National Occupational Therapy Month: How Occupational Therapy in Early Childhood Can Help Our Kids Succeed

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National Occupational Therapy Month: How Occupational Therapy in Early Childhood Can Help Our Kids Succeed

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National Occupational Therapy Month: How Occupational Therapy in Early Childhood Can Help Our Kids Succeed

For all children, the first three years of life are critical for brain development. This becomes even more crucial if the child is restricted in development in any way. One great way to make sure that every child has the best chances of optimum development is by utilizing occupational therapy. Targeting that young and evolving brain allows new skills to be formed that can exponentially help throughout life.

Children with specific conditions such as Down syndrome or autism can hugely benefit from occupational therapy. It is even covered by programs called early intervention that are funded by government dollars to aid in this rehabilitation. Besides therapy, it also includes support services to make sure each child is able to benefit from early intervention.

Because each child is different, there is typically an evaluation to determine what the child needs and what the parents have in mind for goals. Once this is determined, the occupational therapist is able to create an individualized plan including in session and at home exercises. Just with most therapy, at home exercises are crucial to progression. The skills are targeted to everyday tasks that the child will need to succeed such as being able to feed themselves.

General hand eye coordination and use of hands is a very common goal for therapists and parents alike. One milestone may be isolating the index finger while picking up large chunks of food or pointing at objects. Being able to grasp food, push buttons, and point at things the child wants may seem like small tasks, but they’re huge victories for families with children struggling with fine motor skills.

Early intervention is key to helping our children, especially those with restricted developmental, succeed in life. A developing brain soaks in information like a sponge and is more likely to retain new skills. With the support of an occupational therapist, a family can feel confident that their dreams and goals are being heard and worked towards.