We asked Parent24.com’s occupational therapy (OT) expert Paula Barnard-Ashton for a list of common warning signs that indicate that your child may need OT.
The following list applies to children who have developmental delays or learning difficulties and not to those with neurological problems or disabilities such as amputations and burns etc., which can also be treated by OT.
Paula emphasises, however, that lists like this are very open to interpretation and tend to limit the total, much broader scope of OT. “There are many more indicators”, she says, “and we usually only treat children who present with more than two or three of these factors”.
- When sitting on the floor (perhaps while watching TV or during class circle time): sitting with his knees in front of him or preferring to lie down rather than sitting cross-legged.
- When drawing or colouring in: a tendency to swap the crayon from hand to hand (this is only an indicator in children older than six).
- Difficulty in drawing a triangle, because he or she just can’t seem to get the direction right (this is only an indicator in children older than six).
- Poor ball skills as compared to peers of the same age (e.g. difficulty bouncing and catching a ball, kicking a rolling ball or throwing a ball at a target).
- A child who is fussy and irritable during morning dressing and getting ready for his or her daily routines (e.g. he or she dislikes brushing teeth and hair, avoids getting dressed, and fusses about breakfast).
More information about occupational therapy: