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What Is Play-Based Therapy and How Can It Help My Child?

What Is Play-Based Therapy and How Can It Help My Child?

Your child has delayed development in some areas, and you see his struggle. Perhaps your child has weak fine motor skills and can’t button his clothes or use a pencil as he should in first grade. If he has a problem with gross motor skills, he may have frequent accidents and skinned knees. If it’s a sensory issue, he may refuse to eat healthy foods or wear certain clothes. 

Play-based occupational therapy helps address areas of delayed development that are the basis for functional skills your child needs to be independent and well-adjusted to his environment. Our board-certified occupational and speech therapists with Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy use play therapy to motivate your child as he improves his functional skills. 

If your child has developmental delays, he will tend to avoid optional activities that use skills he finds difficult to perform. Occupational and speech therapy both use games and fun activities that engage your child so that he’s having fun while he practices skills that are weak. Over time, he can improve his facility and feel more comfortable when he needs to use those skills at school and in life. 

At our two offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, our therapists engage your child with a sensory issue in sensory play. Kinetic sand can be shaped into molds but also flows when it’s released. Your child can cut it or scoop it to practice using utensils and improve fine motor skills or pack it into cups to increase muscle strength in the fingers. 

Examples of play-based occupational therapy 

We also use paint in play-based therapy. Finger painting and using a brush are great activities to improve fine motor skills. Finger painting teaches toddlers how to use one finger at a time. Painting with sponges or brushes helps develop muscles needed to grip a pencil. His brain is helping interpret how his muscles need to respond when holding the paintbrush or sponge, and new neural pathways are forming

Making crafts helps strengthen visual motor integration, motor planning, muscle strength and coordination, visual perception, and more so that when your child needs to use a pencil, type on a keyboard, or use a mouse, he is able to do so. 

We use puzzles, pegboards, and other objects to strengthen your child’s eye-hand coordination and dexterity. Board games, games with balls, cards, and other fun activities help your child learn to take turns, work on impulse control, and learn social skills.  

Our therapists select the toys and the items for play that are the right challenge for your child so that he’s practicing skills and having fun at the same time. We modify the environment or the toy when needed to optimize your child’s learning. 

Call Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy or book an appointment online for a consultation on how we can help your child develop to his fullest potential. 

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