Our paediatric occupational therapists apply their specialist knowledge to help your child develop independence in all their activities whether at school, at home or at play.
Our therapists work with babies, children and teenagers up to the age of 18. With an expert understanding of child development and paediatric conditions, they analyse why a child may be struggling to carry out specific tasks and work to develop a plan to address the specific issues.
Fine Motor skills
Fine motor skills are achieved when children learn to use the smaller muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists to complete tasks. Children use their fine motor skills when writing, holding small items, dressing, turning pages, eating, cutting with scissors, and using computer keyboards. Your OT can help to identify reasons for fine motor skill delays and work out ways to improve them.
Gross Motor skills
Gross motor skills are a prerequisite for children’s progress at school, as well for their play and independence. Difficulty with these skills, often caused by clumsy or uncoordinated movement, lead to problems with everyday tasks such as dressing, eating, running or riding a bike.
We regularly assist parents and schools concerned about a child struggling with classroom or playground activities because of problems with gross motor skills. Our practical advice and treatment programs enable them to grow in ability and confidence in all areas of daily life.
Handwriting is a complex task and there are many reasons a child may struggle with this. Your occupational therapist will complete an assessment to identify the underlying issues and then work to correct them.
Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into responses. Unlike people who have impaired sight or hearing, those with Sensory Processing Disorder do detect the sensory information; however, the sensory information gets “mixed up” in their brain and therefore the responses are inappropriate in the context in which they find themselves.
Our therapists use a sensory integration approach that focuses on making SPD easier to manage in day-to-day life. OT-SI uses fun, stimulating activities to challenge patients’ senses without overwhelming them and teaching them to identify strategies to help them cope in their everyday environment.
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is also known as dyspraxia. This is a neuro-motor disorder that affects approximately 6-8% of the population. Children with DCD may have the following difficulties:
- Poor physical coordination such as hopping, catching and kicking a ball.
- Have an awkward running gait and be slower than other children.
- Issues with fine motor skills: handwriting and drawings are less developed than other children their age.
- Poor handwriting: difficulty with letter formation, writing on the line and copying from the board.
- Self-care tasks: doing up buttons and zips, tying shoelaces
- Bumps into objects all the time and frequently fall over.
- Poor organisation and executive functioning skills
The motor difficulties experienced by individuals with DCD are not a result of physical deficits. DCD, like many developmental disorders, is neurological in origin – that is, it has its basis in the brain. The brain is a network of neural connections that allow us to process the information we receive. DCD is a result of weak or disorganized connections in the brain, which then translates to difficulties with motor coordination.
Our occupational Therapists work with your child to improve the brain/body connection to allow for new skills to be learnt and executed with confidence.
Dysgraphia is a condition that causes trouble with written expression and is neurological in origin. More specifically, it is a working memory problem.
Individuals with dysgraphia fail to develop normal connections among the different brain regions needed for writing. People with dysgraphia also have difficulty in automatically remembering and mastering the sequence of motor movements required to write letters or numbers.
The symptoms of dysgraphia are often overlooked or attributed to the student being lazy, unmotivated, not caring, or having delayed visual-motor processing. Correct and sequential teaching of skills helps the child learn to understand their condition and develop strategies to manage in the classroom.
Occupational therapists also work with teachers and schools to assist them to understand the issues and modify tasks appropriately.