Learning Impairment

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Learning Impairment Therapy Programs

Occupational Therapy is an intervention to support people with learning disability (PwLD) in the area of self-care, play skills, social skills, schoolwork and sensory processing difficulty. We also work with their families who experience challenges or difficulties in home or school settings with strategies and recommendations to better support their children.

Developmental Delay

Developmental delay means that a child takes longer to reach certain development milestones than other people of their age. This may include not reaching developmental milestones in walking, movement skills, learning new things and interacting with others socially and emotionally.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are the coordination of using the eyes and the small muscles in our hand and wrists to make movements. If a person is struggling with fine motor skills, they may encounter difficulties in: 

  • Learning to hold a pencil to write, or scissors for cutting.
  • Engaging in self care tasks e.g. buttoning, zippers, tying shoelaces, brushing teeth.
  • Schoolwork e.g. coloring, drawing, prewriting shapes & lines, poor handwriting.
  • Eye hand coordination e.g. catching a ball.
  • Avoiding tasks or games that require fine motor.
  • Not developing hand dominance for writing at an age-appropriate time.

Gross Motor Skills (Movement, Strength & Balance Development)

Gross motor skills are the ability to coordinate and to control the larger muscles of the body for walking, running, jumping and balance. A child who is often seen as clumsy or uncoordinated in their movement may encounter challenges in sport, play activities and daily activities. For example, walking up and down a staircase, avoiding gross motor activities. For people with developmental delay or learning impairment, they may experience high or low muscle tone, muscle tension and resistance. This may further impact on their abilities to cross midline during play or school tasks, or even poor balancing when jumping or skipping.

Sensory Processing Difficulty

Sensory processing issues are difficulties with organizing and responding to information that comes through the senses e.g. smell, touch, vision.  These children may be overactive, underactive or both to sensory inputs. Sensory processing issues are not a learning disability, but it can have an impact on their learning and everyday life. Some of the signs you may observe in a child with sensory processing issues:

  • Gets upset easily with small changes in routine or environment and avoid trying new things.
  • Under reactive to certain sensation, for example, does not notice cuts/bruises, high tolerance to pain, may not be able to tell the direction sound has come from, needs help to find objects that are obvious to others.
  • Difficulty to calm down when upset

Play and Social Skills

Play skills are important for children with learning disabilities to make sense of their environment.  Play skills help children to figure out how to interact with one another, figure out how to problem solve and make decisions.  In addition, play helps to build up children self-confidence and develop social skills with other children.  You may notice a child having difficulties in play and social skills: 

  • Does not understand the concepts of taking turns/sharing.
  • Gets upset when loses game.
  • Always require adult to play with them.
  • Has repetitive or narrow interest in toys/play.
  • Prefers to play alone.
  • Unable to maintain a conversation and provides irrelevant comments during conversation.
  • Moves quickly from one activity to another.

Every person is different and each develops these skill sets at a different pace.

However, if you feel that your child is struggling with some of the skills mentioned above, you may want to contact us about our therapy programs and see how we can help.