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Children who notice a lack of social and motor skills due to the pandemic

Experts said many children have fallen behind in life skills over the past 18 months. Local pediatric occupational therapists are now very busy.

SALINA COUNTY, Ark. – Experts said many children fell behind in life skills over the past 18 months. Local pediatric occupational therapists are now very busy.

Knox McDonald went to daycare ready to play on Wednesday.

But hidden behind the fun, the 4-year-old is learning.

He’s making up for lost skills while staying home during the pandemic.

“Being at home naturally, being locked up doesn’t push you out of your comfort zone to engage with other kids,” said Madeline Dunlap, owner of TheraPeds.

TheraPeds is a mobile pediatric therapy service that provides therapeutic intervention.

Knox is Dunlap’s client and he is working to regain social skills.

But he’s not the only child. In fact, Dunlap said its client list has grown significantly in recent weeks.

“It has been insane to see the result that the pandemic has left on our children,” said Dunlap.

Therapists had to help rewire many small brains, helping the children to focus again, develop their social skills, and hone their motor skills.

Dunlap said he noticed that children who were forced to learn in a virtual world now have problems with simple things like writing.

“They were behind a screen doing everything in a 1D world and then they go into a 3D world and they have issues and challenges,” Dunlap said.

Therapists encourage parents to examine their child’s behaviors in the wake of the pandemic.

If you notice a difference in your child’s attention span, behavior or social interaction, Dunlap said to contact the experts.

Many companies offer free testing for your children.

It is important to know that early intervention is the key.

“The reason is that there are fundamental developmental milestones that need to take place for them to be successful in school,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap said that in the last week of working with Knox he has already made great strides.

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