How to explain OT to a child?

We are planning an evaluation for our six-year-old son and expect to hear that he has sensory issues in some areas (mostly some specific fine and gross motor skills, plus low muscle tone, very limited diet, somewhat high anxiety level, and frequent accidents).

Our question is how to explain to him what we're doing and why, in a way that he can feel good about. He has a twin sister who doesn't happen to have these issues, and lately he's begun keenly any differences between them. And when he heard he would begin some OT through the school system focusing just on fine motor skills (writing and cutting with scissors), his response was to say that he must be a bad writer.

I'd be interested to hear how others have explained the need for evaluation and OT to a child who feels differences from other children so keenly.

I should add that he does well in school, has good friends though is shy in crowds, is learning an instrument and enjoying it, and that certain of his fine and gross motor skills are quite highly developed (skis, swims, builds complicated Lego creations--but then struggles with other skills).

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Oct 21, 2009
Super feely powers!!
by: Anonymous

My 6 year old son has tactile sensory issues. He hates clothes, his shoes, socks, long sleeves etc.... He has meltdowns every morning getting ready for school. I told him he has super feely powers like a super hero. I told him he can feel more than what most people feel. I explained that OT was going to help him with this so he feels better when he wears his clothes. I do keep reinforcing with him his super-hero like "super feely powers" to help with his self esteem so he doesn't feel bad about himself.

Jun 20, 2009
We call it playtime
by: Crista

With his OT. He LOVES to go. He goes to a clinic only for children and they are REALLY good about making it fun and not work

Jun 10, 2009
Explaining OT
by: Michele

My daughter is 6 and has been getting OT since her eval. last March. Once she met her OT, she really enjoyed going and she had a lot of fun. My other daughter who is 5 comes along and is actually jealous that her sister gets more attention. OT is pretty fun for the kids, I always told my daughter she was going to show the OT how well she could do things. Always make it a positive.

May 19, 2009
Easy stuff and Hard Stuff
by: Kim Sullivan

My son could read at age 4 but couldn't draw and could barely write. We simply told him that he is different, hard stuff is easy for him and easy stuff is hard for him.

He is seven now and we still talk about that. I'm the same way. I can figure out things at work other people struggle with and then some simple thing might throw me for a loop. We were always honest about his difficulties but we just accepted them as a fact that we worked on and laugh about it as we work through it.

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