What is the difference between pediatric Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT)?

In the pediatric environment, there can be a lot of overlap and similarities between occupational and physical therapy and these professions often work closely together.

However, while OTs and PTs work together in various settings and often overlap, they also practice distinctly different therapy practices.

Occupational therapists (OT) and physical therapists (PT) both assist patients in regaining the ability to perform everyday functions to the best of their ability, independently and safely.

In general, OTs work on functional skills of daily life, helping children get better at all of the activities that they need to do during the day (ie. eating, dressing, playing, learning, and growing), looking through a holistic lens at the physical, developmental, mental and emotional connections.

PTs work more on the client’s physical mobility of moving their bodies to do those activities of daily living, navigating through their environment, getting to and from where they need to go, etc. Their focus is largely on the prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system so that the body may function properly.

PTs often provide specific exercises, stretches, and techniques and use specialized equipment to address problems in areas of decreased physical function.

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About Kaili Ets, MSc.OT, OT Reg.(Ont)

Kaili assesses and treats children with a variety of diagnoses (ie. LD, ASD, SPD, ADD/ADHD, developmental delays, & physical disabilities). Treatment focuses on sensory integration, self-regulation, activities of daily living (ADLs), and fine motor/printing skills. She consults with schools as needed.

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