by Leora Goldman MS, OTR/L
Integrated Pediatric Therapies at JCFS Chicago
As with all beginnings, starting school can be a very exciting, yet challenging time in a child's life—suddenly there is a different environment to adapt to, unfamiliar people to get to know and a new set of rules to follow. A child may be introduced to different activities which require skills not frequently used at home.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if occupational therapy can help you and your child have a successful transition to pre-school and kindergarten.
- Does your child have a hard time sitting and focusing during circle time at school? Does he or she get easily distracted by the objects and people around? Does he or she move around a lot, fidget or squirm in his or her chair?
- Is your child having difficulty holding a marker, coloring or cutting?
- Does he or she not like to get messy during arts and crafts or messy play time at school?
- Does he or she have a hard time transitioning between activities or between home and school?
- Does your child shy away from playing on playground equipment? Doe he or she appear weak or seem to have less endurance than peers?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, your child may benefit from meeting with an occupational therapist. The role of an occupational therapist is to help children develop age-appropriate fine motor, visual motor and sensory processing skills, as well as increase strength, endurance and motor planning skills to be successful in his or her daily activities.
Having a solid foundation of skills assists in the development of self-confidence, which is a key component for children's success in school. Developing a skill and using it correctly will encourage your child to try new activities, thereby expanding his or her skills, which is the foundation for continued learning and success in school.