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.