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Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Pediatric occupational therapy helps children of all ages gain independence and strength in everyday tasks that require fine motor, sensory motor, and visual motor skills in order to participate and thrive in their daily lives. Not all children require occupational therapy, but there are certain signs that may indicate your child could benefit from this intervention. If you observe any of the following, consider consulting with an occupational therapist:

Fine Motor Skills Challenges

Difficulty with tasks such as holding a pencil, buttoning clothes, or using scissors.

Feeding Challenges

Struggles with breast and/or bottle feeding, transitioning to solid foods, picky eating, and oral aversions.

Sensory Processing Issues

Overreacting or underreacting to sensory stimuli, such as being overly sensitive to touch, sound, or movement.

Poor Hand-Eye Coordination

Difficulty coordinating visual input with hand movements, impacting activities like catching a ball or tying shoelaces.

Trouble with Daily Tasks

Struggles with basic activities of daily living, such as dressing, grooming, or eating.

Social & Behavioral Challenges

Difficulty with social interactions, making friends, or regulating emotions.

Academic Struggles

Issues with handwriting, attention span, or overall academic performance.

Developmental Milestones

Fine Motor Skills

  • 6 months: Grasps objects using the whole hand (palmar grasp).
  • 12 months: Pincer grasp develops (using thumb and forefinger).
  • 2 years: Can build a tower of four or more blocks.
  • 4 years: Draws basic shapes and cuts with scissors.
  • 6 years: Writes letters and numbers with some control.

Feeding Skills

  • Newborn: Breast and/or bottle feeding.
  • 6 months: Transition to solid foods.
  • 12 months: Cup drinking and self-feeding.
  • Any age: Oral aversions will require intervention.

Sensory Processing

  • Newborn: Startle reflex to sudden noises.
  • 6 months: Begins to explore objects with mouth.
  • 2 years: Shows preferences for certain textures and tastes.
  • 4 years: Able to tolerate different clothing textures.

Social & Behavioral Development

  • 6 months: Begins to show stranger anxiety.
  • 2 years: Engages in parallel play with other children.
  • 4 years: Shows interest in playing with others, sharing becomes more common.
  • 6 years: Develops more complex friendships, understands basic emotions.