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Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists are concerned with developing the skills and underlying abilities children need to perform their main everyday ‘occupations’ of playing, learning and engaging with friends and family.

Occupational therapists focus on developing skills through meaningful activity. We work with children to assist them to acquire the necessary skills and the underlying sensory or physical components for daily activities at home (e.g. eating and dressing), preschool (e.g. drawing, cutting and jumping), school (e.g. handwriting, attention, memory) and the community.

Occupational therapy is also appropriate for children who find making friends difficult or have trouble coping with social situations. Our aim is to enable children to develop and generalise skills and abilities in order to be able to participate to their full potential.

At Kickstart Kids Therapy, Occupational Therapists will investigate your child’s sensory processing as well as skills such as gross and fine motor skills, pretend play skills, self care skills, handwriting, attention, planning and organisation, and visual perception and how this contributes to their day to day functioning.

Sensory Processing

Occupational Therapists at Kickstart Kids Therapy investigate Sensory Processing and utilise an Ayres' Sensory Integrative (ASI) approach. Many children present with sensory processing difficulties which can impact the development of motor skills, attention and ability to engage and relate to others amongst other areas.

Sensory processing refers to the brain and how it perceives, processes and then organises information from the environment. Our bodies have seven senses that we use in order to perceive, organise and respond to information accurately in order to survive and interact with people and our environment.

Learning and developing requires you to take in information from the world around you, interpret this information accurately and respond accordingly. If there are difficulties in interpreting or receiving this information, development and learning can be challenging. Whilst everyone processes sensory information differently, if a child is not processing information effectively, their behaviour and interactions may reflect these difficulties.


Difficulty processing sensory information can result in issues with regulating activity levels across the day, over- or under-reactivity to sensory information, sensory seeking behaviours (e.g. excessive fidgeting or movement), clumsiness, poor coordination, or poor discrimination of sensory information.

Occupational Therapists at Kickstart Kids Therapy  utilise evidence based interventions such as Ayres' Sensory Integration (ASI), the DIR/Floortime approach, Neuro Developmental Technique (NDT) and many other approaches. 


A child with sensory processing challenges may display a number of these behaviours:

  • Over- or under-reactivity to touch, movement, light or sounds.

  • Difficulty with feeding or may have limited food preferences.

  • Unusually high or low activity levels, or levels which fluctuate between extremes frequently across the day.

  • Intense sensory seeking that is not easily satisfied, such as rough and tumble play.

  • Difficulty coordinating and grading body movements e.g. may be overly forceful, or  clumsy.

  • Avoidance of specific tasks, particularly more complex motor tasks.

  • Difficulty coping with change or deviating from a set routine. Strong desire for control with routines.

  • Difficulty with behaviour and/or repetitive behaviours.

  • Difficulty with emotional regulation.

  • Delays in speech or language.

  • Difficulty learning effectively in the classroom.

  • Performance at school that is below expected academic level.

  • Difficulty with making friends or slow to develop play skills.

  • Overly emotional.

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