Occupational therapy is the use of purposeful activity to maximize the independence of a child who is limited by a physical injury or illness, neurological or cognitive impairment, a developmental or learning disability, or sensory integration dysfunction. For a child, purposeful activities swinging, climbing, jumping, buttoning, drawing, and writing are considered their “occupation.” Occupational Therapists use their unique expertise to help children prepare for and perform important learning and developmental activities by facilitating social skills development, motor development, emergent literacy, and the development of adaptive and self care skills.
The need for occupational therapy often arises as a result of a disability or a sensory processing disorder. If you notice that your child has trouble completing age-appropriate tasks such as buttoning his shirt, tracing letters or picking up bite-sized pieces of food then occupational therapy might be necessary. A visit to an Occupational Therapist might also be in order if you notice such sensory issues as sensitivity to sounds, smells, tastes, or textures; seeming to be easily distracted or over- or under-stimulated; or social anxiety and an inability to connect with his peers in an age-appropriate way.