Neuro Developmental Center — preparing infants and toddlers with developmental delays…for life!

Occupational Therapies

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Occupational therapy helps children to be successful in their activities of daily living. Activities of daily living for a young child include playing, moving, engaging with others, and learning.

The major areas commonly addressed are:

  • Fine Motor skills-learning to use their hands to reach, grasp, and play with toys.
  • Gross Motor skills-having the strength, balance, and coordination for rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, and jumping.
  • Adaptive/Self-Help skills-improving oral motor skills for feeding, assisting the child to learn to be more independent and/or helping make adaptations so that your child can be more independent.
  • Sensory Integration/Self-Regulation-Helping your child to organize their behavior in order to learn, play, interact, and sleep.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would an occupational therapist work with a child from birth to three months of age?

Occupational therapists assist children and adults to develop, recover, or maintain their daily living and work skills. They also identify potential environmental barriers and recommend adaptations to help individuals to become more independent and participate in family and community activities. For young children, their daily living skills include feeding themselves, learning to crawl or walk so they can explore their environment, using their eyes and hands to explore toys, and having the ability to stay calm and focused so that they can interact with their friends and family. For a child with gross motor delays, an occupational therapist will determine what factors are preventing the child from rolling, crawling, or walking and then recommend targeted activities to promote the desired skill. For the child that has poor trunk control, the occupational therapist may suggest adaptations that can be made to a tricycle so that the child can learn to ride it. For the child who has difficulty with calming, the occupational therapist may work with the family to find strategies, sensory input, and/or environmental modifications to assist the child to self-soothe.

If my child needs occupational therapy services how often will the therapist see my child?

The frequency will vary according to your child’s needs and your family’s schedule. You will have the opportunity to discuss this and express your preferences at the IFSP meeting.

Should I use a walker or excersaucer?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies on their backs to sleep and have supervised tummy time during awake hours. Tummy time is important for developing the strength and coordination needed for skills such as rolling, sitting, crawling, and playing. They also receive visual stimulation while on their tummy they lift their head and view the world at eye-level. It is recommended babies spend as much time on their tummies as possible throughout the day and limit use of sitting and standing devices to brief times such as ten minutes.

What toys do you recommend for my child?

Expensive complex toys are not necessary in order to advance your child’s development. As therapist’s, the most common toys we use are wooden blocks, bubbles, bowls, balls, and cause and effects toys.

What early motor skills should I look for in my child and at what age?

While all children develop at their own pace, their skills should develop in a typical pattern. For example we would not expect a child who is not sitting on their own to be able to walk or a child that cannot reach and grasp a toy to be able to use a crayon to scribble. Each milestone develops a particular set of muscles and skills that are foundational for more advanced skills. Occupational therapists will observe your child’s motor skills not only to assess what skills they have but to determine if their movements are smooth, coordinated, and effective. If your child is late in meeting his or her milestones or is skipping milestones, discuss your concerns with their pediatrician.

 

Gross motor milestones………………………………………………………………Average Age
Lifting head up to 45 degrees while lying on stomach……………………………..3 months
Rolling from back to his stomach………………………………………………………….6 months
Sitting without any support…………………………………………………………………6 months
Crawling forward on stomach………………………………………………………………7 months
Creeping forward on all fours………………………………………………………………9 months
Cruising (walking sideways) while holding onto the furniture………………10 months
Walking independentl………………………………………………………………………..12 months
Kicking a large ball at least 2 feet forward…………………………………………..21 months
Walking up steps without holding onto railing……………………………………24 months
Jumping forward at least 4 inches……………………………………………………..27 months

 

Fine motor milestones………………………………………………………………Average Age
Visually tracking a toy both horizontally and vertically………………………….1 month
Grasping a suspended toy…………………………………………………………………..4 months
Moving a toy from one hand to the other……………………………………………6-7 months
Picking up small objects using thumb and 1st finger…………………………….10 months

 

(pincer grasp)
Using a crayon to scribble…………………………………………………………………13 months
Placing one small block on top of another one…………………………………….15 months
Imitating drawing a horizontal line…………………………………………………..26 months
Stringing large beads……………………………………………………………………….32 months