OTs have a language all of their own! Here's a guide to help you decode what your OT is saying to you:

Sensory Processing skills: the ability to receive and process information from ones sensory systems including: touch (tactile), visual, auditory (hearing), proprioceptive (body position), and vestibular (balance). Behavior, attention, and peer interactions can be greatly influences by a child’s ability to process sensory stimuli.

Self-regulation: the ability to controls ones activity level and state of alertness, as well as ones emotional, mental, or physical responses to the senses.

Postural insecurity: a fear of body movement that is related to poor balance and deficient “body in space” awareness.

Proprioception: the unconscious awareness of sensations coming from ones joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The “position sense”.

Fine motor skills: The skilled use of ones hands. It is the ability to move the hands and fingers in a smooth and precise controlled manner. Fine motor control is essential for efficient handling of classroom tools and materials. It may also be referred to as dexterity.

Bilateral coordination: the ability to use both sides of he body together in a smooth and coordinated manner.

Bilateral integration: the neurological process of the integration of sensations from both sides of the body, a foundation for bilateral coordination.

Body awareness: the mental picture of ones own body parts, where they are located, how they interrelate, and how they move.

Midline: a median line dividing the two halves of the body. Crossing midline is the ability to use one side or part of the body (hand, foot, or eye) in the space of the other side.

Directionality: the awareness of right/left, forward/backward, and up/down, and the ability to move oneself in those directions.

Lateralization: the process of establishing preference of one side of the brain for directing skilled motor function on the oppositive side of the body, while the opposide side is used for stabilization. Lateralization is necessary for establishing hand preference and crossing the body midline.

Visual Perception skills include several component areas:

Visual Discrimination:  The ability to notice detail differences such as shape, size, color, or other dimensional aspects.

Form Constancy (Form Discrimination):  The ability to perceive positional aspect differences and recognize objects when they are in a different orientation or format.

Figure Ground (Foreground-Background Differentiation): The ability to focus on a selected target and screen out or ignore irrelevant images.

Spatial Relations:  The ability to recognize the positioning of objects in space.

Visual Closure:  The ability to recognize an object, letter or number without seeing all of the object.

Visual Sequencing:  The ability to see objects in a particular sequential order.

Visual Memory:  The ability to remember forms (letters) and sequences of forms (words) and recognize them quickly when seen again. Visual Motor skills are the ability of the eyes and hand/body to work together in order to create an appropriate output. Ways to encourage visual motor skills:

Jumping games: jump rope, trampoline, jumping jacks, scissor jumps, while holding up a picture or word card. See how quickly he can identify what is on the card while in the air. You can up challenge by using math cards etc.

Origami: strengthens hands through cutting, folding etc.

Flashlight tag: Shine flashlight on the wall in random patterns (up down side to side, loops) and have the child follow those movements with their own flashlight. Encourages eye tracking skills as well as visual motor practice.

Catch: with a variety of balls including size and weight (beach balls, kick ball, bouncy balls, wiffle balls etc) This can address eye hand coordination as well as ability to discern how much pressure and effort is needed to throw and catch various objects.

Swing toss: add element to game of catch by playing it while swinging. Eyes will need to accommodate to movement of their own body as well as ball coming towards them.

And of course, if you ever have any questions for your occupational therapist, never hesitate to ask!

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