Occupational Therapy Services
Shine Early Intervention’s Occupational Therapy team believe every child should have the chance to reach their full potential. Our therapists work with children who have Sensory Processing Disorders, Autism, Developmental Delay, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and other challenges. Therapy can be provided to assist in the following areas.
Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills include learning to sit, crawl, walk, jump and climb. These essential skills involve large muscles in the body. Children with gross motor difficulties may:
- Have a delay in developing motor milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking, managing stairs.
- Appear to be tired & ‘floppy’ (have low muscle tone).
- Avoid gross motor activities.
- Appear to be clumsy & have difficulty with activities that require balance & coordination such as jumping, hopping, skipping, climbing, catching a ball.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are necessary for activities which require the coordination of the smaller muscles in the hands & upper limbs such as: drawing & writing, using scissors, threading, puzzles, using cutlery, manipulating small objects such as buttons, zippers & tying shoe laces. Children who have fine motor difficulties may:
- Find it difficult to copy a simple drawing or writing.
- Have difficulty doing activities that require the coordination of both hands such as using scissors, threading, building with blocks.
- Manipulating small objects such as doing puzzles, buttons, shape sorters, picking up small items.
‘Visual perception’ refers to how children identify, process & interpret visual information from their environment. It enables children to notice differences and relationships between objects, for example, matching shapes & colours, putting a puzzle together, remembering sight words, copying a block design or a picture from the board. Children who have visual perception difficulties may:
- Have difficulty putting puzzles together & matching shapes & colours.
- Have difficulty copying physical actions, block designs, drawings.
- Locating an item such as a toy from a group of toys.
These are an essential and practical part of a child's everyday life. They include: feeding; dressing, sleeping, bathing, grooming, toileting and oral hygiene to name a few. Children may experience difficulties with:
- Using cutlery or eating a range of foods.
- Dressing independently.
- Settling to sleep or sleeping through the night.
- Getting in/out of the bath or shower.
- Toilet training.
In order to learn & function in the world, children take in sensory information from their body & their environment, including: what they see (visual), what they hear (auditory), touch (tactile), smell, taste, deep pressure through the skin, muscles & joints (proprioception), movement through space (vestibular). Difficulty processing sensory information may affect a child’s ability to detect, organise, process & respond to sensory information from within their body or in their environment. This can impact on the child’s ability to perform daily tasks, regulate their emotions & activity level and can affect their behaviour responses. A child with a Sensory Processing Disorder may:
- Be easily distracted by what they see or hear.
- Be a fussy eater; be particular about what they wear; avoid messy play.
- Find grooming activities such as having a haircut, face wiped or teeth cleaned distressing.
- Jump, run, bump into people & objects, enjoy crashing or spin more than others.
- Have difficulty sitting still & be very active.
Play & Social Skills:
Play is more than just fun for babies and children. They learn, work out who they are, how the world works and where they fit into the world through play with people & objects. Children who are having difficulties in this essential area of development may:
- Be repetitive in play – playing the same game over & over or only playing with certain toys.
- Have difficulty engaging in pretend play or lack imagination in play.
- Prefer to play by themselves & find it difficult to include others in their play.
- Have difficulty taking turns or sharing equipment.
These are the ‘learning skills’ children need to develop such as attention, memory and thinking. They include skills such as: counting, colours, shape matching, problem-solving. Children experiencing difficulty with cognitive skills may:
- Find it difficult to learn & remember new things.
- Have difficulty paying attention & focusing.
- Experience difficulty working out how to use a toy by themselves.