Does Your Child Need Pediatric Occupational Therapy? Here Are Some Signs

Amisha Gandhi

6 May 2022

Occupational therapy can be very helpful to children with cognitive, motor, physical, and speech delays. Paediatric occupational therapy can be help kids learn how to perform their daily tasks at home, in their school, or in the community. 

Paediatric occupational therapists aim for children and teens with disabilities, conditions, injuries, or illnesses to function and live independently through therapeutic interventions. 

But how do you know that your child needs occupational therapy? Here are five telltale signs:

Your Child Tends to Avoid Certain Textures Even in Food

A parent may notice that their child is avoiding certain foods, textures, or even clothes because they’re simply uncomfortable. 

For example, if your child is refusing to eat his vegetables because he finds them hard to chew, then he may have a lot of difficulty chewing and would be a great candidate for paediatric occupational therapy. Not only will occupational therapy help your child with his or her ability to chew, but it will also work on other fine motor skills and hand-eye control. This is particularly helpful for children with cerebral palsy, or who have had a stroke.

They Need Assistance with Most Fine Motor Activities

If your child can’t zip up their coat or your child’s winter boots are never zipped up correctly, then that’s another example of a child who may need paediatric occupational therapy. The same goes if your child has difficulty holding their spoon and fork unassisted. The occupational therapist will work on hand-eye coordination, but also on the control of the trunk and shoulders, which help hold the body in the correct posture.

They Avoid Eye Contact 

Eye contact is one of the most important nonverbal forms of communication. If your child is unable to make eye contact, then it may be because they have difficulty tracking or focusing on an object. This can be a sign of cognitive impairment. Children with cognitive delay, autism spectrum disorders, or intellectual disabilities may also avoid eye contact.

They Have Difficulty in School

If your child is having a lot of trouble in school, it may be because they’re not being given the tools they need to succeed. If they’re unable to learn in the classroom, they may be referred to an occupational therapist by their teacher. The occupational therapist will then work on those specific skills that are affecting their ability to learn in a classroom setting.

They Have Difficulty Calming Down and Controlling Their Emotions

If your child is frequently upset and has a hard time calming down, they may be experiencing sensory overload. This happens from overstimulation from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin. It can also happen from a lack of sensory input.

In this case, the paediatric occupational therapist will work on calming down strategies for your child. They will also help them to regulate their emotions and learn how to calm themselves down in a stress-free environment.

Conclusion

If you notice any of the red flags listed above, then you should bring your child to see a developmental paediatrician. They will properly diagnose the condition, and then refer your child to a paediatric occupational therapist. Not all children need occupational therapy, but if your child is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, then occupational therapy is a great place to start.

Cloud Nine Therapy Services offer paediatric occupational therapy in Blacktown. Our team of experts is one of the best you’ll find in the country, so you can be sure your child is in good hands. Find out what makes us the top paediatric occupational therapy centre in Sydney today!