Occupational therapy for children has often been met with many misconceptions. This is primarily because many people do not understand what is occupational therapy for children and how children benefit from it.
Occupation therapy helps children enhance their skills and achieve developmental gains that were previously missed. The aim is to help children experiencing challenges to have as normal a life as possible.
One of the factors that feed the misconception is the fact that children are different. Some have needs that are unique to them. Fortunately, occupation therapy for children sees children as individuals with specific needs. Even children who share similar challenges may require different types of occupation therapies.
Therapy to help children process their senses
Children with sensory processing disorder have trouble processing the information sent by their sense. They struggle to identify their feelings, what they see, touch, taste, and smell. Children on the autism spectrum are most in need of this type of occupational therapy because they are overly sensitive.
For example, some children reject some foods because of the way they smell or taste. Others struggle performing tasks, such as holding a pencil. Occupational therapy helps children to have a better understanding of the senses and how they work.
Therapy for children with a physical disability
While children in wheelchairs require physical therapy, occupational therapy for children is equally important. Occupational therapists help these children to learn their capabilities and limitations. Even though they are in their wheelchairs, therapists aim to show these children their potential.
Instead of giving up and letting the children’s muscles wear out, the therapist engages the children and show them that they can strengthen their fine and gross motor skills. They can learn to write and even kick a ball.
Once they understand that even with limitations, they can still lead a fulfilling life, children with a physical disability will strive to meet their potential.
Therapy for skill development
Children are naturally curious. They often attempt to perform one task after another. Unfortunately, sometimes they may not have the right skill set to help them perform some of the tasks. It is not usually that a child is missing the right skills, but the failure to adjust to some of the skills he has learnt.
Occupational therapy helps children cope with the new skills that they have learnt. Learning too many skills too quickly often leaves children overwhelmed.
An occupational therapist will help them classify the skill sets, so they can easily identify the skills to use depending on the task they are performing.
All children can benefit from occupational therapy. They don’t even have to be behind in meeting developmental milestones. For children, occupational therapy is enjoyable. They often see it as play, and this is why children respond quickly to occupational therapy. Children who are behind in their development often catch up and even surpass their peers.
There is much to be gained from occupational therapy for children. Parents and teachers must seek help for children most in need of therapy early. Most of the therapies work irrespective of the child’s age. However, early intervention is more effective.