Children develop at different rates and some toddlers have delays in achieving their milestones.
If you are concerned about your child’s achievement of generally accepted milestones, e.g. sitting up, rolling, crawling, walking, smiling or making eye contact, an assessment from an Occupational Therapist can significantly improve your child’s development through the use of practical strategies that can be implemented at home.
Sensory Processing refers to our body’s ability to detect, interpret and respond to information in our environment, ideally in a timely and appropriate manner. Children with sensory processing difficulties may respond too much, too little, too soon or too late to information.
They may have difficulty filtering out background/everyday sensory information or may process harmless information as a potential threat. Their fear of sensations may affect their ability to engage in everyday tasks, e.g. brush their teeth or get their hair cut.
Occupational Therapists are specialists in identifying a child’s main difficulties with sensory processing difficulties. This involves detailed assessments and the provision of programmes and education on strategies for parents and carers.
Difficulties in this area include struggling to complete intricate activities with our hands, e.g. do/undo buttons, zips and laces, hold cutlery properly, write neatly, use a scissors or manipulate toys.
Fine motor difficulties can lead to children needing more help at home and at school and being slow to complete everyday tasks. An Occupational Therapist can assess your child’s difficulties and offer intervention to progress your child’s skills.
Children with gross motor difficulties struggle to move fluidly and in a co-ordinated manner. They may use too much or too little force, they may bump into people and objects, may drop items and, over time, may start to avoid movement experiences. They may have difficulty riding a bike, swimming or participating in team sports. Through play and fun activities, the Occupational Therapist can assess your child’s performance in this area and recommend an intervention to address these difficulties.
Handwriting is a complex skill and there can be many reasons for handwriting difficulties. A handwriting assessment evaluates a child’s pencil grasp, pencil control, body posture, letter formation/spacing/alignment, handwriting speed and visual processing skills, all of which can affect handwriting quality and speed. The Occupational Therapist will assess your child’s handwriting difficulties, provide interventions to address these difficulties, monitor your child’s handwriting over time and recommend alternative methods of recording, e.g. assistive technology.
Occupational Therapists help children and young adults develop and refine the necessary skills for independent living, e.g. dressing, grooming, maintaining personal hygiene, eating, participating in leisure activities, managing money and organising self/belongings. An Occupational Therapist can look at adaptive strategies to help your child develop and improve their skills in this area.
Toileting independently is a challenging life skill for children to learn and master and can be especially difficult for children who have functional delays or disabilities. If you find your child is struggling to indicate when they are wet/dry or you feel they are regressing, input in this area is essential for parents. The Occupational Therapist can analyse your child’s current skills and provide you with a detailed plan to move forward.