Does your Child Need Pediatric Speech And Occupational Therapy?

Does your child have a hard time performing everyday tasks at home and school? Does he/she show some delays in the use of developmental skills? If so, you should consider hiring a pediatric speech and occupational therapist to make sure your kid overcomes these challenges. 

Occupational therapy is the best treatment for youngsters with developmental delays, fine motor skills issues, gross motor skills problems, visual processing difficulties, sensory processing, and oral sensory problems. These usually occur in children with birth injuries, hand injuries, autism, post-surgical conditions, chronic illnesses, etc. 

Read the information below to find out whether your kid needs such therapy. 

Signs of developmental delay

Children demonstrating signs of developmental delay unquestionably need pediatric speech and occupational therapy. Developmental delay refers to the inability of kids to develop the skills common for a particular age or period. Such delays usually occur in speech and language, cognitive function, pay, motor function, and social skills. 

Moreover, children with developmental delay are unable to meet developmental milestones appropriate for their age, such as crawling or walking. For instance, a one-year-old might not be crawling yet, or a two-year-old might not walk steadily. Speech and language delay is common in toddlers who cannot say several words by the age of two. Visit this link, https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/recognizing-developmental-delays-birth-age-2#1, to find out more about the symptoms and causes of developmental delay in children. 

Nevertheless, speech and language delays are dissimilar, even though most parents find it challenging to distinguish between them. The former occurs when kids fail to say the expected number of words at a given age. Speaking requires them to coordinate the muscles of their jaws, tongue, vocal tract, and lips to produce sounds. 

The latter occurs in children who have difficulties expressing their thoughts and understanding what others say to them. An occupational therapist, however, would perform various tests to diagnose the exact issue. 

Fine motor skills issues

Another sign your kid requires occupational therapy is the trouble he/she has with fine motor skills. These skills refer to the movements made with the toes, lips, wrists, tongue, and fingers, such as picking up a fork or holding a pen. Youngsters with fine motor skills issues lack the control, strength, and muscle dexterity to perform tasks like drawing, using scissors, utensils, etc. 

Furthermore, children whose fine motor skills aren’t fully developed face difficulties when performing actions like coloring, tracing, drawing, using zippers, buttons, and shoelaces, manipulating puzzles and toys, using straws and silverware, scissors, etc. Also, these kids fail to develop hand dominance at an appropriate time, as well as exhibit poor handwriting and the formation of letters and numbers.

Nevertheless, occupational therapists are capable of improving fine motor skills in youngsters through play. There is a multitude of speech and occupational therapists using play-based learning to improve speech and occupational skills in children. Unless these issues are addressed from a young age, kids would probably face a hard time performing school activities like writing and using computers. 

Issues with gross motor skills

Another sign your child needs occupational therapy is the issues he/she faces with gross motor skills, involving the large muscles in the body. Large muscles help kids control their bodies, move, and coordinate their arms, legs, and other body parts. Any delay in movement, balance, and strength makes youngsters seem uncoordinated and clumsy. 

Kids whose gross motor skills aren’t fully developed usually have difficulties coordinating both the left and right side of their bodies, walking, playing catch, going up and down the stairs, hopping, and grasping the concept of left and right. Also, their balance and ball skills are considered poor. 

The muscle tone and resistance of kids with gross motor skills issues are either higher or lower than the appropriate milestone. Therefore, these kids might feel scared when their feet leave the ground. Because of their inabilities, youngsters with such issues tend to avoid games and tasks that require gross motor skills. 

Visual processing difficulties

Youngsters in need of occupational therapy often struggle with visual processing, a process that occurs in the brain for the purpose of interpreting visual information. Kids with this type of problem cannot really make sense of the things they see, which induces a wide range of difficulties when performing school tasks. 

For instance, children with visual processing difficulties have trouble recognizing letters, copying letter shapes, finding objects among other objects, copying from the board, etc. They also cannot make sense of spacing, letter sizes, and the concept of left and right. Occupational therapists, however, use special techniques to help improve visual processing. 

Sensory processing problems

Youngsters with sensory processing problems stand to benefit from occupational therapy. These issues are related to how kids receive information through their senses, such as sound, taste, touch, and smell. Children with such problems are oversensitive to touch, sounds, and movements, exhibiting heightened reactions to the things in their surroundings. 

Nevertheless, these kids might also be under-responsive and fail to react to certain sensations. In the absence of sensations, they keep moving, touching things, bumping into objects, jumping, etc. Additionally, these children are emotionally reactive and distracted by different audio and video stimuli. They have a hard time coping with change and are unable to calm themselves when upset. 

Oral sensory issues

Children with oral sensory issues stand to gain from occupational therapy. Oral motor skills are necessary for controlling the muscle movements in the oral and face area, referring to the tongue, soft palate, jaw, and lips. Kids whose oral sensory capabilities are delayed usually experience excessive drooling, tiredness after eating, lengthy breast or bottle feedings, etc. 

Moreover, these kids keep on chewing food in the front part of the mouth, have trouble using a cup or drinking from a straw, lose lots of food and liquid when chewing or drinking, etc. Some of them are picky eaters, refusing to eat foods with different textures. 

Final thoughts

Occupational therapy can do wonders for youngsters whose developmental skills aren’t completely developed yet!

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