When should my child see an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational Therapy can be a fun and effective method to improve your child’s daily life.

When should my child see an Occupational Therapist?

Any time a child is not moving, behaving, or functioning at an age-appropriate level in any aspect of their life, they might see an OT for an evaluation.

Your child could benefit from occupational therapy if they have:

  • Poor coordination
  • Decreased balance (“clumsiness”)
  • Delayed motor development
  • Low muscle tone or strength
  • Difficulty with handwriting
  • Has been diagnosed with a learning disability
  • Difficulty completing tasks that seem easily attained by peers
  • Behavioral challenges or social skill issues
  • Decreased attention or ability to participate in age appropriate activities
  • Decreased self-esteem and self-concept
  • Decreased visual skills
  • Difficulties with feeding
  •  If they are a picky or messy eater

Warning Signs for Delayed Motor Development.

If you notice some of the following things about your child, you may want to talk to their doctor or to another health professional such as an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist.

18 Months.

  • She is not able to use a pincer grasp (thumb and pointer finger)
  • She does not point at things using his pointer finger
  • He child’s movements see shaky or stiff
  • She is not able to put things into containers
  • They are not able to use both hands during play

24 months (2 years).

  • She cannot imitate you drawing a vertical line ( l )
  • He is still putting lots of toys in his mouth
  • He is not able to put a simple, large puzzle piece into a wooden puzzle
  • She is not able to put a simple shape into a shape sorter
  • He cannot stack 2-3 blocks on top of one another
  • She cannot feed herself with a spoon

36 months (3 years).

  • His arms or hands seem very weak
  • She is still holding a crayon with a full fist
  • He is not able to hold scissors and snip on paper
  • He is not able to draw straight lines or circles
  • She cannot stack up several blocks

Where to go from here.

Want more guidance? Check out our free Fine and Gross Motor Online Screener.

Any time you are concerned about the development of your child, you should speak with their doctor as soon as you are able. Some of these issues can cause long-term problems for your child if left to wait.

Call us today to schedule a free meet and greet with an occupational therapist and see how Spark Therapies can help support your child at 603-843-8462.

Sources and Additional Resources.

University of Utah: Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Understood.Org: Occupational Therapy: What You Need to Know

AOTA: Learn About Occupational Therapy for Children & Youth

One Comment:

  1. It was really helpful when you said that a 3-year-old should be able to hold scissors. Last night I noticed how my daughter has been having some issues with using scissors and cutting papers, and that she holds crayons with a full fist, which you also said was a sign. I’ll have to look into finding an occupational therapist for her to see if that can help her.

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