9 Benefits to Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Improves Gross motor skills

Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body. These muscles are important for crawling, walking, jumping, climbing, and running. Occupational therapists can teach your child exercises to improve postural stability, strength, endurance, and balance.

Refines Fine motor skills

Fine motor skills require use of the smaller muscles in the hands and fingers. These skills are important for eating, dressing, playing, handwriting, and other school-related tasks. Occupational therapy can help children refine and enhance fine motor skills like precision, accuracy, hand manipulation, pencil grasp, etc. to increase success and independence with these important tasks they participate in within their day.

Increases independence with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

ADLs are self-care activities such activities are feeding, dressing, bathing, and grooming. An occupational therapist can help promote independence of ADLs by improving a child’s self-care skills to help them accomplish these tasks more easily.

Addresses sensory processing difficulties

Sensory processing is the way a child’s body processes and responds to sensory information. Through Sensory Integration (SI), an occupational therapist exposes a child to different sensory stimuli wile in a safe environment. Treatment helps develop coping mechanisms and improve body regulation when systems are overloaded. (Don’t miss our next blog post focusing on sensory processing!)

Builds overall strength and stability

Occupational therapists use exercise to help children build the strength and stability needed to successfully participate in play, academic, and self-care activities.

Encourages social and play skills

Occupational therapy enhances social skills through functional play, turn taking, self-awareness, managing emotions, and understanding social cues. Play is a primary occupation for children that facilitates development of motor, cognitive, and academic skills.

Helps executive functioning skills

Executive functioning skills include attention, organization, planning, initiation, sequencing and memory. Occupational therapists can teach strategies to improve these skills, which help children become more independent and successful in their academics and daily routines. (More on executive functioning skills coming soon!)

Provides caregiver and patient education

As a part of the care plan, occupational therapists can provide education and home programs to the child/caregiver to encourage skill carryover. It is important for children to use the skills learned in their session in different contexts and various settings.

Enhances visual perceptual & visual motor skills

Visual perceptual and visual motor skills allow a child to interpret and make sense of the information around them. These skills include visual discrimination, visual memory, and motor control which are important for writing, drawing, reading and playing. Occupational therapists can help children strengthen these skills and provide accommodations when visual motor deficits are present.

References:

admin. (2017, January 19). 10 Best Benefits of Pediatric Occupational Therapy – Chicago Occupational Therapy. https://chicagooccupationaltherapy.com/articles/10-best-benefits-of-occupational-therapy/

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