Top 10 tips for school-aged children in occupational therapy

By: RandyYoumans

While you are excited to see what occupational therapy can do for your child, you worry about his reactions to another trip to a place where he will be interacting with people he doesn’t know. How can you prepare your child to attend an occupational therapy evaluation? Keltie Morrison is an occupational pediatric therapy in houston who shares some tips for helping your child at school. 

How to communicate with your child before you go

Occupational therapy isn’t like another doctor’s visit where a child is asked questions and poked. It is often like playtime.

Your child should be aware that he will have the opportunity to play with sand, swing in a huge swing suspended from the ceiling, and crunch paper fast. Talk to your therapist ahead of time to discuss the activities he will be participating in during his OT evaluation.

When seated, ensure that your child’s feet are supported. Bad posture and balance can result from feet that are too low.

Plan ahead and establish a routine. This will allow you to plan outfits, breakfasts, and packing lists pancare health for your backpacks according to your school schedule. A consistent routine will reduce the amount of rush you have to do in the morning.

Task completion: Children can be encouraged to use a visual checklist or schedule to help them complete their tasks independently. Here’s an example: A visual schedule of the steps to hand washing.

Practice is important: Give your child extra time to practice if they are learning how to fix fasteners (zipper, button, snaps). Practice on weekends, then group exercise classes move to weekdays.

Clothing confidence: Encourage your child to wear easy-to-wear clothing like pullovers, sweatpants/leggings and slip on or Velcro shoes, especially at school, to improve their independence.

Multi-sensory learning is important when helping with homework. We all have different learning styles and learn best when there are multiple sensory systems involved. Printing letters is easier when you use your fingers to make foam prints or practice with chalk.

Support your child with school organization. Help them to keep an organized schedule so that they can write down their homework and then check it off. Be consistent in keeping the agenda in the same place at home and school.

Encourage play: encourage playfulness through activities that are meaningful or motivating for your child. It is possible to simplify or adapt the activity for children who have difficulty playing. Before you introduce an activity to a group, it is best to do it individually.

School success: Talk to the teacher about reviewing class routines and rules (examples: lunch, recess, etc.). So that your child is familiar with classroom expectations and is well-prepared.

Sleep: Create a routine for your wake and sleep times and limit screen time (television, smart phones, computers) before you go to bed.