Pediatric Occupational Therapy
OTs work with children to improve their sensory, motor, and visual skills. These skills are essential for self-care, play, and school readiness.
OTs must have excellent communication skills, be patient and creative, and understand child development and play. They also need to keep up with new health advancements and treatments. Contact Pediatric Occupational Therapy Bucks County for professional help.
Pediatric Occupational therapy practitioners use their knowledge of child development to help children improve skills that are important for learning, playing, and thriving. They may work with children in a variety of treatment settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and private practice.
OTs use play and other therapeutic techniques to help children with physical, sensory, and cognitive challenges improve their daily functioning. This includes fine motor skills (like the ability to hold a pen or hit a baseball), visual perceptual skills, cognitive abilities, and sensory processing.
In addition to working directly with clients, OTs may also provide caregiver and teacher education, as well as recommend home programs to support carryover of skills learned in the clinic into daily life and school-based activities. They can even assist in navigating the healthcare system to make sure that their clients are receiving the best possible care, including helping patients obtain necessary medical equipment and supplies.
Many pediatric therapists specialize in certain areas of the body or in specific types of disorders, such as cerebral palsy or developmental delays. This specialization allows them to focus their expertise and training on the area that will most benefit the child in question.
If a child is uncomfortable with certain textures or surfaces, it may be a sign that they have sensory processing issues. An OT can help the child overcome this discomfort by engaging them in fun activities that are both entertaining and non-threatening.
While a pediatric OT will do everything they can to ensure that the patient is succeeding in their goals, they are not meant to be a “magic bullet.” It takes time and effort on the part of both the client and the family for the goals to be met. OTs understand this and do all they can to help their patients progress as quickly as possible while providing the highest quality of care.
To become a pediatric OT, you will need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as psychology or nursing and then complete a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Once you have completed your graduate program, you will need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam and get licensed to practice in your state.
How Does Occupational Therapy Help Children?
Pediatric Occupational therapy is a great tool for kids who have trouble with certain aspects of their life due to congenital physical impairment, general developmental delays or aquired injuries. These issues can affect how a child moves through their daily routine, play and socialize with others. This is why it’s so important to seek help as soon as you have concerns for your child. The longer you wait, the more a problem may develop and impact your child’s ability to participate in everyday activities.
The goals targeted in OT for children are very different than those for adults. They focus on developing the skills that children need to be kids in order to learn, play and socialize. This could include working on fine motor skills, like writing and tying their shoes, or addressing sensory processing problems. Parents are often heavily involved in these sessions, in order to reinforce these skills at home.
Kids with these types of problems are often referred to a pediatric occupational therapist by their primary care provider. This is why it is so important to be aware of your child’s development and to speak with your pediatrician if you think that your child may need therapy.
In addition to these in-office sessions, pediatric therapists also work with children through home health agencies. This allows them to reach a larger number of patients in a shorter amount of time. This is great for families with limited schedules or children that live far from a medical facility.
Shannon Taylor, OT, has been an OT for five years and loves working with children. She works with the Pediatric population at UF Health Rehabilitation – Wildlight and enjoys using a variety of techniques to address each patient’s individual needs. She particularly likes to use sensory integration for feeding intervention and incorporating fine and visual motor skills through making crafts, such as coloring, cutting and pasting.
She also believes that it is extremely important to support family capacity through culturally responsive developmental monitoring as part of pediatric interprofessional teams. This is especially critical as new reimbursement models emphasize health outcomes and promote community-based practice in natural contexts.
How Can Occupational Therapy Help My Child?
Pediatric occupational therapy can help children who are experiencing a variety of challenges. Some may not have hit their developmental milestones on time, while others are dealing with the effects of chronic health conditions such as cerebral palsy or a stroke. Occupational therapists work with kids to improve their ability to do the things that are important to them, such as learning and playing.
An OT will begin by testing your child to figure out what’s causing their problems. For example, if your child has trouble staying seated at school or falling out of their chair, it’s likely because they don’t have enough gross motor skills. In that case, an OT will recommend some active seating, like a ball chair or inflatable wedge, to strengthen their big muscle groups and improve sitting tolerance.
Many pediatric OTs also work with kids who have visual processing issues. These kids have trouble making sense of what they see, which can affect their ability to learn. An OT will work with your child to practice visual-related activities, such as coloring or using scissors and cutting paper, to improve their hand strength, eye-hand coordination, and fine motor skills like pincer grasp.
Often, sensory processing issues are behind behavioral struggles in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). An OT is trained to address these underlying concerns, which will help your child be more productive at home and at school.
In addition to helping kids overcome obstacles that interfere with daily living, social interactions and self-care routines, pediatric OT can also increase a kid’s confidence and feelings of accomplishment. Kids who receive OT are often less reliant on their parents, which can reduce arguments and frustrations.
Finally, OTs can help kids develop the skills they need to succeed in life. This includes gaining independence in essential areas such as grooming, dressing, and feeding themselves. Occupational therapists also offer caregiver training, which can help the whole family.
What Can I Expect from Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a valuable resource for children with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy or Down syndrome. It can also help kids with sensory processing disorders, which lead to behavioral issues at school and at home. Kids with ADHD or depression might also benefit from OT. According to Biel, the most common occupational therapist treatment goals involve building up the skills that children need to live as healthy and functional as possible. This might include developing fine, visual and gross motor skills; establishing self-care routines; addressing emotional and behavioral regulation and cognitive functions; and improving sensory integration.
During their initial evaluation, pediatric therapists take a detailed look at a child’s unique needs and how they impact daily life. They will use a combination of assessments and tools depending on the patient’s age and specific condition.
Once they have a good understanding of the patient’s situation, pediatric therapists work together with their clients to create dynamic therapy plans. These plans discuss the patient’s goals and include treatment methods, measurable outcomes and timelines.
Pediatric OTs work closely with their patients to provide individually designed developmental activities that improve daily functioning and movement. These activities might include exercises on therapy balls, swings or other equipment. In addition, therapists use music and dance to build up the patient’s confidence and self-esteem.
The goal is to help the patient achieve the skills they need to participate in the things they value in life. For example, a child who loves to paint might need OT services to improve their fine and visual motor skills. They might also need OT services to help them establish and maintain their daily self-care routines.
Many kids receive OT services at a clinic, although some may have in-home care provided by their insurance company or through an in-home health agency. When in-home care is provided, the therapist will visit the patient at their home or childcare setting to observe them interacting with their environment and peers.
Before any OT treatment begins, it’s essential that the patient remove outer layers of clothing to make sure the therapist can get a clear view of their joints and muscles. Parents or guardians are often asked to attend the sessions and help their child during the evaluation. They can also help them practice the techniques at home to prepare for their sessions.