I took my son in for his occupational therapy evaluation a couple of days ago. When he was an infant, the physical therapist said he didn't need OT so I never thought too much about it. His speech therapist suggested we have him evaluated for OT now that he's older.
I researched OT trying to figure out what it meant, how it helped, what skills it developed. I found that OT is dedicated to helping individuals learn to live in their environment. It helps people learn to feed themselves, dress themselves, use pencils, crayons, scissors, and be able to adapt to their surroundings.
My son has been feeding himself for a couple of years (except, of course, when he doesn't want to eat what I've fixed him). He can dress and undress himself. He loves to find his sister's shoes and wear them. And, his favorite is to wear nothing at all, so I'd say he's much better at undressing himself.
He also draws and colors. I prefer when he does it on paper, but he doesn't limit himself to that, he likes to draw on the walls, floors, doors, even the refrigerator. Sometimes, he even likes to color himself. He can draw lines, circles, squiggles. He likes to use different crayons to add color. In fact, if I give him a pad of paper and some crayons, it'll keep him busy for a long time.
Unfortunately, he can also use scissors as his sister found out when he snipped a rather large piece of hair off her head. Many years ago, after my oldest son cut his sister's hair off (she had to wear a ponytail for almost a year to hide the damage) I have insisted that scissors and preschoolers don't mix.
The OT tested him with things like stacking blocks (he stacks blocks all the time, but his favorite is to stack cans of vegetables at the top of our stairs and then send the cans careening down to the basement), drawing, using scissors, threading beads, picking up beads, and folding paper. He didn't know how to fold the paper, but the other tests he did well. In fact, the OT said he has very strong hands and has amazing skills. She attributed it to having so many older siblings.
The best news is that he didn't qualify for OT. Other than working on better scissor control and folding a paper, he's where he should be and is age-appropriate. I thought he would be, but I was glad to have a professional determine that as well. I'm all for having services he needs, but I want those services to really benefit him, not have services just because he has Down syndrome.
Now, if only we can get him talking more and using the toilet, I'll be a happy mama.