Pediatric OT addresses many different areas of difficulty. From sensory integration and motor planning to specific fine motor skills, read below to find out more about types of therapy and how OT may assist your child and family.
Sensory Integration difficulties encompass whole-body coordination difficulties, related anxieties, and/or specific sensitivities to sensory-related input. There are many books and websites that are now dedicated to this topic, as sensory integration difficultes can affect a child in many different ways. Treatment needs to be individualized to the child and family, and often requires reframing of an understanding of the child's behavior.
Fine motor skills, when impaired, can affect a young child's play and an older child's functioning in school. Many school-related tasks rely on writing, cutting and pasting, and manipulating materials. If a child is experiencing weakness or coordination difficulties related to fine motor skills, this can be very frustrating. Often fine motor skills have other underlying factors that are causing difficulties; however therapy sessions can incorporate the development of areas simultaneously.
Motor planning is a complex area, encompassing ideation, planning, and execution of movement. A breakdown in any of these can cause related difficulties, frustration, and often results in an avoidance of related activities. A child will tend to play the same activities over and over, typically activities that are easy for the child and/or very familiar. This can affect their play, which can result in a decrease in their overall learning.
For a child, their "work" (or their "occupations") are play and school. The two are intertwined; play is the initial way that young children learn, and play can help a child to process different concepts they have learned. When play skills are affected in any way - because of sensory, fine motor, or motor planning difficulties (or all three) the child tends to have a decreased overall repertoire, which can influence their ability to learn, but also affect them socially.