Is your child not progressing the way you expect?
Are they struggling in school or showing behavioral problems?
Have they been diagnosed with a developmental disability, or do you suspect they may have one?
If so, occupational therapy treatment for kids may help.
Read on to find out more about occupational therapy, and how it can help your child live a happier, healthier, more productive life.
Benefits Of Occupational Therapy For Kids
When you think of “occupation”, you might think of it in terms of a professional career. And yes, kids don’t have professional careers yet, but they do have occupations.
Everyone has occupations—from the toddler whose occupations are playing and learning, to the older child whose occupations are being a student and developing the skills to become more independent. When they can do this unencumbered, they’re laying the foundations for becoming successful, happy, and fulfilled adults.
Occupational therapy supports children of all ages by incorporating the daily activities that are important to you and your child into the treatment process. All of these skills are crucial for independent living and success throughout their childhood and into their adult lives.
Occupational therapy treatment for kids is geared toward helping your child achieve their full developmental potential.
Your occupational therapist’s job is to remove as many of your child’s barriers as possible, to help them become the best adult version of themselves they can be.
Some of the areas of focus for occupational therapy for kids include:
- Self regulation
- Behavioral organization and tolerance for transitions
- Gross and fine motor coordination
- Visual motor skills for handwriting and keyboarding skills
- Balance, coordination, core strength, and postural control
- Sensory Processing and regulation
- Organizational skills
- Play and interaction skills
- Self care skills such as dressing and grooming
- Executive functioning, problem solving, direction following and transition skills
- Visual perception
- Upper extremity limited range of motion, strength or grasp
- Feeding problems and help for picky eaters
- Pain management and pacing strategies
Read on to find out more about some of the specific conditions for which occupational therapy can help your child.
Occupational Therapy Treatments For Children With Developmental Disabilities
Does your child have a developmental disability?
If so, this can take a number of different forms, such as:
- Cerebral palsy
- Down syndrome
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Fragile X syndrome
- Vision impairment or Hearing loss
- Intellectual disability
- Learning disabilities
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during a child’s developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime
By working with an occupational therapist, your child can learn the life skills they need to function at their best, both while navigating childhood and into adulthood. Here at New Horizons Wellness Services, some of the areas we may focus on:
• Developing fine motor skills needed for tying shoes, buttoning shirts, and writing
• Self-care tasks like bathing, brushing teeth, getting dressed
• Money management skills
• How to prepare and eat food
• How to navigate the streets safely – recognizing traffic signs, cross walks, etc
• How to use adapted equipment when necessary
Book an appointment at New Horizons Wellness Services today to find out more.
Occupational Therapy Treatments For Kids With Sensory Processing Disorder
For many children, the signs of sensory processing disorder present at a very young age – their parents just don’t recognize them. The brain receives vast amounts of information for each of our senses. As children learn to move their bodies, balance themselves and relate to objects and people around them, the brain organizes the incoming sensory information. This organization called “sensory integration” allows us to direct our attention, to produce useful and well coordinated behavior and to feel good about ourselves.
If your child shows any of the following symptoms, it could be linked with sensory processing disorder:
- Out-of-proportion reactions to touch, sounds, sights, movement, tastes, or smells
- Aversion to light or noise
- Motor skill and body awareness difficulties, including clumsiness
- Poor fine motor skills
- Disliking their clothes
- Disliking being touched
- A low or high threshold for pain
- Dramatic mood swings
- Frequent tantrums
- Irritability or anxiousness
- Poor attention and focus: often “tunes out” or “acts up”
- Uncomfortable or is overstimulated in group settings
These can be frustrating to deal with as a parent, but for a child they can be downright frightening.
Sensory processing disorder is when your child has issues with taking in the information their senses give them about the world around them.
Occupational therapy for children can help.
The good news is that if your child has problems with sensory processing, there’s a lot you can do about it, especially if you work with a knowledgeable occupational therapist. As your occupational therapist enhances your child’s ability to process sensory input, you can build your own understanding of your child’s unique sensory processing patterns.
This will help your child to feel better understood. Occupational therapy can help to bring your home, parenting approaches, and daily activities more in sync with your child’s sensory needs.
Treatment for sensory processing disorder often focuses on retraining your child’s senses, so they can better manage in their daily life. Sensory integration is a highly valued element of our approach but we also emphasize relationships, engagement, parent education, co-regulation and self-regulation.
At New Horizons Wellness Services, our occupational therapists are trained to work with children with sensory processing disorder. This may include:
• Eliciting neurological change through participating in specific sensory based activities
• Creating a “sensory diet” in collaboration with you and your child.
• Increasing sensory modulation through introducing different inputs in a way that allows the child to effectively process
• Recommending environmental supports and adaptations
• Helping parents understand their child’s unique sensory processing patterns
Sensory processing disorder can be frustrating for your child, but occupational therapy can help.
Contact New Horizons Wellness Services today to find out how.
Occupational Therapy Treatments For Kids With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
What we used to consider several different conditions (autism, Asperger’s, etc.) are now all referred to as autism spectrum disorder.
If your child has autism spectrum disorder, they may display the following symptoms:
- Difficulty understanding language or learning to speak
- Difficulty with eye contact
- Flat or monotonous speech or facial expressions
- Hyper-fixation on a single topic of interest
- Difficulty with empathy
- Difficulty understanding nonverbal communications
- Difficulty understanding social cues
- Repetitive movements or phrases
- Spending a lot of time alone
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty carrying a conversation
- Reliance on routine and resistance to change
- Difficulty with coordination
- Rigid thinking patterns
At New Horizons Wellness Services, our occupational therapists have been trained to work with children with autism spectrum disorder.
If you’re not sure whether your child has ASD, we can provide an evaluation to identify if this is an accurate diagnosis.
Whether or not your child has been diagnosed with ASD, if they are demonstrating any of the symptoms above, occupational therapy can help them:
• Increase transition skills
• Develop fine motor coordination and use of their hands
• Build spatial/body awareness needed for maintaining personal space
• Gain independence in toilet training, hygiene, and other activities of daily living
• Develop visual motor ability needed for handwriting skills
• Better interact with their peers/develop social skills
• Gain play and interaction skills
To find out more about how occupational therapy can help your child with ASD, contact New Horizons Wellness Services.
Occupational Therapy Treatments For Kids With ADD/ADHD
Are you concerned that your child may have ADD/ADHD?
If so, an occupational therapist can help.
If you’re not sure whether your child has ADD/ADHD, below you’ll find some common symptoms in children. New Horizons Wellness Services offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluations, which often include occupational therapy as part of the evaluation team. If your child has some of the symptoms below, contact us to set up an appointment:
- They frequently interrupt people
- They have trouble waiting their turn
- They have trouble focusing
- They have trouble finishing tasks
- They’re forgetful
- They have trouble with long-term planning
- They have intense emotional outbursts or temper tantrums
- They have trouble sitting still
- They have trouble playing quietly
- They’re reserved and quiet, spending a lot of time daydreaming
As you can see, some of the above symptoms are mutually exclusive – you can’t be both quiet and loud, for example. ADD/ADHD looks a little different in every child.
However, if your child has symptoms of ADD/ADHD, an occupational therapist can help.
Here at New Horizons Wellness Services, we’ll evaluate how your child’s ADD/ADHD symptoms affect their social life, home life, and their schooling. From there, we’ll address their strengths and weaknesses, and put together a treatment plan designed to accent their strengths while building on their weaknesses.
Depending on your child’s needs, occupational therapy for ADD/ADHD could include addressing:
• Handwriting or keyboarding skills
• Postural control, crossing midline and primitive reflex integration
• Coordination issues
• Social and play skills
• Self regulation skills
• Promoting skills for listening and following directions
• Executive functioning and planning
Contact New Horizons Wellness Services today to find out more.
Occupational Therapy Treatments For Kids With Behavioral Difficulties
Is your child having difficulty in school? Can’t get along with peers when playing? Doesn’t follow directions?
Are they impulsive, unfocused, or seemingly unaware of their surroundings?
Adverse behaviors lead to relationship problems and can present issues for both your child’s safety and their success later in life.
The question of why a child is having behavior problems is complex. Often, parents wonder whether the cause is sensory processing disorder or simply behavior.
With an occupational therapy evaluation, many factors that may be a barrier to a child’s participation are assessed to identify where there are limitations including motor skills, sensory processing, visual perception, self regulation and executive functioning. Children who have behavior problems often do not have the skills that they need to successfully participate in their environments.
Whatever the cause of your child’s behavioral issues, New Horizons Wellness Services can help.
Occupational therapy can help by:
- Identifying what the triggers are for certain behaviors.
- Problem solving options for alternative behaviors and creating a program to help the child use the more effective behavior
- Using models of self regulation to help the child gain insight into what is happening in their bodies as they experience different emotions.
- Providing caregiver training so that families can use the models of self regulation at home, school or in the community
- Providing positive reinforcement
- Determine what types of breaks are beneficial for the child to take and help them to become independent in taking a break when needed
- Helping your child build their visual memory and decision making skills
- Helping your child with daily planning through checklists, planners/organizers, and rehearsing tasks
- Gaining self advocacy skills including asking for help when needed
- Strengthening their executive functioning skills
Your child’s behavioral issues can be difficult for both your child and you, but it doesn’t have to be that way. New Horizons Wellness Services can help.
Contact us today to find out more.
Pediatric Occupational Therapy For Other Conditions
If your child has been diagnosed with any of the following conditions, it can affect the way they behave and grow, their overall mental health, and how they’re able to complete their necessary activities of daily living:
- Oppositional defiant disorder
- Chronic pain
- Digestive disorders
- Endocrine/hormone disorders
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Arm or hand injuries
- Neurological disorders
- Chromosomal disorders
- Executive function disorders
Each of them has its own list of functional limitations associated with it. Your occupational therapist can provide treatment for these functional limitations, helping you live a happier, healthier life.
Why Choose New Horizons Wellness Services?
If you’re considering occupational therapy services for your child, there are many options available. So why choose New Horizons Wellness Services?
Our therapists work from an integrative model that draws from many different evidence-based approaches. We tailor our approach and design an individualized treatment plan to meet the unique needs of our clients by focusing treatment around purposeful activities. We focus on play to make change happen.
During play, your occupational therapist will help your child learn to share, to take turns, to wait for a turn, and be a good sport.
Evidence shows that the earlier you intervene in working to increase functional skills, the more effective the intervention can be.
As a result, if your child is having challenges with daily activities, it’s a good idea for your child to seek out occupational therapy services as early as possible.
When you contact us to book an appointment, you won’t have to wait several months to receive treatment. We do not have waiting lists so your child can get the help they need as soon as possible.
We’ve also deliberately designed our space with special needs children in mind. If your child is easily stimulated, they’ll find the New Horizons Wellness Services clinic to be a soothing, relaxing environment where they can focus on meeting individual treatment goals.
We provide support for parents as well. After all, while we provide treatment to your child, it’s you who will spend the most time with them. We’ll help you with how to create effective home programs and encourage their development, all while staying centered yourself.
If your child is struggling, it can be frightening. You might have all sorts of thoughts going through your head and you may be worrying about their future.
However, there is hope.
At New Horizons Wellness Services, your occupational therapist will work with you to give you the tools you need to help your child.
Whatever the issue, New Horizons Wellness Services will be with you every step of the way to give your child the skills needed for a full and productive life.
Book An Appointment With New Horizons Wellness Services
Regardless of whether your child has already received a diagnosis from your doctor, occupational therapy treatments can go a long way toward helping them better make sense of and interact with the world around them.
Book an appointment today, and find out how occupational therapy can help your child live a healthier, happier, more fulfilled life.