10 signs your child might need occupational therapy Does your child have difficulty getting dressed for preschool? Do they have trouble paying attention to others? Occupational therapy helps children with their day-to-day activities at home, school and in the community. Here are some common signs that occupational therapy might benefit your child: Your child has frequent meltdowns, often triggered by feelings of being overwhelmed by situations, sounds or sensations that don’t affect other children in the same way Your child is very busy, or ‘on the go’ all the time, and finds it extremely difficult to focus on one thing at a time Your child is hard to get moving, often appears to be physically weak or ‘floppy’, and is reluctant to participate in activities with the family or other children Your child is bothered by sensations that other children of the same age would generally cope with, such as tags on clothing or loud noises Your child has difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep Your child refuses to eat a variety of foods, or food textures (such as mushy, crunchy, or smelly foods) Your child has difficulty using their hands for eating, playing, drawing, writing, or using scissors Your child has difficulty dressing themselves Your child is not yet toilet-trained when typically expected Your child has difficulty sitting up straight in their chair, sitting still during class, or participating in day-to-day tasks like putting a book back on the shelf How can occupation therapy help? Occupational Therapy helps children do all the activities they need or want to do in a typical day. We can help your child with their self-care skills, such as getting dressed, using the toilet, feeding themselves, sleeping, playing and interacting with others. Occupational therapy can also help a child use their hands to carry, open and catch, and get used to a variety of sensations—sounds, sights, movements and touch. There might be other activities, or ‘jobs’, that your child needs help with. This could include sitting with a group of friends, listening, participating, and engaging in family outings. —Bonnie Barry, Firstchance occupational therapist Seeking support for your child Recognise these signs in your child? Children who exhibit one or more of these behaviours may not always need occupational therapy. However, this list provides a helpful indication of whether extra support might benefit your child—and you, as their parent or guardian. You can seek support from our experienced Firstchance occupational therapists or contact us to find out more.