Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

needOT
Image via Katie Hurley

 

Occupational therapy helps kids with a range of developmental difficulties and can help improve self-esteem and self-confidence along the way.

It seems as if the minute kids enter preschool, things like pencil grip and the use of scissors seem super important. When kids lag in some areas of development, parents naturally begin to wonder if a child needs extra help to catch up. I remember having those thoughts. Fortunately, the teacher gave me a few exercises to practice at home, and my concerns about pencil grip and handwriting became a thing of the past.

It's important to remember that all kids are different, and child development exists on a continuum. Some kids have excellent fine motor skills but need work on gross motor skills. Some kids have advanced language at an early age but show zero interest in learning colors and numbers. Take a deep breath, rely on play, and be patient. You don't need to run to a professional the moment your child shows an area of weakness.

There are, however, times when children benefit from professional help. Occupational therapy helps kids with a range of developmental difficulties and can help improve self-esteem and self-confidence along the way.

What is occupational therapy?

Commonly referred to as OT, occupational therapy uses a variety of strategies and activities to help with self-care, fine motor skills, sensory issues, academic struggles, social skills, and emotional issues. While a child doesn't need a specific diagnosis to benefit from OT, it can be particularly helpful for children diagnosed with ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, and sensory integration disorder.

{ MORE: Living in an Era of Disrespect: Are We Raising Our Kids the Right Way? }

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Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

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