WHAT IS PEDIATRIC OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY?
Occupational therapy (OT) treatment focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, developmental, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), in addition to dealing with someone's physical well-being, OT practitioners can address psychological, social, and environmental factors that can affect functioning in different ways.
This approach makes OT a vital part of health care for some kids.
A child's main job is playing and learning, and occupational therapists can evaluate a child’s skills for playing, school performance, and daily activities and compare them with what is developmentally appropriate.
WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM PEDIATRIC OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY?
Child and young adults with:
· birth injuries or birth defects
· sensory processing disorders
· learning disorders or difficulties
· Autism Spectrum Disorders
· mental health or behavioral difficulties
· developmental delays
· congenital or traumatic amputations
· hand injuries
· multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other chronic conditions / disabilities
WHAT MIGHT OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY DO FOR MY CHILD?
· improve fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys, and
develop good handwriting skills
· help improve cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills
· enhance their self-esteem, academics, daily-life, and sense of accomplishment
· address and improve hand–eye coordination to improve play and school skills
· help with developmental delays in aspects of academic and socialization
· address activities of daily living
· help with behavioral disorders and collaborate with other behavioral specialists to maintain positive behaviors in all environments
· teach kids with physical disabilities the coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting.
· evaluate a child's need for specialized equipment
· work with sensory and attentional issues to improve focus and social skills
· assist with enhancing communication skills through collaboration with SLP’s and teachers
· & more…
Occupational therapists have important knowledge and expertise to share.
Take advantage of it.
WHY WOULD MY CHILD BENEFIT FROM BOTH SCHOOL AND PRIVATE OT?
School occupational therapy is typically based on increasing independence in the education system (focus on areas that only impact participation in school). Private occupational therapy is based on increasing activities of daily living in all settings (ex. social, play, self-care, attention, parent education). Children will sometimes not qualify for school-based OT services, but will for private. It is always best to consult with a licensed Occupational Therapist if you have concerns.
HOW DO PHYSICAL AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY DIFFER?
Physical Therapy (PT) helps increase physical function and move the body more effectively. PT’s work on muscle strength, endurance, range of motion, balance, and pain management (among other things) to help a child meet gross motor milestones and improve their movement quality.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is focused on improving a child’s performance in their daily occupations (playing, learning, socializing, etc.). They frequently work on fine motor skills, visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and sensory processing deficits. However, they can also address gross motor skills, core strength, balance and functional mobility to help children improve their function in
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OT AND AN OTA?
There are two professional levels of occupational practice — occupational therapist (OT) and occupational therapist assistant (OTA). Since 2007, an OT must complete a master's degree program (previously, only a bachelor's degree was required. They are now moving towards a doctorate). An OTA completes an associate’s degree program and can carry out treatment plans developed by the occupational therapist.
They do not complete evaluations.
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