Occupational Therapy

Becoming a parent for the first time introduces a person to a whole new world, with its own language, rules, schedule, and paraphernalia.  If by chance your child has some special needs, the learning curve for you is enormous!  Not only do you have to learn to be a parent, you feel the need to become a medical expert overnight just to understand the barrage of information that is coming at you.  Never fear – we are actually here to help.  Here is some general information about one area of care your child might receive:  occupational therapy. 

On a brief historical note, occupational therapy (OT) got its start in veterans’ hospitals helping wounded vets recover skills lost to injury and illness.  The field has since branched dramatically, providing care to the very young, the very old, and anyone in between.  We work in clinics, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, corporations, etc.  Yes, some OT”s can help you with skills needed to perform your job, but we also look at “occupation” in a much broader sense. 

For a child, development is the primary occupation – learning skills and growing independent is his major task.  Play happens to be the main way that development occurs.  So, the pediatric occupational therapist is there to make that play as purposeful as possible.  In pediatric occupational therapy, there are several main areas that are traditionally addressed:

  •  Fine motor skills:  the ability to use hands and fingers to pick up and manipulate things
  • Visual motor skills:  the ability to use the eyes and hands together
  • Sensory skills:  the ability to make sense of all the senses (touch, movement, sound, sight, smell, emotions) and uses the senses to respond to the environment
  • Self-help skills:  the ability to eat, sleep, bathe, dress in an age-appropriate way

These are the areas that you can trust your child’s OT to help you with – from answering questions to providing treatment activities.  If you are having difficulty with any of these areas, talk to your OT.