While every child is different, potty training usually begins around 18 months. I recommend watching for signs of your child’s interest in using the toilet and encouraging their exploration. Signs of readiness may include asking for a diaper change, wanting to wear pull ups, or wanting to sit on the toilet or child’s potty chair.
Typically, independent spoon and fork use is expected by 2-2 ½ years of age. By 3, the child should be able to scoop effectively during meals without a lot of spillage. A child is expected to use a knife for cutting and spreading around age 5. Chopsticks are typically used successfully around age 5 (assuming the child is frequently introduced to and allowed to practice with chopsticks regularly in the home or community).
Children are expected to legibly write their names in all capital letters around age 5.
Usually children are expected to put on all upper body and lower body clothing independently by age 4 to 4 ½.
Sensory processing varies from person to person. Sometimes, benign auditory stimuli like a vacuum cleaner or toilet flush can cause more fear or anxiety than is typical. These reactions usually stem from hyper-responsivity to auditory input and may coincide with difficulties with self-regulation. However, it is common for very young children to be frightened of new or sudden noises, and it is only cause for concern if the child is older and is frequently distressed by familiar noises.
Sensory processing varies from person to person. Sometimes, benign tactile stimuli like water or sand can cause more fear or anxiety than is typical. This is a result of the central nervous system registering the input as harmful or dangerous and prompting a flight, fight, or freeze reaction.
Sensory processing is the general term for how our body takes in information from the environment (sensory input) through our receptor organs (like our noses, eyes, mouth, skin, etc.), decodes that information, and then uses it to inform our motor reactions.
Gross motor skills include any action that uses large muscles of our body (i.e., your arms, legs, core, or any combination of those muscle groups). Examples of these include, skipping, jumping jacks, and riding a bike. In contrast, fine motor skills usually involve only the small muscles of the hands. These can include handwriting, scissor skills, utensil use, coloring, buttoning, shoe tying, etc.
Sensory integration is a method of therapy where a trained clinician presents specific types of sensory input to the child in order to facilitate an adaptive response. What this basically means is looking for increased attention or regulation, improved posture, or bilateral use during the activity. It is the clinicians’ job to present the “just right challenge” using the sensory input to promote a more organized and efficient nervous system processing.
When sensory processing or motor coordination are challenging, children can have difficulty tolerating frustration, filtering sensory input, and feeling secure in their bodies. Minor disagreements can result in big emotional reactions or aggression. An OT works to help develop coping strategies while addressing underlying sensory processing to improve regulation and independence with daily routines.
W sitting is never encouraged as it stretches the ligaments and tendons at the knee joint. Encouraging your child to shift to a ring sit, criss-cross sit, or side sit is always preferred. If you notice your child really is having a hard time breaking the habit, it may be time to consult with an OT to determine if there is an underlying range of motion or sensory processing concern.
Yes! Occupational therapists at Valued Voices typically address sensory based feeding concerns and feeding aversions due to trauma. These typically present as texture aversions, very limited diet, and/or food avoidance that is not otherwise caused by oral motor coordination deficits or swallowing challenges.