Occupational Therapists help children take part in their lives to the best of their ability. For most children this includes play, school and self-care. In order for a child to take part in these activities, they require concentration, motor and perceptual skills and focus. Our Occupational Therapist works with supporting difficulties in the area of:
- Gross Motor Skills, Balance and Coordination
- Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting
- Motor Planning and Organisation
- Self-Care Skills
- Sensory Processing
Gross Motor Skills, Balance and Coordination
Gross motor skills, balance and coordination are a prerequisite for children’s progress at school, as well as for their play and independence. Difficulty with these skills is often the cause of clumsy or uncoordinated movement, leading to problems with everyday tasks such as dressing, running, or riding a bicycle.
Childhood development is complex and not all children will move at the same pace, but some of the most common reasons that a parent will contact us with concerns about their child’s gross motor skills, balance and/or coordination include:
- Lateness in reaching developmental milestones such as sitting up, walking or running
- Awkward or clumsy movements, possibly associated with a higher risk of accident
- Dislike or avoidance of physical activity and games
- Rapid tiredness after participating in physical activities for only a short period
- Slumped, head-in-hands posture when sitting doing table top activities
- Difficulty in completing activities involving sequences of physical movements, such as an obstacle course or hop-scotch
Book an initial meeting to discuss OT Support for Gross Motor Skills, Balance and Coordination for your child here.
Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting
Fine motor skills guide the small movements of the hand and fingers that allow a child to write and draw, as well as manipulate buttons, zips, or scissors. When these skills are under-developed, the results can include reduced independence, school performance, and self-confidence. A child struggling with handwriting may soon become frustrated and lose motivation.
Childhood development is complex and not all children will move at the same pace, but some of the most common reasons that a parent will contact us with concerns about their child’s fine motor skills include:
- An awkward or immature pencil grasp
- Messy or slow writing, drawing or colouring
- Excessive tiredness after short periods of writing, drawing or typing
- Difficulty when using scissors or performing precise manipulations such as fastening buttons, zips, or shoelaces
- Problems performing self-care tasks independently
- Reluctance to engage with tasks requiring hand-eye coordination such as building Lego
- Difficulty remembering how to form letters or in copying from the board
- Poor spacing and positioning of letters and words
- Discomfort in gripping a pencil for any length of time
- An unwillingness to complete written homework
Book an initial meeting to discuss OT Support for Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting for your child here.
Motor Planning and Organisation
Successful organisation is achieved when a child can simultaneously arrange their body and their environment, for example by sitting correctly on a chair and arranging their books and pens on a table in front of them. Tasks like this require advanced motor planning and sequencing skills to work together. A child struggling with organisation may often lose things and appear generally disorganised, which can set back their confidence as well as inhibit their engagement in everyday tasks.
Childhood development is complex and not all children will move at the same pace, but some of the most common reasons that a parent will contact us with concerns about their child’s orgnaisation skills include:
- Slowness at getting ready, for example before sport class
- Need for repeated instructions or reminders in order to complete simple tasks
- Frequently losing personal items
- Difficulties in concentrating and avoiding distraction
Book an initial meeting to discuss OT Support for Motor Planning and Organisation your child here.
Learning to perform basic self-care tasks such as dressing, teeth cleaning and using cutlery are important milestones on your child’s journey towards independence. Self-care skills can also be known as Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) or Adaptive Skills.
Childhood development is complex and not all children will move at the same pace, but some of the most common reasons that a parent will contact us with concerns about their child’s self-care skills include:
- Avoidance of certain tasks
- Changes in behaviour at certain times of the day such as bath-time
- Difficulty using cutlery, chopsticks or other basic tools
- Problems with dressing, especially with buttons or zips
- Over-reliance on adults, siblings or friends
Book an initial meeting to discuss OT Support for Self-Care Skills for your child here.
How a child processes and responds to sensory information – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – can be reflected in their emotional reactions. Most children process sensory input from the world around them easily to produce normal behavioural responses. It is when this information is not processed or ‘integrated’ correctly that a child’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities can be affected. Some children may find everyday activities such as dressing themselves, overwhelming and distressing because of difficulties with processing their sensory inputs.
Childhood development is complex and not all children will move at the same pace, but some of the most common reasons that a parent will contact us with concerns about their child’s sensory processing include:
- Tactile difficulties (touch): These may be displayed through an aversion to sticky or dirty hands, not wanting to wear shoes or socks, finding clothes itchy, an interest in touching certain surfaces or fabrics, not liking having their hair washed or brushed, or not liking textured food, resulting in a fussy or picky eater.
- Proprioceptive difficulties (where they are in space): This may present itself through your child seeking out heavy items to cuddle up under such as heavy clothing or furnishings. They may appear fidgety in class and constantly moving to seek input.
- Vestibular difficulties (movement): They may avoid movement such as spinning or swinging or have a fear of heights, or they may be completely opposite to this and crave sensations and engage in these activities at every opportunity.
- Auditory difficulties (hearing): This includes an over sensitivity to loud noises, for example in the playground or shopping centre. Children who are under-responsive to auditory input may appear to have a lack of attention to what is happening around them and may not respond when their name is called.
Our Occupational Therapist can help identify how your child is processing and responding to sensory information. Once the areas of difficulty are established, strategies and techniques are implemented to address them. The goal of Occupational Therapy is to foster appropriate responses to sensation in an active, meaningful and fun way.
Book an initial meeting to discuss OT Support for Sensory Processing for your child here.