Special Education: Which Kids Need Occupational Therapy?

Special Education: Which Kids Need Occupational Therapy?

In special education, there are several tools that we use to help children to reach their developmental milestones. Every child develops at their own pace and faces individual challenges, which is why one-on-one or small group occupational therapy is such a valuable tool for special educators. At Watch Me Shine, our occupational therapists work with early intervention providers to craft programs that build from their strengths to develop more skills. But how do you know if your child needs occupational therapy?

Let’s take a look at the signs special education professionals look for to identify which kids need occupational therapy.


Developmental Milestones

Kids who show signs of developmental delays usually benefit a lot from occupational therapy. The timeline for developmental milestones isn’t hard and fast, but there are things your child should be able to do by the time they reach certain ages. For example, children should be able to crawl by a year and walk steadily on their own by age two.


Motor Skills

There are two types of motor skills: gross motor and fine motor. Gross motor skills use large muscle groups and involve endurance, strength, balance, and coordination. Examples of gross motor skills include jumping and climbing stairs. Fine motor skills require the strength and control of the small hand muscles. An early fine motor skill is learning to use the “pincer grasp” with the thumb and index finger. If kids are behind on fine motor skills, they will have trouble learning to write and use tools like scissors.


Sensory Processing

Sensory processing problems can show themselves in different ways. Children who seem to overreact to sensory input, such as physical touch, textures, sounds, or tastes and smells, can often benefit from occupational therapy. Kids with sensory processing problems need help learning how to take in that sensory input and react appropriately. Kids can also display under-sensitivity by constantly seeking out sensory input.


Special Education and Occupational Therapy at WMS

Every kid is different and the therapists and providers at Watch Me Shine know that there is no “one size fits all” approach to special education. If you or your child’s pediatrician thinks that they could benefit from occupational therapy, our team at Watch Me Shine will create a unique program to aid their development.


Contact us at (207) 990-0162 to learn more about Watch Me Shine and our services.

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