Pediatric Occupational Therapy
A child’s life is made up of “occupations” — daily activities such as playing, learning, and socializing.
That's why occupational therapy practitioners work with children and their families to help them succeed in activities throughout the day. Pediatric Occupational Therapists (OTs) provide rehabilitation/habilitation services for children from premature newborns to age 21.
Occupational therapy (OT) promotes activities that enable children to learn and develop life skills, be creative, and enjoy and thrive in age-appropriate Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Pediatric OTs work to improve underlying skills in order to enable a child to participate in appropriate occupations. For instance, a pediatric OT working on fine motor skills may be doing so to help a child tie their shoes independently.
OTs collaborate with parents, caregivers, teachers and other allied health professionals to identify and maximize a child who experiences delays or development challenges.
Does your child need a different specialist?
When does my child need a Pediatric Occupational Therapist?
More than likely, your child's PCP has referred your child for occupational therapy. This often occurs after observing developmental delays or when your child has been diagnosed with a physical or mental condition that is associated with delays. If you observe one or more of the following in your child, consult a pediatric occupational therapist:
- Easily distracted
- Difficulty concentrating in school
- Inability to follow instructions and complete tasks
- Easily exhausted by schoolwork
- Poor impulse control
- Hyperactivity or low energy
Applications of Occupational Therapy
Pediatric occupational therapists can offer impactful tools for young patients at key points during their development. Below are some of the more common instances where OT can help young patients during their development.
Children with autism can experience impairments with communication and social interactions as well as restrictions related to their interests, activities and play. OT can help these children function in school and home environments.
Pediatric occupational therapists work with educators and family members to help increase participation in reading and written communication. By addressing things such as language, play, emotional regulation, and other aspects of learning OTs are able to build literacy skills.
Pediatric occupational therapists play an important role in identifying early signs of mental health or behavioral disorders. After completing an assessment, your child's OT works with your child to determine factors that impact their ability to meet the demands of the activities and roles within their daily lives. OT interventions promote social-emotional learning, help with sensory regulation, and more.
Occupational therapists can also play a valued role in addressing childhood obesity. Obesity can impact many facets of a child's life including their social and emotional health. In addition to this, childhood obesity can put children at risk for developing conditions such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and more. A pediatric OT can help by addressing culturally appropriate healthy food preparation, physical and social activities, and ways to decrease negative stigmas surrounding weight and bullying.
To schedule an appointment, send a request on our Lee Heath Pediatric Rehabilitation page.