April is National Occupational Therapy Month. Do you know what occupational therapy (OT) is? Occupational Therapists (OT) help people, children and adults, perform their “occupations”. What are occupations? All activities which a person needs or wants to do in their daily lives like getting dressed, interacting with others, participating in hobbies, playing, going to work, caring for others, as examples. One of the occupations of children is to be able to communicate with their teachers in writing. This requires fine motor skills sufficient for the teacher to read what the child writes such as in writing spelling words or doing math problems. An OT may evaluate a child who is having difficulty with fine motor skills and design fun activities to strengthen these skills. However, much more is involved than just looking at the skill itself. Good skills are the result of arm and trunk/core stability. For example, a child needs to be seated in a chair which allows his feet to be firmly on the floor. He needs also to have good arm and shoulder positioning and to be able to manipulate objects in his/her hand. The child needs the sensory input to know how hard to hold the pencil and how hard to push down on the pencil. It is only when these and other developmental milestones are reached that writing, buttoning, coloring, doing small construction activities, etc. can easily be accomplished. If a child is having difficulty with these tasks, the OTs at Possabilities Children’s Therapy Group can help guide parents in knowing how to help him/her.

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In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month, here are some fun activities to do at home:
**Games which have the child on all 4’s such as crawling through obstacle courses, chasing each other pretending to be animals
**”Wheelbarrow Walking”-walking on hands while an adult holds the child’s feet
**Dressing and undressing dolls which have fasteners/buttons on them
**Toys such as Lite Brites, Legos or pegboards
**Silly Putty, Slime and other toys with texture
**Coloring with crayons, Dot to Dots, mazes, making birthday cards for relatives
**Painting with cotton swabs
**Writing letters in a cookie sheet filled with salt or cornmeal

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