What is a pediatric occupational therapist (OT)?
Occupational therapy is concerned with promoting independence in activities of everyday life – or ‘occupations.’ Children’s occupations include: reaching developmental milestones, play, self care (eating, sleeping, dressing, grooming, bathing), academic tasks (handwriting, fine motor skills, attention/focus), and socializing.
We Evaluate a Child’s Strengths & Weaknesses
Pediatric occupational therapists can evaluate a child’s strengths, as well as difficulties, in critical developmental areas and design interventions that promote the healthy development of skills needed for success with daily activities (occupations). They evaluate the environment, sensory processing, muscle functioning, positioning, coordination, and other areas when determining the cause of decreased skill. Once the cause is identified, the therapist works on these underlying areas of need so that they improve the foundational skills, not just a “splinter” skill or a skill that is beneficial at this time and may not be beneficial in the future.
It’s About Skills & Development
Having a solid foundation of skills allows for the development of self-confidence. Developing a skill and using it successfully encourages children to continually try new activities that expand their skills and build success, and being successful is the foundation for continued learning. Through meaningful activities and play, OT facilitates the development of age-appropriate skills and instills this confidence in children to help them play, learn, and grow. When skill and strength cannot be developed or improved, occupational therapy offers creative solutions and alternatives for carrying out daily activities.
Pediatric OT’s Work With
Pediatric OTs work with babies, very young children, and school aged kids, in collaboration with the child’s family, teachers, and other health professionals, in a clinic setting, and within the child’s home or school community, as well as in hospitals as needed.