ASSESSMENT FOR THE NEED FOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (O.T.) FOR THE CHILD AGED 4 1/2 – 5 years
As most parents are not trained in the field of Occupational Therapy, they need a guideline as to when to refer a child to an Occupational Therapist. I used the following checklist when I was teaching.
• Poor concentration
• Easily distracted
• Poor memory
• Fidgets with hands or feet
• Difficulty understanding instructions
• Poor decision making
• Is aggressive toward others
• Is passive, hard to interest
• Gives up easily
• Often cries or is weepy
• Is timid – fearful of physical activity such as jumping, climbing or swinging
• Poor posture when sitting or standing
• Constantly bumps into furniture or trips – is clumsy
• Swops crayons/pencil from one hand to the other
• Difficulty manipulating objects – for example, beads, blocks and puzzles or turning pages
• Unable to catch and throw a ball
• Presses very hard when using a pencil
• When doing dot-to-dot exercises, rhythm is not consistent – jerky movements or wavy line far out of the dots
• Constantly rubs eyes
• Gets very close to work
• Frowns or squints when looking at something from a distance
• Abnormal head posture and movement when looking at something
• Oversensitive to touch
• Has trouble keeping hands to himself – will poke/push other children
• Avoids putting hands in messy materials e.g. clay, paints
• Tends to wear a jersey when not needed
• Dislikes being cuddled or hugged unless initiated by himself
• Difficulty naming or matching colours, shapes or sizes
• Difficulty in completing puzzles
• Difficulty with smooth eye-tracking (following an object with the eyes, not moving the head)
• Poor drawing of a person – poor body image
• Has difficulty drawing shapes
THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST (O.T.) PROVIDES INTERVENTION AND ASSISTANCE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
Motor abilities covers the development of both gross- and fine- motor skills, with particular emphasis on developing purposeful hand function, perceptual-motor abilities and general levels of motor function to aid in daily life skills.
This refers to how the child processes, interprets and modulates sensory information from the environment (e.g. noise, touch, smells).
Cognitive skills include perception, concept formation, sequencing, problem solving, memory, attention and motor planning skills.
Visual Perceptual Skills:
Visual perception refers to the ability to identify, organise and interpret data received through the eyes.
Auditory Perceptual Skills:
Auditory perception refers to the ability to identify, organise and interpret data received through the ears.
This encompasses the exploration and encouragement of specific movement and other skills through play.
Social and Emotional Skills:
This refers to inter-personal relationships and the practice of social skills in everyday situations.
Many, many children today have to go for Occupational Therapy because of the lifestyle we lead. There is not much fine- or gross- motor co-ordination exercises due to TV, hand held games, iPad and other tablet apps etc. Children are no longer climbing trees, playing games such as hopscotch, charms, tops etc. Our program caters for the development of the whole child, as in days gone by. We encourage free play, outdoor play, and have even implemented our tried and tested WONDERSKILLS program into each and every session. For more information follow this link: www.aohbl.com/shop
The O.T. will assess the development of the whole child – sensory development, spatial problems, balance issues etc. and will recommend certain activities to correct any problems. There’s nothing frightening about it – they do things by play – they play games, do jigsaws, paint, roll on a ball etc. according to what needs to be developed.