Occupational therapy practitioners work with children, youth, and their families to promote active participation in activities or occupations that are meaningful to them. Occupation refers to activities that may support the health, well-being, and development of an individual (AOTA, 2008).
For children and youth, occupations are activities that enable them to learn and develop life skills (e.g., school activities), be creative and/or derive enjoyment (e.g., play), and thrive (e.g., self-care and care for others) as both a means and an end. Occupational therapy practitioners work with children of all ages (birth through young adulthood) and abilities. Recommended interventions are based on a thorough understanding of typical development and the impact of disability, illness, and impairment on the individual child’s development, play, learning, and overall occupational performance.
Occupational therapy practitioners provide services by collaborating with other professionals to identify and meet needs of children experiencing delays or challenges in development; identifying and modifying or overcoming barriers that interfere with, restrict, or inhibit a child’s functional performance; teaching and modeling skills and strategies to children and their families to extend therapeutic intervention; and adapting activities, materials, and environmental conditions so children can participate under different conditions and in various environments.
The primary occupations of young children are play and interacting with caregivers. Occupational therapists evaluate children’s development and provide intervention to improve skills and/or modify environments when concerns arise about a child’s functional performance. Some examples are:
Occupational therapy practitioners work with students in preschool, and elementary, middle, and high school to support successful learning, appropriate behavior, and participation in daily school routines and activities. Services can be provided under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, or the Americans with Disabilities Act for students with disabilities, or as part of a multi-tiered problem-solving process for general education students (e.g., Response to Intervention, early intervening services).Practitioners also collaborate with teachers, parents, and education personnel on ways to support student learning throughout the school environment.
Pediatric occupational therapy helps children be successful at the “jobs” of childhood, including self-care, play, school performance, and social interactions. Occupational therapy can help kids with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. Using activities that seem like play to children, occupational therapy provides challenging tasks in a one-on-one setting strategically designed to improve the skills children need in their daily life.
Our occupational therapy program includes several other specialized treatment programs including SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) feeding therapy for children with feeding aversions, Handwriting Without Tears handwriting curriculum, Integrated Listening System and Interactive Metronome which both assist with motor planning, sensory processing, and cognition.
If you feel your child could benefit from pediatric occupational therapy, please contact us for a free phone consultation. Don’t wait! Research proves that early intervention is vital! We will consult with you on appropriate treatment and will set up an occupational therapy program customized for your child’s needs that fits your schedule.
I have used Child’s Play Therapy Center for about 8 years. My oldest son started with handwriting/occupational therapy. The “Handwriting Without Tears” program was a perfect fit for him! There really were no tears! We went back a few years later to help master cursive writing. Again, the program was excellent and my son did very well. Then, I found out about iLs, Integrated Listening Systems. This was a game changer for my son, who has ADD (attention deficit disorder). It is a fascinating program! It helps bombard all the sensory systems all at once and helps with focus, balance, among a ton of other things. His concentration was better which helped him with his homework. I have enjoyed going to Child’s Play Therapy Center all these years. They are very professional, friendly, and have the best programs for children. Child’sPlay has been a life saver for us! The staff has helped build self-esteem and confidence while teaching these methods to my son. I have seen kids cry because it was time to go home!
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2008). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain & process (2nd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 625–683.