activities due to fine motor, gross motor, or sensory processing issues, occupational therapy may be able to help. Occupational therapy is a type of therapy that helps people of all ages develop the skills they need to live independently. For kids specifically, this means helping them to develop fine motor skills (such as writing), gross motor skills (such as balance), and sensory processing skills (such as being able to tolerate loud noises). If you think your child could benefit from occupational therapy services, talk to your doctor or another healthcare professional today.