What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?
There are so many ways that pediatric occupational therapy can help children improve daily skills and independence. OT encourages the development of fine and gross motor skills, sensory processing, and visual motor skills that children need to function and socialize.
Pediatric occupational therapy practitioners provide support to infants, toddlers, children and youth. Pediatric occupational therapy helps the child but also the whole family. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) highlighted children and youth as a key focus area for occupational therapy practice in the 21st Century as part of its Centennial Vision.
Why choose OT?
Pediatric occupational therapy can make a huge impact in your child’s ability to do the “job” of being a child. A child’s role in life is to play, learn, engage different environments, and develop daily life skills.
Pediatric occupational therapists begin by evaluating a child’s current skills in areas such as:
- School performance
- Daily activities
- Fine Motor Skills
- Social Skills
- Sensory Processing
OT clinicians help children perform daily activities that are challenging by addressing sensory, social, behavioral, motor, and environmental concerns.
Who may benefit from occupational therapy?
Children with varying needs can benefit from occupational therapy. These needs include:
Birth injuries or birth defects
Sensory processing disorders
Traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
Autism spectrum disorder
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
Mental health or behavioral problems
Broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and other chronic illnesses
What can families hope to see accomplished through OT?
Clinicians work with children to achieve the following results:
- Improve fine motor skills to grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills during the school years.
- Boost hand-eye coordination to improve play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.)
- Learn basic life tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves.
- Assess a child’s need for specialized equipment, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, or communication aids.
- Address sensory and attention concerns to improve focus and social skills.