Occupational Therapy: What It Does and How It Helps Children

Amisha Gandhi

2 November 2021

Occupational therapy involves patients participating in daily activities that an individual has to do, wants to do, or needs to do. Essentially, an occupational therapist assists people to accomplish their daily activities. They help address the needs of any age group, from children to adults.

Occupational Therapists Help Children Work on Developing Essential Skills

Motor Skills

This aspect involves fine motor skills (drawing, doing buttons, cutting, etc.) and gross motor skills (jumping, running, hopping, and balancing).

Self-Care Skills

This includes relieving themselves in the toilet, eating, dressing, and watching after their belongings.

Social and Play Skills

This includes the ability to wait, solve problems, share, negotiate, and more.

Sensory Skills

This involves regulating information, such as vision, movement, pressure, sound, taste, smell, and touch.

Equipment Usage

An occupational therapist can assist children with the usage of wheelchairs, ramps, and rails.

What Are the Signs That My Child Needs Occupational Therapy?

Many signs could indicate a child’s need for occupational therapy. Some of these include:

  1. Having difficulty cutting, colouring, and holding cutlery
  2. Having messy handwriting
  3. Exhibiting difficult behaviour
  4. Becoming easily overwhelmed in certain situations
  5. Having difficulty dressing or using the toilet
  6. Difficulty copying from a blackboard and completing puzzles
  7. Struggling to participate in playground games and sports
  8. Struggling to concentrate or follow instructions
  9. Exhibiting excessive movement and fidgeting
  10. Having difficulty making friends
  11. Showing reduced confidence, anxiety, and avoidance of activities

What Happens During an Occupational Therapy Session?

One of the best methods utilised by occupational therapists who work on children is the play-based approach. With this method, the practitioners use age-appropriate toys and games aligned with the child’s interests, helping them hone their skills in the process. By doing so, the occupational therapist can keep your child motivated as they develop new skills. They are also more likely to remember what they have learned.

Children who undergo occupational therapy should still practice what they have learned even after their sessions. The best way to do so is by having parents, carers, and educators encourage these habits until the goals for the child are met.

How Can Parents Help Their Children?

Play Often With Your Child

Although this may seem like a given, some parents struggle with interacting and playing with their children. As a parent, you are your child’s most important teacher as they develop fundamental skills. By engaging them in conversation, reading stories, and playing games, you can help your child improve day by day.

Be Patient

Being patient with children can be difficult, but it is a must if you want them to learn. For example, dinner time can be a messy affair, but it can also be an excellent time for sensory food play and fine motor development. Just remain calm and patient during the process, even if it can end up getting messy.

Ask for Help 

It has been established that you are your child’s most important teacher, but it is also crucial for you to ask for help when needed. After all, it is perfectly normal for you to have concerns about your child’s development. During these moments, professional advice is a must. You can consult a paediatric occupational therapist at Cloud Nine Therapy in Blacktown if you would need help from an expert.


Occupational therapy is highly beneficial for growing children who exhibit difficulties in their daily activities. By pairing assistance from both the parents and specialists, children can develop their basic skills and successfully do tasks they once found difficult.

At Cloud Nine Therapy Services, we offer paediatric occupational therapy in Blacktown and surrounding areas. We are passionate about helping children reach their potential through effective age-appropriate therapy. If you are interested in our services, contact us today.