Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Kids


When a child grows up, he/she undergoes a lot of physical, mental, sociological development that helps them to navigate the real world and interact with others. The initial years are the crux of brain development since plenty of growth happens throughout this point. Certain children, unfortunately, do not reach these development stages as needed, and their maturity does not match the level of other kids of the same age. In such a perplexity, occupational therapy comes to their rescue.

In this article:

What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?
When Does a Child Need OT?
Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Kids
Difference Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
Occupational Therapy Activities for Children

Occupational Therapy for Kids: Every Parent Should Know

What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?

Occupational therapy is actually a set of exercises, techniques, and activities that assist children in developing the skills and forms required to start living their lives independently. Many kids need a lot of help with basic daily routines such as brushing teeth, wearing clothes, or schooling related activities such as noting down what’s written on the blackboard or making use of simple tools. Their motor responses and sensory nodes do not respond and process at the level as that of other children. This causes them to be slower, to make more mistakes than others, and can affect the child quite a lot.

With OT, your child will begin to carry out most of the activities by himself gradually over time.


occupational therapy kids

When Does a Child Need OT?

You might marvel ‘Does my kid want physiotherapy to live his life?’. Some children may bloom later than others and that they might not need any medical aid per se. However, there are certain cases when occupational therapy might be considered for a child:

  • Suffering from birth-related defects
  • Problems processing sensory receptors
  • Have faced injuries immediately after birth
  • Failing to learn new things easily
  • Having arthritis, bone-related disorders or so
  • Developmental disorders such as autism or behavioral issues
  • Has suffered extreme level burns
  • Kids suffering from cancer, palsy, or other debilitating illnesses

Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Kids

Introducing your child to occupational therapy will have subsequent advantages.

Handling the Daily Routine of Life

Certain children face problems in finishing up activities that are essential within the daily routine of life. These embody brushing their teeth, going to the toilet, holding a pencil to write or draw something, wearing their own clothes, buttoning a shirt, and so on. These are activities children ought to begin doing by themselves independently. Occupational therapy helps them achieve that independence.


Resolving Issues of Sensory Perception and Processes

When children have issues with their sensory organs, they encounter trouble in seeing things correctly, finding sounds to be too quiet or too loud, not understanding touch, failing to recognize smells, having different taste perceptions and so on. These may lead to extreme behavior in class or lethargy and apathy too. With physiotherapy, these children are often schooled to bring back management over their senses and assess them consequently.

Bringing Better Movement Prospects to Children with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is actually a condition that pretty much restricts any physical movement, depending on the severity of the condition. Most kids also suffer from dystrophy in the muscles, rendering them unable to move and resorting to using a wheelchair. Since their lives revolve around it, occupational therapy helps them cultivate their activities by teaching them to use it properly, and make the necessary adjustments to turn it into an integral part of their life.

Helping Children with Autism Communicate and Move Better

Although kids suffering from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) might be clubbed with autism, the problems both suffer are different. Autistic children do show tendencies almost like that of children with SPD however not contrariwise. These children have trouble conversing with individuals, do not engage in play, and stay aloof from any activities. Each child’s behavior has to be handled individually and occupational therapy for kids with autism helps out a great deal in this regard. By addressing only those problems that are necessary, it does not become a generalized solution and helps kids overcome their issues sooner.

Stabilizing the Lives of Children with Motor Skill Issues

Some children have issues with the muscles in their limbs as well as fingers or so. This can cause trouble while learning to walk, or ride a bicycle and so on. Occupational therapy works on these issues one by one and either helps them adapt to that, or even remove the condition altogether.

Relearning what they Know already for Kids with Injuries and Burns

These children might have led normal lives right from the start until an occurrence rendered them unable to try and do so. For such kids, the problem is forgetting what they already knew and doing it differently. Occupational therapy helps them get perspective in understanding alternative ways of concluding previously known activities and get good at it.


Difference Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

Occupational therapy for youngsters with special needs and therapy for youngsters with disabilities might sound just like the same thing. However, therapy primarily focuses on reducing pain, rising physical movement and strength, and deals with limbs and joints. Occupational therapy includes that along with attention on psychological feature and perception skills, activity disorders, and relearning talents.

Occupational Therapy Activities for Children

Here are some occupational therapy activities that are steered for kids.

Activities that Improve Quality of Sleep

Certain kids face hassle sleeping properly through the night. By creating use of activities like pre-sleep baths, body massages, therapies involving connecting with sand and water, special objects that reduce the effect of sounds and lights, making use of certain smells to induce sleep, are all used in combination to tackle the problem.

Read More: 13 Powerful Plants that Help Your Child Sleep Better

Activities that Help Integrate Various Senses

Children might face a problem responding to any or all the stimulation and triggers of the surroundings. These can be combated by making use of techniques that create a deep calming pressure in the presence of the child. Even the use of a bean bag creates a softness within the surroundings that instantly calms everything down. Making use of stress balls, chewy toys, soft blankets, is nice occupational therapy for ADHD kids, too.


Activities that Improve Limb Coordination

Some youngsters may not be ready to judge their limb movements with eyes or fail to use a specific side. With hand-eye coordination activities, children are encouraged to use bats and balls to try and hit it successfully, or catch a ball by judging it well. For kids that can’t use either left or right side of the body in a good manner, bilateral activities like rope pulling, dough kneading, using a rolling pin and so on can be quite helpful.

Activities that Help Improve Visual Perception

Many children have trouble perceiving shapes of three-dimensional spaces. This can be handled by creating clay formed objects and letting them examine it. Baking cakes in various alphabet shapes, using molds to match them, can help further. Jigsaw puzzles of a simpler level can work wonders in that regard.

Read More: Eye Exam for Kids: How Soon Should I See A Pediatric Eye Doctor?

Activities that Build on Motor Skills

If a child has a problem using his hands or feet properly, many exercises are focused on twisting the wrists, bending the fingers, and so on. Special scissors may be used to facilitate him cut paper properly. For movement-related problems, undertaking supervised swimming, or balancing while walking on a thin platform, can be useful as well.

Activities that Encourage Cognitive Thinking

These kids need encouragement in trying out things in a different way. This could be attained by letting them paint something with a cloth instead of a brush, or flipping coins in a box from a distance, or undertaking craft-related activities that help with visual as well as limb improvement skills.

Occupational therapy exercises for kids are a dime a dozen. But their application needs a proper understanding of your child and his issues. Moreover, maintaining your kid’s self-esteem as he resolves these issues is extremely important and plays a vital role in turning him into a successful individual ahead.


Read More: 51 Math Games for Kids (6yrs and above)


Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!