Pediatric Occupational Therapy addresses sensory processing, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, cognition, social skills, strength, balance, coordination, activities of daily living, reflex integration, and feeding.
Sensory integration targets the sensory system which includes a child’s sense of movement, touch, body position, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. Occupational therapists improve strength and endurance to promote participation and independence to engage in functional activities required for everyday life.
Fine motor strengthening involves the small muscles in the hands and fingers required to manipulate small objects, clothing fasteners, and writing utensils.
Gross motor strengthening and coordination involves the large muscles of the body required to move the body through space.
Cognitive skills are targeted to promote attention, memory, and the ability to learn in all environments. Social skills are targeted with peer interactions by teaching verbal and non-verbal communication to express wants, needs, feelings, etc. in an appropriate way.
Activities of daily living are the activities children engage in every day which may include toileting, brushing teeth and hair, bathing, dressing, manipulating zippers, buttons, and snaps, and tying shoes. Occupational therapy promotes engagement in daily routines including toileting, bath time routines, and meal time. All of these activities require fine motor and/or gross motor skills to engage in independently.
Occupational therapists assist in adapting the child’s environment or the activity to promote independence. Primitive reflexes sometimes do not integrate on their own which may cause delays in typical development and require intervention through occupational therapy.
Occupational therapists provide client centered therapy by creating goals important to the children and their families. Occupational therapy targets childhood occupations including functional play skills, school-related skills, and socializing with other children.
Prevention is also a major part of occupational therapy. Occupational therapists can prevent further delays in functioning, promote health lifestyles to prevent health issues, and target mental health to prevent issues later in life.
Occupational therapists can also assist with difficulties with transitioning from one activity to another typically involving transitioning away from a preferred activity to a non-preferred activity, or assisting with major transitions such as transitioning from high school to further education with less support.
Occupational Therapy Examples:
-Sensory Integration Therapy
-Fine Motor Development for feeding
-Gross Motor Development for crawling & walking
-Handwriting, Cursive & Keyboarding – Utilizing the Handwriting Without Tears® Printing, Cursive and/or Keyboarding focused on Handwriting Without Tears®
-Bike Riding Assistance – Training assistance to advance from training wheels to no training wheels!
-Rhythmic Movement Training
-Activities of Daily Living – Feeding, Drawing/Writing, Toileting, Dressing, Self Care
-Primitive Reflex Integration