A teacher’s job can become very hectic when trying to help each child with their own specific challenges. An occupational therapist (ot) can be an excellent resource and adjunct to helping students overcome challenges and excel in the classroom. Here are a few tips to help a teacher identify if a child could benefit from an occupational therapy evaluation and treatment. (This is by no means a complete list of behaviors or challenges in the classroom that an OT can help with.)
10 Signs A Child Needs OT:
- The child is a bystander or observer on the playground and rarely tries out the equipment independently.
- The child has poor posture while sitting in a chair at the table and during situations of unsupported sitting, for example, during circle time the child is observed to roll or move around a lot on the floor.
- The child has a difficult time walking in line or being close to other children. The child appears to be irritated by touch from other people but frequently touches things themselves.
- The child frequently chooses the same familiar game or activity and avoids learning new motor activities or games.
- The child avoids fine motor activities. They have difficulty manipulating small objects, using scissors, demonstrate an abnormal pencil grip, or their hand tires easily during fine motor tasks. The child may press too hard or too light on the paper when writing.
- The child seems to have more difficulty than peers putting on their coat, putting on and tying shoes, and buttoning.
- The child has trouble putting together puzzles or finding a specific object in the classroom.
- The child frequently runs into things in the classroom, falls to the floor, or purposely crashes into things or people.
- The child has more trouble than their peers writing in their assignment notebook, keeping their desk and folders organized, and turning in assignments on time.
- The child takes excessive risks and frequently demonstrates decreased safety awareness.
If you see any of these behaviors or characteristics in the kids you know, every-day life may be more difficult to get through for them than for other children, and is going to affect their success in school. Help these kids by seeking out an occupational therapist for techniques and strategies to improve their academic success and overall daily performance. Also, it is important to note that many children will exhibit the above behaviors and may or may not require Occupational Therapy (OT) intervention therefore it is important to consult with an OT first.