Pediatric Occupational Therapy


Depending on what exactly a child needs help with, occupational therapy intervention can cover any of the following areas:

  • Dressing, including putting on pants, shirts, jackets, socks, and tying shoes

  • Self-feeding; depending on the child’s age, this may include finger feeding, modified/assistive devices, or standard utensils such as forks, spoons, and knives

  • Grooming and hygiene, such as brushing hair, washing hands, and brushing teeth

  • Showering or bathing

  • Potty training, including knowing when to use the bathroom, managing clothing, and demonstrating good hygiene

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Basics

Occupational therapists can treat children with conditions that are congenital (those they are born with) or acquired (concerns that develop over time or after an injury). Occupational therapists are known as the masters of self-care, because they help kids learn how to care for themselves with emphasis on fine motor skills and sensory needs such as letter formation and writing, the use of scissors, dressing, and self-feeding.

What does a pediatric occupational therapist do?

While physical therapists address larger movements such as walking and crawling, occupational therapists help children build daily living skills, also known as ADLs. Occupational therapists use a variety of activities, games, and exercises to help kids learn the cognitive and motor skills that they need to engage in these functional activities.

What can Pediatric Occupational Therapy Do For You?

Another skill area that occupational therapists assist with is sensory integration. Children may have difficulty processing and reacting to a range of stimuli, including textures, sounds, smells, tastes, and sights. Kids can either be defensive or under-responsive to a variety of input, including certain textures of clothing or food, loud noises, strong or unusual smells, bitter tastes, and bright lights or patterns. Reactions on both ends of the spectrum can cause a child to demonstrate strong behaviors, which often prevents them from completing self-care tasks or attending school.

Occupational therapy services typically include

If a child is having difficulty completing any ADLs due to concerns with gross motor skills, then therapists will also incorporate gross motor training into treatment. Occupational therapists also address skills such as communication, social interaction, emotion regulation, problem-solving, and self-image. The focus of OTs is on how these skills interact with a child’s ability to function, either when completing academic tasks at school, engaging in self-care at home, or managing their emotions and actions within the community.

The Importance of Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Many children (and their families) view occupational therapy treatment as a fun way to build skills while becoming stronger and happier. Occupational therapy at Building Blocks Pediatric Therapist enhances a child’s development and helps them become more independent as they grow.