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Understanding OT

sunThe information received through all of our senses, including touch, movement, muscles, and vision, must be properly interpreted and processed by the brain in order for neurological development to proceed in a normal manner. When the brain does not receive the sensory information correctly, or shuts it out completely, the child’s ability to develop gross and fine motor skills, to be successful academically, and to develop social skills is compromised.

These children exhibit a combination of behaviors that frequently indicate that their neurological foundation is not functioning adequately for them to be successful in the fulfillment of their various roles as a child, sibling, peer, and student – yet they “look” normal.

Words such as “unmotivated,” “disinterested,” “lazy,” or comments such as “Everything that he hears, goes in one ear and out the other,” “She can’t sit still,” “He refuses to listen,” or “He explodes over nothing,” are often used to describe some of these children.

There are usually clusters of behaviors which are observed in the early developmental years that provide warning signs, and could indicate a child is experiencing deficits in neurodevelopment. Some examples of these behaviors may include:

Dislikes unexpected movement or frolic-type play
Becomes angry or upset with diaper changing, dressing/undressing, bath time
Avoids mouthing toys, hands, and feet
Difficulty transitioning to textured foods
Abnormal sleep-wake cycle
Colicky and irritable without apparent reason
Delayed or shortened crawling period
Failure to explore environment and develop play skills

For many children who look normal, neuro-developmental deficits are not identified until they enter the classroom environment. And then they are frequently addressed from a behavioral perspective and not neuro-developmentally. Examples of these behaviors may include:

Excessive need for movement or preference for more passive activities
Poor balance and coordination skills
Inconsistent responses to verbal directions or poor eye contact
Difficulty accepting change of routine and/or transition to new activity
Inconsistent ability to focus in classroom situations
Difficulty organizing learning materials and/or information

If your child has:

A developmental deficit that affects:
• Gross and fine motor skills
• Balance and coordination
• Visual motor skills
• Cognitive processing
• Learning ability
• Speech and language development
• Attention span
• Sensitivity to noises and smells
• Social behavior
• Peer relationships
• Posture and muscle tone
• Excessive drooling or gagging
• Food loss while eating/slower eater
• Picky eater
A prenatal or neonatal condition:
• Prematurity
• Traumatic birth
• Lack of oxygen at birth
• Pregnancy or birth complications
• Failure to Thrive
• Irregular sleep patterns
• Fetal Alcohol/Drug Syndrome
• Congenital abnormalities
• Neuromuscular condition
A medical condition:
• Mild or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
• Cerebral Palsy
• Congenital disorders
• Seizure Disorder
• Autism
• Visual impairment

Then we can help
By developing and improving:

• Coordination of vision, hearing, and movement
• Physical strength, endurance, and dexterity
• Age-appropriate sensory integration

• Growth in motor skills
• Safety awareness
• Functional independence
• Social skills
• A healthy self-image
• Academic readiness/learning skills