CARE Occupational Therapy Blog

Top 5 ways occupational therapy can help kids

POSTED: May 5, 2017

By Jordan McMaster, M.S., OTR/L

Occupational therapy (OT) is a broad profession; an occupational therapist work with anyone from babies to older adults. OTs promote independence within “occupations” or daily activities.  When working with kids, some of the focus includes playing, learning, self-care, etc. Below are the top 5 ways occupational therapists can help kids of all ages:

  1. Developmental Milestones: OTs can help kids at any age achieve developmental milestones. Sometimes the occupational therapist’s role is to introduce novelty tummy time activities to make strengthen muscles and make it more tolerable, or help a kid develop an age appropriate grasp. Both of these activities can include some fun songs, tools and games along the way!
  2. Sensory Processing: Kids of all ages respond differently to the stimuli provided by everyday activities. Some kids over respond to stimuli, under respond to stimuli, and some kids seek out/crave texture, noise, tastes movements, sounds, etc. It is normal for kids to react differently to sensory stimuli. An OT can step in and help with regulation when it starts to affect their participation in daily activities.
  3. Self-Care skills: OTs are the go to professional for helping a kid increase their independence with self-care activities (dressing, grooming, feeding, etc.) We can provide tips and tricks based upon each kids’ abilities so they can be successful. Whether it is providing instructions in a new way, using a different technique or strengthening the muscles needed to complete the task, we can help!
  4. Picky Eating: Do you know a kid who loves crunchy textures? How about a kid who only likes smooth textures? Sometimes an OT can step in and decipher the root of these eating habits. Maybe a kid is seeking sensory input from the crunchy food, or avoiding it by eating soft foods.  Once we find out the cause of the issue, OTs can step in to help expand a kid’s diet.
  5. Handwriting: If a kid is a “sloppy” writer, is there a deeper issue that the OT can address? Is it poor motor control, decreased hand strength, or limitations with visual motor integration? These skills are so important for legible handwriting! An OT will develop a plan and work on the skills necessary in improve handwriting.

OTs are here to help you and your family! We will work with each kid to encourage development of skills that are needed to participate in everyday activities!