Occupational Therapy (OT) is a profession that assists people across the lifespan to do the things they need and want to do to be as functional and independent as possible. Occupational therapists strive to help people live their lives to the fullest. In regards to pediatrics, therapists help children become independent in daily living tasks, become successful academically, address sensory processing difficulties, and more! Below are 10 benefits of pediatric occupational therapy:
1. Improves gross motor skills: gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body which are important for crawling, walking, jumping, catching a ball etc. Occupational therapists can help your child improve these skills as they are important for locomotion, stability, postural control, and balance.
2. Improves fine motor skills: fine motor skills are those related to the coordination of the smaller muscles of your hands and fingers. Fine motor skills are important for academic success, manipulating clothing fasteners, and more! An OT can help improve your child’s fine motor coordination to improve their ability to complete everyday tasks more independently.
3. Increases independence in activities of daily living: activities of daily living are those important routine activities such as feeding, dressing, and grooming. An OT can help your child complete daily living routines with increased independence and ease.
4. Addresses sensory processing difficulties: an OT can help your child better receive and respond to the sensory input they are receiving whether it be tolerating different types of clothing, decreasing sensory seeking for better regulation, or trying new food textures.
5. Increases overall strength and stability: strength and stability are a few of those foundational skills that are needed to complete everyday tasks. By developing these foundational skills in OT, your child will be able to complete fine/visual motor activities and maneuver their environments with increased ease.
6. Enhances social and play skills: an occupational therapist can enhance a child’s social and play skills with peers by working on functional play, taking turns, sharing, expressing emotions, understanding social cues, etc. At Chicago Occupational Therapy, we offer a social group where children can practice these skills and build peer relationships!
7. Improves executive functioning skills: an OT can address executive functioning skills such as attention, organization, initiation, sequencing, and memory to improve academic performance and ability to complete daily routines more independently.
8. Provides caregiver and teacher education: not only does a pediatric OT work with your child, they will also provide education and home programs to help your child carryover skills learned in therapy to the home and classroom.
9. Improves visual perceptual/visual motor skills: these skills involve your ability to organize and interpret visual input and give it meaning. An occupational therapist can help to improve your child’s visual motor/perceptual skills as they are important for everyday tasks such as handwriting, playing, and reading.
10. Helps with the use of assistive technology: in OT, we sometimes use tools to improve or maintain someone’s function and we call these tools assistive technology! An OT can help to see if your child will benefit from using assistive technology and will educate you on how to use it appropriately to help your child’s functional capabilities. Some examples of assistive technology are adaptive scissors, weighted feeding utensils, or dressing aids!
Occupational Therapy offers various benefits to help children become as functional and independent as possible. OTs take a holistic approach and are family-centered. Do you think your child can benefit from occupational therapy? Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow.