As children progress through early childhood development, there are many important milestones to meet. If you find that your child is experiencing delays in skills needed to complete their daily activities, such as balance or coordination, they may be receiving services from a pediatric occupational therapist or a therapeutic preschool program. A pediatric occupational therapist is a professional who helps children who have challenges with activities that require the use of motor skills or sensory integration. These therapy sessions may occur in a range of different settings, including a therapeutic preschool program, typical classroom, hospital, or private practice clinic.
In a therapeutic preschool program, various activities throughout the day will incorporate developmental skills, in the format of a preschool program. This type of program is also structured to provide support for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder, or other developmental delays. If a child has challenges with specific skills, such as balance and coordination, a pediatric occupational therapist may spend time with the child working on that skill one-on-one throughout the day. This is made possible by maintaining a low teacher-to-student ratio that allows for more direct intervention throughout the school day.
Signs your child has difficulty with balance and coordination
If a child has trouble with balance and coordination, they may frequently fall or trip over objects at home or in the therapeutic preschool classroom. During the earliest years of development, they may also be slower to crawl or walk than other children. There are many other daily activities that are impacted by delayed balance or coordination. Balance and coordination can also impact other key areas of development, including a child’s ability to pay attention in school or willingness to participate in social or sporting activities.
5 activities that can help with balance or coordination in a therapeutic preschool program
Yoga poses: Yoga is an excellent way to build balance and coordination. If children in a therapeutic preschool program have challenges with these skills, taking a few minutes each day to practice simple yoga poses can help them to improve these skills, while also building relaxation techniques. Yoga can also be done in any setting: at home or in a therapeutic preschool program.
Pool noodle as a balance beam: Pool noodles are not just for the pool! Try placing a pool noodle on the floor at home or in a therapeutic preschool classroom to have the child practice balancing on the noodle in the same way that they would with a real balance beam.
Hopscotch: This simple game is also an excellent to build both balance and coordination. You can make a hopscotch board inside with masking tape or outdoors with chalk.
Tape lines: In a therapeutic preschool classroom or at home, create a variety of patterns on the floor with tape. Then, have the child balance as they follow the different patterns of the lines.
Balance stones or cushions: These can be a great tool to have at home or in a therapeutic preschool classroom for kiddos! Have your child spend a few minutes trying to stay balanced and coordinated while standing on the stones/cushions.
Do you think your child could benefit from building their balance and coordination in a therapeutic preschool setting? Contact CST Academy at 773-620-7800 to learn more about our program, which includes pediatric occupational therapy services.