Does my child need Occupational Therapy?
If your child has difficulties in self care skills, gross and fine motor skills, sensory processing skills, academic skills, emotional regulation, or social skills, Occupational Therapy would be advisable for your child.
No two children are the same and different children often adopt different paces at developing some skills. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that, if allowed to persist for a long time, might translate into your child having a slight disability and requiring occupational therapy.
Some of these signs and symptoms include falling behind at school, daycare, or kindergarten due to difficulties with aspects such as gripping a pencil, letter formation (tendency to reverse very often), difficulty holding and using a pair of scissors, difficulties maintaining concentration and devoting attention to a single source. There is also some noticeable difficulty performing self care tasks such as in using cutlery at meal times, dressing themselves i.e. unable to use buttons or zippers or putting on clothes back to front, difficulty with tying shoelaces, and decreased independence with using the toilet or becoming potty-trained.
More specifically, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders also exhibit symptoms associated with difficulties in sensory regulation such as having a tendency to cover their ears when there is any noise, overreacting to some sensations such as touch, smell, or light, and being extremely fussy eaters. Emotional regulation difficulties also include signs such as crying and becoming overly emotional for no apparent reason, having excessive meltdowns and throwing tantrums, showing some difficulty calming down when a meltdown occurs.
Delayed social skills also present symptoms such as avoiding eye contact, having challenges making friends, exhibiting physical or aggressive behaviour towards other children and delayed or reduced verbal communication. Delayed motor skills have symptoms such as falling or clumsy behaviour, showing difficulty throwing and catching, having reduced hand eye coordination, and avoiding climbing and jumping activities.