The most common areas that Occupational Therapists support within preschool and kindergarten classrooms are:
1. Fine Motor Skills
This includes children’s control of how they hold a writing tool, or manipulate scissors. Fine motor also includes upper body strength, finger dexterity, hand preference and skills such as cutting, forming pre-printing shapes, beading and lacing etc.
2. Organizational Skills
This is how children plan, organize and carry out the tasks of an activity (e.g. craft, getting dressed/undressed, movement and action songs etc.)
3. Visual Processing Skills
This is how children interpret the visual information from their environment. For example: sizes, shapes, and colors. This is important for early literacy skills (e.g. reading and writing).
4. Gross Motor Skills
This area involves coordination, balance, core strength and endurance focusing on how children are using the big muscles of their body to support functional participation. Gross motor skills are an important precursor to developing their fine motor skills using the smaller, more precise muscles of their body.
5. Task Engagement
Learning and Play skills: We look to see how children can concentrate and maintain their attention with an activity. We also support children in learning how to problem solve, play and follow routines.
6. Self-help Skills
This includes dressing, hand washing, feeding, and toileting etc.
7. Sensory Processing
Sensory processing refers to the way that the nervous system receives, interprets and responds to sensory input. Sensory processing is a complex process that affects functional performance in daily routines and activities. Every person has 7 sensory systems: taste, touch, sight, sound, smell, balance (vestibular) and body awareness (proprioceptive) which help shape our understanding of the world and how we respond to it.