Signs that a Child May Need Occupational Therapy

Inability to focus

If the child is having trouble focusing on his homework, it may be a sign that he’s having difficulty concentrating in class. Most children won’t entirely focus on completing a homework assignment, but if the child gets distracted by noises or movement at home, he might also have difficulty paying attention at school and may not be getting the most out of his education. This is not necessarily a sign of attention-deficit disorder (ADD). While many may have problems focusing, children with ADD will frequently display:

  • Impulsivity – trouble censoring words and emotions and will interrupt people
  • Overactivity/Hyperactivity – issues staying still and wandering off when they’re expected to remain seated
  • Inattention – inability to focus even when trying to and may get tired from working so hard to pay attention
  • Distractibility – distraction stemming from the brain’s struggle to filter out extra information such as a sound or an itch that would cause the child to lose focus

Occupational therapy can help children stay focused by:

  • Allowing sensory breaks into the child’s day – allowing the child to walk around at regular intervals
  • Providing products to ease their stress, such as therapy fidget toys and chewable pencil tops and jewelry
  • Enabling special seating and testing in a separate room to help avoid sensory overload

Poor Motor Skills

Another sign that the child may need occupational therapy is if he struggles with necessary motor skills. A few examples of poor motor skills are:

  • Difficulty holding a pencil correctly
  • Difficulty erasing completely
  • Difficulty cutting, folding, or coloring

If the child seems like he’s struggling with these basic motor skills, you may need to consider occupational therapy. Occupational therapy can help the child improve motor skills by:

  • Implementing activities that will develop hand and finger muscles such as popping bubble wrap
  • Improving hand-eye coordination with customized exercises
  • Using games like Connect 4 to enhance fine motor skills

In addition to these activities and exercises, occupational therapists may use other techniques like letting the child set a dinner table by using two hands to carry and balance a tray.


Math Problems

Many children struggle with math at some point. When a child has difficulty learning math, the finger is usually pointed at the teacher or the actual lesson plan. Sometimes, a child could be struggling with math problems because he has a hard time lining up the numbers correctly. Without being able to line up the numbers, solving math problems and equations becomes an impossible feat for your child. This could stem from an issue with spatial organization which can also be improved with occupational therapy.

Have a look at the Momma Mia website for more info –


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Find an Occupational Therapist near you – Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa