Child Development

Children with delayed development may not show behaviors and abilities that are appropriate for the child’s age. A child may have trouble swallowing, sucking, and chewing; developing coordinated tongue actions for speech; obtaining independence with feeding, dressing, and going to the restroom; comprehending relationships between people, objects, time, and space; and developing problem-solving and coping strategies.

Occupational Therapists who facilitate children are educated about stages of development and the typical milestones in a child’s physical, mental, and behavioral development.

What can an Occupational Therapist do?

  • Evaluate the child’s current level of performance in critical developmental areas.
  • Observe the child’s home and school environment to determine how it may be optimal to promote better development.
  • Develop a plan of treatment in coordination with other participating health care professionals.
  • Develop self-care routines and habits, play and social skills appropriate to the child’s age.
  • Recommend adaptive equipment to help the development of age-appropriate abilities.

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What can parents and families do?

  • Stay educated about and involved in the child’s treatment plan.
  • Follow up with both the treating Occupational Therapist and health professionals to personally encourage future developments and follow progress.

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Need more information?

Children of all ages can be affected by developmental delays; such children can often benefit from occupational therapy. If you would like to consult an occupational therapist, your physician, other health professionals, and your school district’s director of special education may have information on how you can access an occupational therapist in your area.

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are trained to help people of all ages with a broad range of physical, developmental, and behavioral health conditions.


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