Pediatrics


Destination KidzZone


FINE MOTOR SKILLS


What are fine motor skills?   Basically anything you do with your hand.  Occupational Therapist can provide interventions to target delays and deficits in this area.  There are  hundreds of tasks kids use their hands for each day:

  • Manipulating toys and puzzles
  • Holding a pencil
  • Using silverware or straws at an age-appropriate time
  • Using scissors
  • Using zippers, buttons, shoelaces
  • Coloring, drawing, tracing, prewriting shapes
  • Poor handwriting, letter/number formation
  • Not developing a hand dominance at an age-appropriate time
  • Avoiding tasks and games that require fine motor skills

 Occupational Therapist can help!!  This may involve taking a closer look at muscle tone, strength, and range of motion.

LEARNING CHALLENGES

Learning challenges, sometimes called learning disabilities, are another type of developmental delay. If your child is challenged by one of the following, you may want to consult an occupational therapist:

  • Unable to concentrate and focus at school
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty following instructions and completing work
  • Tires easily with school work
  • Poor impulse control
  • Hyperactivity or low energy
  • Not keeping up with workload at school
  • Difficulty learning new material
  • Makes letter or number reversals after age seven

PLAY SKILLS

Play skills are skills that can help a child make sense of the world around them. A child can gain self-confidence, learn problem solving, and develop social skills through play. Your child may be developmentally delayed if they show one of the following symptoms:

  • Needs adult guidance to initiate play
  • Difficulty with imitative play
  • Wanders aimlessly without purposeful play
  • Moves quickly from one activity to the next
  • Does not explore toys appropriately
  • Participates in repetitive play for hours (e.g., lining up toys)
  • Does not join in with peers/siblings when playing
  • Does not understand concepts of sharing and turn taking

Remember that all children are different and develop these skill sets at their own pace. However, if you think your child may be struggling with adopting some of the skill areas above, you can contact an occupational therapist.


VISUAL MOTOR SKILLS AND VISUAL PERCEPTUAL SKILLS
We also treat kids for visual motor integration and hand eye coordination, so that they can interact functionally with the tools and objects in their environments.  Strong visual motor skills are essential for tasks like ​

  • handwriting
  • drawing
  • cutting with scissors
  • play
  • dressing yourself.  

Visual perceptual skills are also frequently addressed during each sessions.  Children make sense of what they see in the world around them.  Visual perception lets them understand space, position, and orientation.  What they see and recognize, similarities, and differences between objects is learned through the development of these skills. 


VISUAL PROCESSING

Visual processing is the process we use to make sense of what we see. It is a process in our brain that interprets visual information. If your child has difficulty with one of these things, they may have difficult with visual processing:

  • Difficulty with the spacing and sizes of letters
  • Difficulty with recognizing letters
  • Difficulty with copying shapes or letters
  • Difficulty with visual tracking and crossing midline
  • Difficulty finding objects among other objects
  • Difficulty with copying from the board or another paper
  • Difficulty with the concept of right and left

Your child may lose his or her place when reading or copying from the board or may have poor eye contact.


SENSORY PROCESSING
We help children learn to understand, process, and organize sensations in their environments and respond in appropriate ways to everyday situations. These sensations may include sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and movement. We help children learn to adapt and react appropriately in sensory rich environments.

Sensory processing is making sense of information that we receive through our senses, like sound and smell. Your child may be over sensitive to things around them and show the following symptoms:

  • Overly sensitive or heightened reactivity to sound, touch, or movement
  • Under-responsive to certain sensations (e.g., high pain tolerance, doesn't notice cuts/bruises)
  • Constantly moving, jumping, crashing, bumping
  • Easily distracted by visual or auditory stimuli
  • Emotionally reactive
  • Difficulty coping with change
  • Inability to calm self when upset

Children with sensory processing problems are unable to understand sensations and their reactions to them are often negative, protective, or fearful. These children benefit from OT services to help them learn to integrate these sensations, to learn coping mechanisms and strategies, and to  become more tolerant of  the sensations in their everyday lives. Children who cannot move their bodies freely or efficiently due to neurological impairments and other conditions also benefit from sensory input to help organize their systems to promote motor control and fluent movement.

SELF CARE SKILLS
We can teach children how to take care of themselves more independently.  We help children learn how to develop dressing skills, including clothing orientation, putting on and taking off shoes, and managing all those small clothing fasteners.

We work on feeding skills like managing utensils and oral motor functioning.  Therapists may also address the life management of daily tasks such as getting organized upon arrival at school, or being able to buy a lunch in the cafeteria. They may help teach a child learn to navigate from place to place throughout their day in an organized manner. What is important for independence in one family or classroom can be quite different from another, so we always adapt to the needs of each individual child and family situation. Self care needs are continuously changing as children get older and expectations for independence grow.


SOCIAL INTERACTION SKILLS

Social interaction skills are skills that help us have relationships and understand those around us. They help us bond with other people in our life. Your child may have delayed social skills if they show some of the following things:

  • Difficulty interacting socially and engaging with family and peers
  • Difficulty adapting to new environments
  • Delayed language skills
  • Overly focused on one subject (e.g., space, universe, dinosaurs, trains)
  • Can't cope in the school environment

MOVEMENT, STRENGTH, & BALANCE DEVELOPMENT (GROSS MOTOR SKILLS)

Gross motor skills help us move and coordinate our arms, legs, and other body parts. They involve larger muscles that help us control our body. A child who is behind in movement, strength, and/or balance may appear clumsy or uncoordinated. They may also have difficulty with these things:

  • Going up and down stairs at an age appropriate time
  • Coordinating both sides of the body
  • Understanding the concept of right and left
  • Poor ball skills
  • Poor balance

Their muscle tone, or muscle tension and resistance, could be higher or lower than the appropriate developmental milestone. They might also:

  • be fearful of feet leaving the ground
  • doesn't cross midline of his or her body during play and school tasks
  • avoids tasks and games that require gross motor skills