What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

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Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Pediatric Occupational therapists help infants and children achieve their maximum life skill potential in order to be better equipped for becoming happier, more functional and independent adults.

We work with children and infants who are demonstrating problems with cognition, attention, sensory processing, movement and coordination.  OTs seek to help children become the best they can be in their interactions with their family, their peers, their environment and how to feel great about who they are.

 

OTs work to promote

  • Fine motor skills (grasping, cutting, show-tying, utensil use)
  • Visual perceptual skills.  Visual perceptual problems refer to the inability to accurately identify and locate objects in the environment (difficulty discriminating between certain letters or numbers, putting together age-appropriate puzzles, or finding matching socks)
  • Handwriting (eliminate letter reversals, letter formation, pencil grasp, sequencing, recommending when it is best to introduce cursive and or technology to increase productivity)
  • Eye-hand coordination skills can be improved to offer a child more success with play, learning handwriting, or copying from the blackboard
  • Sensory processing skills to help a child regulate his/her fluctuating moods, to decrease anxiety, to reach a calm/alert state in order to better equipped for learning academics.
  • Independence living skills such as toileting, tooth-brushing, bathing, dressing)
  • Feeding as a skill can be a challenge for many reasons (difficulty with oral motor skills, sensory challenges that make texture progression challenging, or it can also restrict diets or eliminate whole food categories.  Children with autism may even restrict food according to brands)

 

 

How do I know if my child needs occupational therapy?

 

If you are having concerns with your child’s progression through the developmental milestones it is best to discuss the concern with your family doctor or pediatrician or just call an occupational therapist for a telephone interview to ease or confirm your worries.

 

Here are things to consider:

  • My child is weak or floppy
  • My child falls frequently or bumps into furniture or people
  • My child’s play appears not to be progressing
  • My child has outbursts with changes in his routine
  • My child has a difficulty attending to an activity more than his peers
  • My child is a fussy/picky eater
  • My child refuses to progress to solids
  • My child has a difficulty with transitions
  • My child refuses to self-feed
  • My child refuses to walk barefoot on grass or dislikes playing in sand
  • My child had a difficult time to settle and calm himself down
  • My child is overly active
  • My child overreacts to touch, smell, movement, sound, odor, light
  • My child seems to be the quiet one that is easily forgotten, more under responsive
  • My child has difficulty with handwriting
  • My child has a difficulty learning a new activity or dressing skills
  • My child has a difficulty reaching independence in toileting

 

Occupational therapists work through play, activities, use of various techniques based on neurodevelopmental, sensory, and/or behavioral approaches to evaluate the strengths and areas of concerns of a child and set up together with parents a program that would seamlessly fit into the family schedule in order for the recommended treatment and home programming to achieve the predetermined goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.