Occupational therapists focus much of their work on identifying and eliminating environmental barriers to independence and participation in daily activities. Occupational therapy is a client-centred practice that places emphasis on the progress towards the client’s goals. Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill, and educating the client/family in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the client. Occupational therapists often work closely with professionals in physical therapy, speech therapy, nursing, social work, and the community. Occupational therapy (OT) treatment focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives.

Occupational Therapists have their role in various fields like

  • Orthopedic
  • Neurology
  • Ergonomics
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Hand Functions
  • Rehabilitation

Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics

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.
Some people may think that occupational therapy is only for adults; kids, after all, do not have occupations. But a child’s main job is playing and learning, and occupational therapists can evaluate kids’ skills for playing, school performance, and daily activities and compare them with what is developmentally appropriate for that age group.
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), in addition to dealing with someone’s physical well-being, OT practitioners 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

Kids Who Might Need Occupational Therapy

According to the AOTA, kids with these medical problems might benefit from Occupational Therapy:
  • birth injuries or birth defects
  • sensory processing disorders
  • traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • learning problems
  • autism and pervasive developmental disorders
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • mental health or behavioural problems
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Hand-writing issues
  • Problem solving issues
  • Autism
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder)
  • Broken Bones o other orthopaedic injuries
  • Genetic disorders like Down Syndrome
  • developmental delays
  • post-surgical conditions
  • burns
  • spina bifida
  • traumatic amputations
  • cancer
  • severe hand injuries
  • multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses
  • Occupational therapists might:
  • help kids work on fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills
  • Address hand-eye coordination to improve kids’ play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.)
  • help kids with severe developmental delays learn basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves)
  • help kids with behavioural disorders maintain positive behaviours in all environments (e.g., instead of hitting others or acting out, using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activity)
  • teach kids with physical disabilities the coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
  • help kids with Sensory issues by using Sensory Integration approach
  • evaluate a child’s need for specialized equipment, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, or communication aids
  • Work with kids who have sensory and attention issues to improve focus and social skills.
  • Services Provided by a Paediatric Occupational Therapist:
  • A comprehensive evaluation
  • Customised treatment programs to improve the child’s ability to perform daily activities
  • An at-home/home plan for carryover of therapy techniques
  • Sensory Integration
  • Recommendations for the home and school as appropriate
  • Adaptive equipment recommendations
  • Counselling
  • Continual guidance to family members and caregivers
  • Hand-functions
  • Handwriting without tear (HWT) techniques

How Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy (OT) Differ

Although both physical and occupational therapy help improve kids’ quality of life, there are differences. Physical therapy (PT) deals with pain, strength, joint range of motion, endurance, and gross motor functioning, whereas OT deals more with fine motor skills, visual-perceptual skills, cognitive skills, and sensory-processing deficits.