What Does Your Child Need?
When looking at your child, it may be hard to distinguish them from the little bundle of joy that you first laid eyes on, but it’s important to understand where and how their needs may be different from your own. After all, your child is a small human that is capable of feeling all of the emotions of a full-grown adult, but they may lack the ability to comprehend or adjust to those feelings as someone older might do. Does your child seem to go through challenges that other children may not experience? As a parent, how can you decide what areas your child needs help in and where can you go to receive that help? These are all questions that Occupational Therapy may be able to answer for you.
What Is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy centers itself around building your child’s motor and life skills to engage richly in the life around them. It allows for your child to learn how to absorb the experiences around them and regulate their reactions to expand their understanding of themselves and others. While “traditional” therapy may help your child regulate themselves through significant experiences in their past/present lives, occupational therapy focuses on the everyday regulatory system of a child, giving them the guidance and tools they need to help adjust themselves to day-to-day life. Occupational therapy is especially helpful for children who have special needs past sensory building and regulation; children who live on the Autism or ADHD spectrum can benefit greatly from the tools that occupational therapy has to offer. Additionally, children who may have suffered chronic illnesses, serious injuries or developmental delays may do well out of the lessons given in occupational therapy.
Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?
Understanding what your child needs can be difficult for any parent, whether first time or a seasoned vet, but it’s important to recognize where your child’s needs may be stemming from so that you can seek the appropriate help for them. Every child is different in their own unique way, especially if they fall anywhere on the spectrum where their needs may require additional time and patience to fully appreciate. Connecting with your child is the best way to learn how they see the world and how their experience differs from your own. Actively listening to your child, being present in their play time and down time, asking questions that engage them in meaningful conversations are all simple steps you can take as a parent to help acknowledge the struggles your child may be going through. There are many different ways to tell if your child is ready for or needs occupational therapy, but being open to the idea of them receiving outside help may show your child that there is nothing to be worried or fearful of this new experience. For children with sensory system regulation difficulties, meeting someone new and being vulnerable with that person may feel like a huge challenge, potentially leading to refusing the guidance offered to them. It is important to discern for yourself whether your child is ready to take the next steps of understanding themselves and their world a little bit better. Allowing and encouraging your child to be open about their struggles and needs will make your occupational therapy experience all the more fruitful and engaging for all parties involved.
Why Choose Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy utilizes a variety of methods to help your child progress and grow with each session. All of these tools can help a different area of your child’s life or teach them new ways to process their needs. Here are some of the ways in which occupational therapy can assist in your child’s growth:
- Sensory Integration – understanding and organizing sensory input and responding appropriately.
- Life Skills – feeding and oral motor skills, toileting management, organizing schedules, self-help skills.
- Emotional Regulation – increasing self-awareness and understanding appropriate responses.
- Social Skills – listening to and communicating effectively with others.
Children of all backgrounds will need to seek help for things in their lives that they may not understand. As a parent, it is essential to be there when your child reaches out for your comfort and guidance, especially when you realize that some of their needs may be beyond your control. Making the attempt to seek out occupational therapy may be the example that your child needs to set them on the path of wanting to appreciate their differences and accept the help they’re provided.
It can be difficult for children to learn how to regulate their emotions and senses while still actively participating in the world around them. Occupational therapy opens the doors for your child to fully grasp their sense of self so they can walk confidently through the world being the person they were meant to be. At Uplift Therapy, we strive to create a safe space where your child can openly learn to be themselves and gain the tools needed to help them navigate life. If you believe your child is ready for occupational therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us and begin your child’s transformation.