Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy helps children with gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual processing skills, executive functioning skills, sensory processing, social skills, and play skills. Occupational Therapy can help your child independently participate in day to day tasks at home, school, and the community. We are here to help your children learn the necessary skills to enhance their independence for each milestone of their lives.

Your child may benefit from occupational therapy services if they are not developing skills that are common during a particular age. All children are different and develop skills at their own pace, but if you have concerns you may contact our occupational therapist to consult with!

Signs to look for:

Executive functioning skills require complex thinking and focused attention. If your child is struggling with executive functioning skills, they may have difficulty with:

  • Transitioning to a new task

  • Regulating their emotions (meltdowns/tantrums)

  • Completing a basic daily task due to lack of attention

  • Completing school work due to being tired

  • Learning new material

  • Proper letter and number formation

  • Managing hyperactivity or low energy

Fine motor skills are the detailed and coordinated movements performed with thumb and fingers. If your child is struggling with fine motor skills, they may have difficulty with:

  • Holding a pencil

  • Using utensils to feed themselves by age appropriate time

  • Using scissors

  • Using shoelaces, buttons, zippers and opening containers

  • Coloring, tracing, drawing

  • Prewriting strokes and shapes

  • Number formation or hand writing due to improper grasp

  • Lack of hand dominance by appropriate age

  • Manipulating toys

  • Avoiding tasks that require the use of fine motor skills

Sensory Processing is the ability to interpret information that we receive from the environment through our senses. Your child may have sensory processing challenges if they are:

  • Overly sensitive to sound, movement, touch

  • Presenting with unusually high or low pain threshold

  • Constantly needing to jump, move, crash, rub against things

  • Emotionally reactive in a stimulating environment

  • Distracted by auditory or visual stimuli

  • Unable to cope with change

  • Not able to calm or soothe themselves when upset

  • Having challenges with table time/quiet time

Gross Motor skills help us to coordinate the movement of our arms, legs, and other body parts in order to perform larger movements. A child behind in gross motor skills may appear uncoordinated or clumsy. If your child is struggling with gross motor skills, they may have difficulty with:

  • Tummy time which impacts their ability to meet rolling, sitting, crawling milestones

  • Walking in coordinated and purposeful manner (toe walking)

  • Sitting appropriately (W sitting)

  • Participating in recess, gym, or sports during or outside of school

  • Balancing

  • Throwing and catching a ball

  • Crossing midline during play

Children with gross motor skills may also have poor muscle tone resulting in greater effort to participate in larger body movements. You may notice they fatigue more quickly.

Visual processing is how we understand and make sense of things in our visual field. The brain interprets visual information and processes what is seen. If your child is struggling with visual processing skills, they may have difficulty with:

  • Recognizing letters

  • Correct spacing and sizing of letter formation

  • Copying shapes or letters

  • Visual tracking/crossing midline

  • Finding objects among other objects

  • Copying things from board at school

  • Understanding left and right

  • Keeping place when reading

Social and play skills help a child to learn problem-solving, gain self-confidence, and make sense of the world. If your child is struggling with play skills they may have difficulty with:

  • Self-directed play requiring an adult for guidance

  • Imitative play

  • Copying shapes or letters

  • Jumping from task to task

  • Appropriate exploration of toy use

  • Joining in play with peers or family members

  • Sharing and taking turns

  • Eye contact or expressing themselves through non-verbal cues

  • Sharing and taking turns

Executive Functioning Skills

Executive functioning skills require complex thinking and focused attention. If your child is struggling with executive functioning skills, they may have difficulty with:

  • Transitioning to a new task

  • Regulating their emotions (meltdowns/tantrums)

  • Completing a basic daily task due to lack of attention

  • Completing school work due to being tired

  • Learning new material

  • Proper letter and number formation

  • Managing hyperactivity or low energy

Sensory Processing

Sensory Processing is the ability to interpret information that we receive from the environment through our senses. Your child may have sensory processing challenges if they are:

  • Overly sensitive to sound, movement, touch

  • Presenting with unusually high or low pain threshold

  • Constantly needing to jump, move, crash, rub against things

  • Emotionally reactive in a stimulating environment

  • Distracted by auditory or visual stimuli

  • Unable to cope with change

  • Not able to calm or soothe themselves when upset

  • Having challenges with table time/quiet time

Gross Motor Skills

Gross Motor skills help us to coordinate the movement of our arms, legs, and other body parts in order to perform larger movements. A child behind in gross motor skills may appear uncoordinated or clumsy. If your child is struggling with gross motor skills, they may have difficulty with:

  • Tummy time which impacts their ability to meet rolling, sitting, crawling milestones

  • Walking in coordinated and purposeful manner (toe walking)

  • Sitting appropriately (W sitting)

  • Participating in recess, gym, or sports during or outside of school

  • Balancing

  • Throwing and catching a ball

  • Crossing midline during play

Children with gross motor skills may also have poor muscle tone resulting in greater effort to participate in larger body movements. You may notice they fatigue more quickly.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are the detailed and coordinated movements performed with thumb and fingers. If your child is struggling with fine motor skills, they may have difficulty with:

  • Holding a pencil

  • Using utensils to feed themselves by age appropriate time

  • Using scissors

  • Using shoelaces, buttons, zippers and opening containers

  • Coloring, tracing, drawing

  • Prewriting strokes and shapes

  • Number formation or hand writing due to improper grasp

  • Lack of hand dominance by appropriate age

  • Manipulating toys

  • Avoiding tasks that require the use of fine motor skills

Visual Processing Skills

Visual processing is how we understand and make sense of things in our visual field. The brain interprets visual information and processes what is seen. If your child is struggling with visual processing skills, they may have difficulty with:

  • Recognizing letters

  • Correct spacing and sizing of letter formation

  • Copying shapes or letters

  • Visual tracking/crossing midline

  • Finding objects among other objects

  • Copying things from board at school

  • Understanding left and right

  • Keeping place when reading

Social and Play Skills

Social and play skills help a child to learn problem-solving, gain self-confidence, and make sense of the world. If your child is struggling with play skills they may have difficulty with:

  • Self-directed play requiring an adult for guidance

  • Imitative play

  • Copying shapes or letters

  • Jumping from task to task

  • Appropriate exploration of toy use

  • Joining in play with peers or family members

  • Sharing and taking turns

  • Eye contact or expressing themselves through non-verbal cues

  • Sharing and taking turns

Have questions? We are here to help.