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Pediatric occupational therapy (OT), as explained by the Hospital for Special Surgeries, “involves the use of play, movement and exercise to help kids develop or regain age-appropriate, functional skills to participate in home, school and community activities… [and] typically focuses on fine and visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, upper extremity function, overall motor coordination, core strength and sensory processing.” Occupational therapy aims to help children with physical, mental, behavioral, and developmental conditions become as functional and independent as possible. The Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone highlight various benefits of occupational therapy for children and how it can help them go from frustration to focus, such as improved:

  • Sensory integration: Children with sensory processing issues may struggle to process and respond to different types of sensory input (e.g., touch, sound, taste, smell, etc.). Occupational therapy can help children learn to regulate and integrate sensory input, which can increase their ability to engage in daily activities without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
  • Fine motor skills: Fine motor skills, according to Verywell Mind, “are those that require a high degree of control and precision and use the small muscles of the hand or wrist (such as using a fork or crayon).” OT can help children develop these skills through activities such as playing with small toys, drawing, and using scissors. Improved fine motor skills can help children be more successful in school and daily life.
  • Gross motor skills: Gross motor skills, as Healthline explains, “involve using large muscles in the body to allow for balance, coordination, reaction time, and physical strength to master bigger movements, such as walking, running, and jumping.” Pediatric occupational therapy can help children improve their gross motor skills through activities such as obstacle courses, balance games, and ball play. 
  • Executive functioning: As Harvard University asserts, executive functioning refers to a set of mental skills that help children plan, organize, prioritize, and complete tasks. Children with executive functioning difficulties may struggle with time management, working memory, and impulse control. Occupational therapy can help children develop these skills through activities such as creating schedules, breaking down tasks into smaller steps, and practicing mindfulness techniques.

Pediatric occupational therapy can help kids overcome a wide range of challenges. Honing new skills and achieving goals provides children with the opportunity to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment, which builds self-esteem, boosts self-confidence, and enhances their overall quality of life. 

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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