Sunday, June 3, 2007

Role of OT: Developmental Problems in Children

Developmental Problems in Children
(From the American OT Association: Reproducible consumer handout to further public education)

A child with delayed development may not show behaviors and abilities that are typical of the child’s age. A child may have difficulty swallowing, sucking, and chewing; developing coordinated tongue movements for speech; achieving independence in feeding, dressing, and using the bathroom; understanding relationships between people, objects, time, and space; and developing problem-solving and coping strategies.

Occupational therapists who work with children are knowledgeable about stages of development and the appropriate milestones in a child's physical, mental, and behavioral development.

What can an occupational therapist do?

  • Evaluate the child's level of performance in critical developmental areas.

  • Observe the child’s home and school environment and determine how it may be modified to promote better development.

  • Develop a plan of treatment in coordination with other health care professionals who are treating the child.

  • Develop age-appropriate self-care routines and habits, play skills, and social skills.

  • Recommend adaptive equipment to facilitate the development of age-appropriate abilities.

What can parents and families do?

  • Stay educated about and involved in the child’s treatment plan.

  • Follow up with the treating occupational therapist and health professionals to encourage further development and track progress.

Need more information?

Children of all ages can be affected by developmental delays; such children can often benefit from occupational therapy. Occupational therapists are trained to help people of all ages with a broad range of physical, developmental, and behavioral health conditions.

Copyright 2002 American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This page may be reproduced and distributed without prior written consent.

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