What is pediatric occupational therapy?

By Ani Oganesyan OTR/L

Many people have never heard of pediatric occupational therapy (OT) or may have heard about it and are still a bit confused. Pediatric OT can be a bit challenging to understand as OTs target various skills and address many different goals. 

Occupational therapists help individuals to become independent in everyday activities and in daily occupations. Occupations are what occupy an individual’s day. For children, this can include learning, playing, eating, dressing, writing, etc. Since occupations are so broad and vary from person to person, the focus of therapy will be different for each child. Therefore, the therapist will work alongside the child and their family to address the various needs and to tailor the treatment to meet specific client goals. The therapist will also take into consideration the various developmental milestones and make sure the child is on track to meet their milestones.

Occupational therapists work with children of all ages and stages of development. This can include a range of diagnoses and specific developmental delays and disabilities. Here are some examples of areas occupational therapists may address:

  • Sensory Processing/Regulation
  • Adaptive/Self-Care Skills
  • Cognitive/Play Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Joint attention/engagement
  • Self-regulation
  • Oral motor skills/Self-feeding
  • Praxis/Motor planning 
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Handwriting 
  • Visual Motor Skills 
  • Gross Motor Skills (Balance, strength, postural control, endurance, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination)
  • Attention 
  • Life skills
  • Emotional regulation

A child can expect therapy sessions to be fun and incorporate play. Since play is a big part of children’s lives, and how they learn various skills, therapists will incorporate it into sessions. It is also motivating and encourages the child to actively participate in the session. If you’ve seen our center, without a doubt, you’ll think of it as a big colorful playground. Our clinic in particular includes a mulititude of sensory equipment. The play structures are so much fun and include various swings, slides, zipline, and foam pits. In addition to rock climbing walls, ninja ramps, and a tunnel crawl space, which are all used to target therapy goals.

If you are not sure whether your child would benefit from occupational therapy services, give us a call to schedule a free consultation with one of our therapists.


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