Here are five signs that your child might need occupational therapy:

1. Difficulty achieving age-appropriate developmental milestones

If a child is behind in developing skills that are common during a particular age or during a particular time period.

For examples:

  • Not reaching developmental milestones of neck holding, sitting, crawling, and walking on time.
  • Not learning at an age appropriate level.
  • Not developing age appropriate play and social skills
  • Not pointing or communicating age appropriately.

2. Avoids eye contact and inappropriate Social Interaction

Social interaction skills are skills that help us to bond and build relationships with other people in our life and also to understand those around us. Your child may have delayed social skills if they show some of the following traits:

  • Avoiding to appropriate eye contact while talking.
  • Difficulty interacting socially with family and peers
  • Difficulty interacting  engaging and play with peers age appropriately
  • Difficulty adapting to new environments and large gatherings.
  • Delayed communication or language skills
  • Can’t cope in the school environment

3. Inadequate or Inappropriate Play Skills

Play is a crucial activity in children, developing age appropriate skills and understanding their place in the world.A child can build his/her motor skills, build their cognitive skills, learn problem solving, and develop social skills through play.Your child may be needed to consult an OT if you notice these following things:

  • Does not explore toys appropriately
  • Engages in repetitive play for hours (e.g., lining up toys)
  • Prefers to play alone rather than with an adult or peer.
  • Constantly on the go without purposeful play
  • Short attention span, Moves quickly from one activity to the next
  • Difficulty in  joining with peers/siblings when playing
  • Does not understand concepts of sharing and turn taking

4. Issues with gross motor and fine motor skills

Gross Motor (physical) skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large (core stabilizing) muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as standing, walking, running, and sitting upright. It also includes eye-hand coordination skills such as ball skills (throwing, catching, kicking).A child who has low body tone and strength, and/or balance may appear clumsy or uncoordinated. They may also have difficulty with these areas:

  • Unable to roll, throw, catch or kick ball age appropriately
  • Climbing up and down stairs at an age appropriate time
  • Coordinating both sides of the body
  • Understanding the concept of right and left
  • Poor balance and coordination.
  • Low muscle tone
  • Poor endurance, gets tired easily( or avoids physical games and activities

5. Sensory Processing Disorders

Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD is a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that the individual perceives results in abnormal responses. Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into responses. A child with sensory processing concerns has difficulty using sensory input from his/her eyes (vision), ears (sound), skin (touch), nose (smell), mouth (taste), muscles and body joints (body awareness), and inner ear (balance & position of body in space).


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