MOMMY WOR­RIES

YOUR BABY ASKED OC­CU­PA­TIONAL THER­A­PIST RE­BECCA WAL­LIS TO TACKLE SOME COM­MON PLAY IS­SUES

Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier -

Q

I fetched my two-year-old early from crèche re­cently and watched her in the play­ground for a while. She didn’t seem to play or in­ter­act with any other chil­dren. Should I be con­cerned?

A

Chil­dren’s play is pre­dom­i­nantly par­al­lel between the ages of one and three years. This means that when placed in the play space to­gether, chil­dren of this age will gen­er­ally play along­side one an­other. They may play with the same ob­jects and may be able to share these ob­jects, but will not be play­ing to­gether in a co­op­er­a­tive way. Co­op­er­a­tive so­cial play starts to emerge more between the ages of three and four and chil­dren are able to play more com­plex co­op­er­a­tive games with rules by the time they are five.

Q

My 18-month-old son can­not jump yet. His older brother could jump by the age of two. Should I get him as­sessed?

A

A child’s abil­ity to jump is de­ter­mined by sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing their phys­i­cal strength, co­or­di­na­tion, bi­lat­eral in­te­gra­tion and mo­tor plan­ning. A child should start at­tempt­ing to jump at 18 months to two years, but will not ex­pe­ri­ence much suc­cess and this will de­pend on when they reached their other gross-mo­tor milestones. By the age of three the child should be able to jump on two feet and land on two feet. If a child is un­able to jump at this age, and is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing other gross-mo­tor de­lays, such as hav­ing dif­fi­culty with run­ning or stand­ing up from sit­ting, then an as­sess­ment is rec­om­mended.

Q

My daugh­ter is at preschool, but she is too scared to go down the slides or play on the jun­gle gym. I’m wor­ried that this will af­fect her abil­ity to make friends. How can I build her con­fi­dence?

A

Once again this could be the re­sult of sev­eral dif­fer­ent fac­tors. The child’s over­all anx­i­ety lev­els should be con­sid­ered, as should their con­fi­dence in other gross-mo­tor play ac­tiv­i­ties. A fear of jump­ing or go­ing down a slide, par­tic­u­larly in a child who is very cau­tious in walk­ing down stairs, or who avoids swings, is likely due to a lack of in­te­gra­tion in the vestibu­lar sys­tem. An oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy as­sess­ment (sen­sory in­te­gra­tion prac­tice) would be rec­om­mended in this case.

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