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What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

The question I hear most often is, “what is occupational therapy?” For parents and even other healthcare professionals it can be unclear or hard for others to explain the ins and outs of this career. Occupational therapy (OT) is a very unique profession and I am proud to be part of it. Let’s dive in and learn about occupational therapy, why it is so awesome, and how it relates to your child!


To put it simply, occupations are the things we do everyday. Sleeping, getting dressed, showering, making meals, going to work, driving, maintaining friendships, and participating in leisure activities, are the occupations that we want and need to do daily. For children you can add playing, learning, and talking to friends. Occupational therapists typically step in when the parents notice a challenge with one of these areas. Pediatric OT’s support children from the newborn stage all the way through to becoming an adult. We break down the occupation into the skills it takes to complete that occupation and provide interventions to improve the child’s abilities that ultimately support their independence.



Areas of Focus for Pediatric OT:

  • Fine Motor Skills

  • Gross Motor skills

  • Activities of Daily Living

    • Dressing

    • Bathing

    • Eating

    • Toileting

    • Grooming (brushing teeth, brushing hair, morning/evening bathroom routine)

  • Instrumental Activities of Daily living

    • Chores (laundry, cleaning, making their bed, etc.)

    • Cooking

    • Taking care of pets

    • Understanding money

    • Safety awareness

    • Shopping

  • Social Skills

  • Visual Motor Skills

  • Handwriting

  • Sensory Processing


Typical Therapy Process

  • Consultation Phone Call

    • Allows me to gain a better understanding of your child

    • Discuss areas of concern

    • Discuss your goals for your child through occupational therapy

    • If we both decide this is a good fit for your child we can schedule an evaluation

  • Evaluation at your home

    • Parent interview

    • Clinical assessment and observation of child’s skills

    • Establish goals and timeline for therapy

    • Schedule follow-up sessions

  • Treatment sessions

    • 1:1 sessions at your home, playground, daycare, or other community location that is relevant to child’s goals

    • Provide home program that supports progress towards established goals

    • Weekly check-ins via text or email outside of scheduled sessions

  • Re-evaluation

    • After initial plan of care is almost complete, we will discuss child’s progress

    • Create new goals if needed

    • Determine next steps for therapy (i.e. create new plan of care, decrease frequency, or participate in wellness program)


End Goal: Parents feel they are equipped with knowledge and tools to further assist their children in their development to facilitate independence. Children have reached age appropriate and/of functional skills and gained confidence in themselves to try new or hard tasks.


Conclusion

Ultimately, Occupational therapists educate, empower, and enhance the lives of children and their families. I understand how demanding and overwhelming it can be to support your child everyday with consistent tasks and engagement to increase their development. I'm here to be your family's support - as a coach, educator, therapist and to help your child develop skills, build confidence, and increase their self-care to foster a healthy independence.


If you have any questions, please reach out at calli@confidentkidstherapy.com


Resources

AOTA: https://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/Practice/Manage/Presentation-Resources/Brochure/What-is-OT-Peds.pdf



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