What is Occupational Therapy?

Pediatric occupational therapy (OT) is a specialized area of occupational therapy that focuses on assessing and providing interventions to help children develop the physical, cognitive, sensory, and emotional skills they need to participate in daily activities and reach their developmental milestones. Pediatric OTs work with children from birth through adolescence who may have a wide range of challenges or conditions that affect their ability to engage in age-appropriate activities.

The primary goals of pediatric occupational therapy are to:

  1. Promote Development: Pediatric OTs work to enhance a child’s development in various areas, including fine and gross motor skills, sensory processing, cognitive skills, and emotional regulation.
  2. Improve Functional Independence: They help children acquire the skills necessary for activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, eating, grooming, and self-care. This may also involve assisting with school-related tasks like handwriting and using school materials.
  3. Address Sensory Processing Challenges: Some children may have sensory processing disorders that affect how they perceive and respond to sensory input (e.g., touch, taste, sound). Pediatric OTs provide sensory integration therapy to help children better process and respond to sensory information.
  4. Support Learning and Cognitive Development: OTs work with children who have learning challenges, attention issues, or executive function difficulties. They may provide strategies to improve memory, problem-solving, and organizational skills.
  5. Enhance Emotional and Behavioral Regulation: Pediatric OTs help children manage their emotions and behaviors by teaching coping strategies, self-regulation techniques, and social-emotional skills.
  6. Adapt to Physical Disabilities: For children with physical disabilities or conditions affecting mobility, pediatric OTs focus on improving physical functioning, independence in mobility, and recommending assistive devices or adaptive equipment.
  7. Facilitate Social Interaction: OTs often work on social skills, communication, and play skills to help children interact effectively with peers, family members, and in various social settings.

Pediatric OTs typically use a play-based and child-centered approach in their therapy sessions to engage children in activities that are enjoyable and developmentally appropriate. They collaborate closely with parents, caregivers, teachers, and other professionals involved in the child’s care to create individualized treatment plans tailored to each child’s specific needs and goals.

The aim of pediatric occupational therapy is to help children achieve their full potential, participate fully in school and home life, and develop the skills and confidence required for successful and independent functioning as they grow and develop.

If you think your child might need occupational therapy, please reach out to the office. We would love to answer your questions!