Developmental Checklists used to determine areas of concern in children
by Cole Pediatric
Kids need help sometimes. The most common areas causing difficulty for children are recognizable to the observant parent. Knowing what to look for is the key, and Cole Pediatric Therapy’s (CPT) six Developmental Checklists for children 12 months to six years of age can help. Loving, attentive parents can often recognize the signs before anyone else. If you think something’s amiss, a phone call to their staff may lead you to the help your child needs, or assure you that it’s just a matter of needing a little more time to grow. Maybe motor skills like standing, walking, or pulling up are difficult. Or perhaps it’s small muscle movements like grasping objects, moving fingers and toes that are a little off. Your child’s ability to understand words or speak doesn’t seem to be progressing. Or the ability to think and solve simple problems doesn’t seem to be coming together. All of these can be improved with time and a little loving care from professionals who know how to make it better.
“Parents should trust their intuitive instincts when it comes to their child,” said Jason Stark, OTR, President of Cole Pediatric Therapy and the Development Chair for the Texas Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA) for the Gulf Coast District. “You know when your child isn’t acting quite right, when maybe they should be doing less of this particular thing or doing more of certain things. That’s why we encourage parents to take a look at the CPT Developmental Checklist, and then call us if they have a question. Some issues may start showing up as early as eighteen months. Some habits or actions may result from the young child’s processing system that’s not working, but just needs to be trained. Identifying a problem and treating it early is always easier on the child and the family.”
Cole Pediatric Therapy helps children to participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (their occupations). The Occupational Therapy (OT) program is designed to help children who are facing some developmental challenges. “Occupation” is what they do—the things of daily living. The OT goals help them to successfully learn, manage their behavior, develop skills, and play. The occupational therapist breaks down the task the child needs to accomplish and all the steps that are necessary to complete it successfully. One example might be a student who can’t seem to manage the dexterity to do his handwriting. The job of the therapist is to see what prevents the child from doing it. Maybe it’s poor posture caused by weak muscles leaving him without enough core strength to concentrate because it’s all he can do to sit in a chair. Things that seem like simple activities may be a big challenge to others who have difficulty with neurological or sensory processing. When a child is unable to sit in a chair, is unable to react to a situation, can’t focus on what they hear, or the tags in his shirt are so sensitive it impedes his ability to function, and then it’s a problem for him. Common occupational therapy interventions can help adults and children with disabilities find the joy in participating fully in school and social situations. “We encourage a parent to talk to your doctor if you think your child is having a developmental problem,” said Stark. “Parents often will pick up on developmental milestones before their physicians. If a parent suspects that their child needs some help, we hope they will call us. The best scenario is when we get a referral from a physician and complete an evaluation and see where the child needs to be, and then the parent can go back to the doctor and really know what they are talking about.
“Kids love therapy,” Stark said. “We meet them where they are and address the skills needed to function as they should. As a therapist you do what looks like ‘play’ to them, but it’s really addressing their developmental milestones. And in the end, the kids and parents win.”
For helpful information or to find out more about Cole Pediatric Therapy’s Occupational Therapy’s Developmental Checklists and services, call one of their seven locations in the Houston area. Visit American Occupational Therapy Association at www.aota.org for more information on OT for children and adults.