A Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT) assists a child in participating with daily life activities or “occupations”. A child’s occupations are developmentally appropriate activities such as crawling, reaching for a toy, eating a snack, tossing a ball or coloring, among others. A child with a medical diagnosis, motor delay, impairment in sensory processing or lag in reaching developmental milestones may find it difficult or challenging to participate in these daily occupations.
There are a variety of reasons for a delay which would require the need for an OT. It is important to identify any delay as early as possible and initiate OT services when those delays are identified to ensure the best possible outcomes. What are some causes that may benefit from an OT?
- Birth injuries or defects
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cerebral Palsy
- Spina Bifida
- Developmental delays
- Muscular dystrophy
- Sensory processing disorders
- Behavioral problems
- Learning difficulties
Specifically, pediatric OT focuses on strengthening and coordinating fine motor movements and on motor planning. They assist your child in areas such as those listed below:
- Self-care skills such as dressing, bathing, feeding
- Fine motor skills required for manipulating toys, managing buttons and zippers.
- Upper extremity strengthening
- Upper extremity coordination needed for self-care and play skills
- Visual motor skills needed for improved coordination
- Motor planning
- Sensory processing
- Play and socialization skills
- Age appropriate handwriting skills
- Preschool skills such as following directions
- Assist with improving attention, focus, and social skills
Occupational therapists can evaluate a child’s strengths and difficulties in critical developmental areas. The OT will use the results of the evaluation along with input from you and your child to develop an individualized therapeutic plan with interventions to promote the healthy development of the skills needed for success with these daily childhood tasks. These interventions are carried out through meaningful activities and play, facilitating the development of age appropriate skills. Some of the activities you may observe during a session:
- The use of puzzles and games for hand-eye coordination
- Learning how to grasp and release objects
- Coloring and writing
- Specific task performance with feeding, dressing, using a computer, etc.
- Learning how to focus on specific tasks
If you have any concerns with your child’s development or attainment of fine motor skills needed for any of the tasks listed above, do not hesitate to contact us for a phone consultation. We would be happy to provide you with any needed information in determining your child’s needs. If an evaluation is appropriate, we can assist in attaining all the needed physician orders and paperwork to start your child’s road to success in reaching their maximal potential.
To initiate Occupational Therapy services Register Here and someone will contact you within 24-48 hours.
You can also contact us via Email by clicking here if you have questions or to set up a phone consultation.