Our occupational therapists have extensive training and experience in treating feeding problems in children. They use a combination of approaches that address oral-motor skills as well as the sensory and behavioral reasons behind why a child can't eat an age-appropriate volume and variety of foods. Feeding problems should be addressed as soon as a parent or caregiver has concerns.
Fine Motor Delays
We work to improve the fine motor skills a child needs to develop skill and independence with use of their hands for everyday tasks. These skills include bilateral coordination, crossing midline, hand and finger strength, hand-eye coordination, hand dominance, object manipulation, and grasp development. If prewriting skills are not well developed, a child will likely have difficulty with higher level fine motor skills like writing and tool use.
Motor Coordination Difficulties
Gross motor skills are the building blocks that form part of the foundation for many other higher-level activities. These underlying skills include balance and whole-body coordination, strength and endurance, postural control, body awareness, motor planning (praxis), and motor learning. Under-developed gross motor skills form a shaky, unstable foundation and must be addressed for a child to gain skill in other areas.
When a child has substantial sensory processing deficits, this affects one or more areas of daily life. It often impacts academic performance, makes social interactions more difficult, and cause distress or discomfort during everyday activities. It commonly affects often-overlooked sensory-based motor skills, postural functions, and praxis (motor planning). We work to decrease abnormal responses to sensory input; increase sensory-based motor skills; educate parents so they can be interpreters and guides in their child’s sensory life; and improve a child’s coping skills so they can make more adaptive, appropriate responses when they encounter sensory input that is distressing. Through therapeutic activities, children develop functional skills and self-confidence.
Self-Regulation is the ability to modulate mood, self-calm, delay gratification, and tolerate transitions in activity. The ability to self-regulate the nervous system, including sleep/wake cycles, begins in infancy and is typically refined over the first two years of life. All of the sensory systems supporting body awareness and reinforced through movement, work together to maintain self-regulation. When problems exist in any of the areas of sensory processing and impact sensory motor development or organizational processing, it can interfere with a child’s ability to manage a calm, alert, or emotionally positive state. When a child has a difficult time with self-regulation, they may have increased behavioral outbursts or inappropriate responses to the environment and sensory stimuli.
ADHD, Autism, and Anxiety
Executive Functioning refers to a set of neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation that allow us to manage ourselves and our resources to achieve a goal. All children require practice and guidance to master executive function skills, and some executive functions do not fully develop until age 30. A child with ADHD or similar diagnosis can be 30 – 40% more delayed in executive functioning compared to typically developing peers. We will help your child by teaching strategies for increased self-regulation and attention, improving frustration tolerance, and identifying environmental changes that could help them be more successful.
Does your child have difficulties with day-to-day activities at home, school, or in the community? Do they experience daily challenges that do not affect most typically developing children? If so, an occupational therapist may be able to help your child.
Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). We identify and improve difficulties that interfere with the child’s potential to perform functional daily living skills and peer activities.
For a child, play is fundamental for developing the ability to explore the world and do things independently. Our occupational therapists work with each family to address skills such as sensory motor processing, self-regulation, positioning, core strength and stability, visual perception, fine motor, play and social interactions.