Pediatric Occupational Therapists are typically not a consideration by parents for their children. However, occupational therapists (OT) can be very helpful for a child if your child is exhibiting certain traits or behaviors.
Parents’ and teachers’ jobs can become very hectic when trying to help each child with their own specific challenges. Pediatric occupational therapists can be excellent resources and adjuncts to help your child overcome challenges and excel in their home and school environments.
Here are a few tips to help parents and teachers identify if a child could benefit from an occupational therapy evaluation and treatment. (This is by no means a complete list of behaviors or challenges that an OT can help with).
10 Signs My Child May Need a Pediatric Occupational Therapist
- My child is a bystander or observer on the playground and rarely tries out the equipment independently.
- My child has poor posture while sitting in a chair at the table and during situations of unsupported sitting. For example, during circle time my child is observed to roll or move around a lot on the floor.
- My child has a difficult time walking in line or being close to other children. They appear to be irritated by touch from other people but frequently touch things themselves.
- My child frequently chooses the same familiar game or activity and avoids learning new motor activities or games.
- My child avoids fine motor activities. They have difficulty using small objects or using scissors. They may demonstrate an abnormal pencil grip, or their hand tires easily during fine motor tasks. They may press too hard or too light on the paper when writing.
- My child seems to have more difficulty than peers putting on their coats. They have trouble putting on and tying their shoes and buttoning.
- My child has trouble putting together puzzles or finding a specific object in the classroom.
- My child frequently runs into things in the classroom, falls to the floor, or purposely crashes into things or people.
- My child has more trouble than their peers writing in their assignment notebook, keeping their desk and folders organized, and turning in assignments on time.
- My child takes excessive risks and often demonstrates decreased safety awareness.
If you see any of these behaviors or characteristics in your child, everyday life may be more difficult to get through for them than for other children and may affect their success in school. You can help them by seeking out a pediatric occupational therapist for techniques and strategies to improve their academic success and overall daily performance.
More about Jessica
Jessica Glenbocki is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and is certified in sensory integration and interactive metronome. She received her master’s in occupational therapy from Cleveland State University if you want more personalized ways to handle your child’s sensory issues, set up a session with Jessica through her personal page on Vitalxchange to receive a more personalized plan.