Old Rams Hospital, Lekshminada, Kollam, Kerala, INDIA
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Benefits Of Occupational Therapy For Children
Occupational Therapy for Kids- Importance and Benefits
The early years of a child’s life are very crucial as in those years the cognitive, social, and physical development of the child takes place. The first 3 years are especially very critical because the brain evolves during this duration. But, not every kid successfully passes through these developmental milestones. There are some of them who do not mature as they should, and have restricted or delayed progression or advancement. If a child faces these problems and needs support to develop optimally, then occupational therapy may be of immense help.
Not many know the fact that the therapy is not just for adults, but kids too. With the help of Occupational therapy, kids can have enhanced development, improved cognitive and communication skills, and minimized developmental delay. The therapy is carried out according to the child’s disability or condition. The practitioners evaluate the kid and then set out a therapy procedure to improve the processing and enable new learning.
There are several procedures that are used, and a lot of importance is associated with the therapy. Let’s discuss in details when does a child need occupational therapy, the benefits of the therapy, and some activities that can help the child lead a normal life.
Occupational Therapy Activities for Kids
There are a number of activities that can be arranged for children with several diseases depending on the condition. The therapy can be conducted in several places like hospital, home, schools, clinic, specialized center, etc. It is designed differently for kids of various age group.
For Toddlers and Infants:
The infants generally face trouble sleeping at night. The common exercises that are included are bath time activities, providing gentle massage, sand and water therapy, feeding therapy, activities using specialized toys to make them deal with light and sound, olfactory input activities, etc.
Sensory Integration Activities
These activities help child response more actively and accurately to the environment. The activities are designed in such a way that it creates a deep pressure on the child. These can be active or passive. You can create soft corners in the room using soft furnishing like a bean bag which provides a wonderful deep pressure with a calming effect.
Another thing you can do is let him lie down on a mat or bed and cover him with blankets and pillows to develop pressure. Or, give them stress ball to squeeze, chew toys, etc.
These are designed for the child’s legs and arms so that they can work in an effective way. These are basically divided into two broad categories: bilateral and hand-eye coordination skills. For hand-eye coordination, ask your child to hit a ball with a bat, catch a ball, etc. Bilateral activities provide the ability to use both sides of the body in an accurate manner. You can ask your child to roll out pastry sheets from a play dough, ask them to pull a rope hand-over-hand, etc.
Visual Perception Activities
These activities help the child understand the information send by eyes to the brain. For form constancy and to help them understand shapes put objects on a tray and ask your child to recognize them. You can also use any object at home for this activity. Use books to teach them different fonts and same alphabets of different size to enhance their abilities. Ask your child to draw shapes, lines, alphabets, etc. You can also use jigsaw puzzle to aid development process.
Activities for Fine and Gross Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are required for those who have trouble using a hand, fingers, and forearm properly. The basic therapy includes simple exercises of arms, wrist, fingers, etc., so that they can perform regular work like holding a pencil with ease. Give them safety scissors and ask them to cut out shapes from the paper.
For gross motor skills, help your child with core and shoulder activities. These activities may include swimming, hopscotch, wheelbarrow walking, walking over an unstable surface, etc.
Other activities involved in occupational therapy with kids that could keep them involved and improve their development process are: painting with pom-pom balls, making a playdough puzzle, smash the dough or cut out shapes from it, place a coin in a container, etc.
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