How Can Occupational Therapy Help Children?

Apr 29, 2020

April is OT Month!  What better way to celebrate than to elaborate on the questions I get most often from parents, “So, what is occupational therapy? How can OT help my child?”  I hope this explanation provides you with insight into the distinct value of occupational therapy and the positive impact OT can have on your child and your family.

Occupational therapy, as a profession, helps people across the lifespan to participate in the things that they need and want to do through meaningful activities, or the daily “jobs” of living (hence, “occupations”). I know what you’re thinking… kids don’t have jobs!  But wait!  A child’s job is to PLAY, to learn, and to make friends. When there is something that hinders these processes, that’s where OT comes in. Each child that comes through our doors receives individualized therapeutic intervention to help them improve their performance in occupations such as feeding, socializing, self-care, learning, and play by addressing the underlying problems. We address the physical (fine motor, coordination skills), cognitive (attention, problem solving), social/emotional, and sensory aspects of function, just to name a few. We help parents set goals for their child to become more independent and successful participants in their daily lives.

Occupational therapists can:

  • Help improve grasping and coordination skills for play, scissors skills, coloring and handwriting
  • Address hand-eye coordination so that a child can hit a ball with a bat or copy from the board
  • Promote healthy development of infants to reach motor and feeding milestones
  • Assist in daily living tasks so a child can button his own shirt or tie his own shoes
  • Teach social-emotional skills to promote positive behaviors in the home, school, and public settings
  • Support parents with sensory strategies to make everyday activities like transitions, teeth-brushing, mealtime, and getting dressed easier for the whole family

Whether your infant or child has a fine motor delay, sensory processing difficulty, birth injury, autism, neurological disorder, learning problem, traumatic injury, behavioral problem, or other injury or illness, OT is here to help! Pediatric occupational therapists meet a child where they are and together, go somewhere new. We are experts of development, masters of play, and motivated to help your child succeed in everyday life. 

Happy OT Month!

Kristin Eldridge, MOT, OTR/L

Pediatric Occupational Therapist