Occupational therapy focuses on the development of skills necessary for your child's independence. These skills include fine motor skills, visual-motor skills, visual-spatial awareness, oral-motor and oral-sensory processing, and sensory integration. Occupational therapy has little to do with your child's ultimate job choice. But it does pertain to your child's role (or occupation) as a member of your family, his or her school and the community.
An occupational therapist might work with your child to help promote arm and hand movements. This work can lay the foundation for later-developing fine motor skills, such as reaching, grasping, releasing, and manipulating toys. An Occupational Therapist may also assist your child with feeding (management of food and liquids, cup drinking, finger feeding and utensil use), or facilitate use of touch, balance, smell, taste and motor planning.
As with gross motor skills, a number of characteristics associated with Down syndrome may affect your child's development of occupational skills. Your occupational therapist can work with you to develop strategies and activities to help your child build strong foundational skills for independence.