Occupational Therapy can help many children develop their full potential. You may already know what occupational therapy is or perhaps you are curious about how occupational therapy services can help your child. The following information will help you determine whether these services will be beneficial to your child.

“Within every child, there is a great inner drive to develop sensory integration.”
Jean Ayres, Ph.D.

What is Sensory
Processing Disorder?

A person having difficulty processing information that is received through the senses identifies Sensory Processing Disorder. It occurs when the brain cannot analyze, organize, connect, or integrate the messages. This impacts the person’s ability to behave or respond in meaningful, consistent ways. (Ayres, 2005)

What is Sensory Integration?

Sensory Integration is our brain’s ability to register and organize sensations from the environment for our use. Our senses give us meaning to what is being experienced. We select what information we are going to focus on, which in turn allows us to interact or respond to our environment in a purposeful manner. Sensory integration skills create a foundation that influences how we learn, interact, behave, and communicate in our functional environments. (Ayres, 2005)

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities/occupations (AOTA, 2011). The main occupation for children is to learn and to play so therapeutic services are directed towards these types of activities. An occupational therapist is able to perform individualized evaluations to assess the child’s present level of functioning and create a plan of care to meet his/her individual needs. The child participates in direct therapy to address any noted concerns and home/community programming is established to ensure carryover of therapeutic activities. Therapy can be done in a variety of settings from the home, school, clinic, and other community settings. Occupational therapists have a holistic perspective that works to nourish and develop each child’s spirit, mind, and body.

The following are indicators that your child may benefit from occupational therapy:

  • Sluggish, difficulty participating in daily activities
  • Hyperactive, difficulty sitting still or attending to everyday tasks
  • Poor body awareness
  • Attention difficulties
  • Difficulties with social interaction
  • Difficulties handling stressors in their natural environments
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulties with learning and behavior
  • Poor handwriting skills
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Poor visual motor skills
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor self-care skills
  • Difficulty with feeding i.e. picky eater, difficulty managing food and/or liquids