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We care about meeting your child's needs

What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?

To understand occupational therapy, the word “occupation” needs to be explained. An occupation is more than the job you do. It is any activity that occupies your time; it refers to anything you need or want to do throughout your day. Your occupation has meaning and purpose. All ages have occupations that they participate in. The pediatric occupational therapists at Sunflower Therapy Centers (STC) are experts at helping infants through adolescents participate in the occupations or activities that they need and want to do. This could include finishing homework, playing catch with their friends, or completing self-care tasks. A primary “occupation” of children is to learn and grow through play and our OTs love to play! 


Looking at the whole child, occupational therapists at STC specialize in identifying your child’s underlying difficulties that affect their participation in daily activities. This will be determined and addressed through assessment and treatment of motor development, executive functioning skills, visual-motor integration, and sensory processing aspects of each child. When children receive OT here they will find the help they need to build the foundational skills to be successful throughout their lives.

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How do I know if my child needs OT?

If your child is exhibiting any of the following challenges or you have concerns regarding their development, it is recommended that you seek out a comprehensive evaluation by an occupational therapist.

Early Childhood aged children

sensory processing

  • Avoids messy play

  • Seeks out excessive rough and tumble play

  • Shows displeasure when touched or handled

  • Unable to sit quietly during story time

  • Does not like water on head 

  • Walks on tip-toes consistently

  • Does not like to swing or craves movement

  • Fearful of feet leaving the ground

sensory processing considerations

Gross motor, coordination, postural considerations

  • Difficulty opening doors by knob

  • Dislikes being on tummy

  • Struggles with crawling

  • Does not bring hands to midline while on back

  • Unable to sit without support

  • Low interest in exploring the environment

  • Difficulty jumping in place with both feet

Fine Motor / Visual Motor / Visual Perceptual Considerations

  • Unable to complete a 3-4 piece puzzle

  • Difficulty stacking rings or blocks

  • Struggles with matching colors and shapes

  • Difficulty retrieving and feeding self small food items (i.e. cheerios)

  • Does not point with index finger

  • Fails to transfer objects between hands

  • Does not imitate simple strokes

  • Trouble snipping with scissors

  • Struggles to get undressed

executive functioning/cognitive considerations

  • Does not imitate real-life activities in play

  • Does not react to disappearance of slowly moving object

  • Difficulty understanding activation of mechanical toy

  • Struggles with understanding and completing simple 1-2 step tasks

  • Struggles to assist in dressing or other self-care tasks

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Preschool and school aged children

sensory processing

  • Craves movement, is constantly in motion

  • Avoids movement / playground equipment, prefers sedentary play

  • Difficulties with attention, sitting still

  • Resistant to change or transitions

  • Is sensitive to noise, touch, texture, taste, smell etc.

  • Uses too much or too little force for an activity

  • Has poor safety awareness, takes risks

  • Has frequent meltdowns and is difficult to comfort

  • Is a picky eater

  • Is under-responsive to sensations (high pain tolerance, doesn’t notice messy face or hands)

sensory processing considerations

Fine Motor / Visual Motor / Visual Perceptual Considerations

  • Complains of hand fatigue during writing activities

  • Struggles with or avoids coloring, cutting, drawing, writing

  • Difficulty recognizing, matching or copying shapes

  • Struggles with buttons, zippers, snaps, shoes

  • Struggles with putting together puzzles

Gross motor, coordination, postural considerations

  • Is clumsy, falls frequently

  • Fatigues faster, seems weaker than their peers

  • Difficulty completing tasks requiring coordination of limbs such as riding a bike, swinging, jumping rope, or playing sports

  • Struggles to stay in a upright, seated position at the table

  • Is observed to “w-sit”

executive functioning/cognitive considerations

  • Struggles with remembering or following multi-step directions

  • Has difficulty with organizational skills

  • Requires constant reminders to initiate or stay on task

  • Sequencing activities is difficult, such as completing all steps to brushing teeth appropriately

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Remember that every child is unique and develops at their own pace. If you are concerned and feel that your child is struggling to acquire any of the above skills, we would love to talk with you about how we can help!
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