We live ina world that is increasingly more complex – and that complexity can prove confusing and frightening for those who do not possess the skills to cope with everyday tasks. This includes tasks that require both fine and gross motor skills. Imagine not being able to do up a zipper, open a bottle of ketchup or use a computer mouse.
For kids, the inability to accomplish these tasks can have a devastating impact – and severely affect their quality of life, ability to socialize, or achieve any level of independence – and this can cause severe psychological trauma.
This is why occupational therapy for kids can play such an important role in allowing them to lead a fulfilling life. For many, complete independence may be a step too far – but occupational therapy for kids can help them cope with the everyday stress of just being part of society in the 21st century.
The Occupational Therapist (OT) who will be working with the child will tailor a program specific to the challenges that the patient is facing. The evaluation process may consist of a variety of task-orientated challenges that the child may face during their day to day life.
These can include tasks such as dressing and morning grooming routines (such as brushing teeth and combing hair), throwing and catching (which can help evaluate balance and co-ordination), and organizing a school backpack (which tests the ability to organize and cope with complex tasks and planning). Older children of schoolgoing age may be evaluated in how they hold a pencil or scissors and their skills in using these tools (this helps to gauge the levels of fine motor skills and planning).
Children of schoolgoing age will sometimes also be evaluated on their skills at note-taking, copying, and writing. There are many other tests that might be applied, depending on the specific challenges of the child.
After the evaluation has been completed the OT will develop a program that is specifically tailored to the needs of that child. There will be a variety of exercises and activities which are designed to build skills in a way that is non-threatening and does not overtax the child.
It is recommended that a child begin occupational therapy as soon as possible. The earlier it begins the better th results.
A child who faces challenges related to motor co-ordination benefits immensely from OT. It increases self-confidence and self-esteem and prepares them for the often challenging tasks that are part and parcel of our modern world.