As pediatric occupational therapists, we naturally think about what skills, activities, and requirements occupy a child’s day. While the words occupation and child aren’t often thought of together, pediatric OT’s think in these terms a lot! So what occupations do children have?
Ah, one of those broken record days. These are the days when you wonder if the words coming out are really reaching your child’s ears? Or maybe it’s a jumping bean day, when it is near impossible for anyone to stick with something for longer than 2 minutes (and 2 minutes is good!). We experience those days.
You know that comforting smell of pancakes in the morning. Eyes sparkling and stomach growling, your nose pointing towards the sky as that big inhale takes in the scent spiraling through the kitchen. You notice the light glow of the batter as it begins to bubble, and slide your spatula along the pan to scoop up the beautifully shaped breakfast treat.
So often, children are identified with fine motor skill challenges when they begin picking up those crayons and pencils to draw and write. Ideas that our kiddos have in their heads just don’t seem to come out on paper with the same enthusiasm and clarity. Fast forward to homework time: frustrations flare, papers rip, and power struggles dominate the desk or dinner table.
Gross motor coordination abilities are often noticed as we watch our children grow. They play chase with friends, scramble up rock piles, and attempt to ride that new bike without training wheels. Some are graceful (for the most part!), without missing a beat. Others, not so much. It just doesn’t seem to come as ‘naturally’ for some as it does to Johnny down the street.
The term ‘muscle tone’ can be quite unfamiliar for many. Maybe this is the first time you have heard it, or maybe you feel you have heard it oh too many times! For those who are new to the term and wondering if your child might have low muscle tone, ask yourself these questions: