Occupational Therapy

Every other Monday we take Noah in for occupational therapy at Our Children’s House at Baylor.  Occupational therapy is important for children born with down syndrome as they often have challenges developing fine motor skills.  This is due to several characteristics commonly shared by children with down syndrome including; low muscle tone, increased flexibility in their arm and hand joints, broad hands, and short fingers.

Fine motor skills deals with areas such as self care (getting dressed, eating, tying ones shoes, etc.), skills related to playing (for instance, picking up and releasing toys), and work related activities (using scissors, a glue stick, and hand writing.)

When we brought Noah in (when he was only 3 1/2 weeks old!) we were very concerned with how “floppy” he was.  We would pick him up, and he would seriously just fall back as if we were holding a little rag-doll.  His little hands, and neck would just flop all around due to the lack of low muscle tone.

Ashley was one of the first therapists that worked with Noah at Our Children’s House Baylor, and was a pleasure to work with.  (Noah also receives speech therapy and physical therapy from OCHB.) She gave us simple things we could do at home that would help Noah with his fine motor skills (like having Noah practice holding, grasping, and releasing tiny maracas she suggested we buy from Party City.)   Almost immediately we saw improvement, and each day brought even more encouragement as we saw Noah hold those little “baby weights” a few songs longer each day (now we can hardly prey them out of his small hands!)

Ashley also uses a technique on Noah that involves using kinesio to gently pull on the skin, which in return helps the muscles underneath the tape to strengthen.  This is the same technique that is often used on athletes.  Noah doesn’t seem to mind it at all, and it seems to be working well.

On a sad note, today was Ashley’s last day as Noah’s occupational therapist.  She’s moving to Philadelphia to take a new job at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  We wish her the best of luck, and look forward to continuing Noah’s occupational therapy with his new therapist in two weeks!

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.


  1. We recently lost Matt’s OT to a transfer from the rehab center we take him to the children’s hospital that runs the rehab. She had been with him from the time he was 5 months old until he was 2. I was more upset than he was lol.

  2. Hi, may I know how long it takes for Noah to strengthen his core muscle?

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