Upon first hearing the term, occupational therapy may sound like a program associated with a grownup job or profession. However, occupational therapy is a system designed to help perform many of the activities, or “occupations,” required for daily living. Pediatric occupational therapy is a specialization that helps children perform meaningful tasks or occupations that we often take for granted in everyday life.
There are two different types of pediatric occupational therapy: temporary occupational therapy and ongoing occupational therapy. Temporary pediatric occupational therapy helps children regain skills or abilities they may have lost due to injury, illness, or trauma. Ongoing pediatric occupational therapy assists children who have a chronic illness or condition. An ongoing occupational therapy treatment plan helps children develop skills to adapt to home, school, or social activities.
What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a holistic system designed to give patients the skills necessary to perform everyday activities. Some children have congenital (diagnosed at birth) conditions that make it harder to perform certain tasks. Other children may have challenges associated with physical, mental, or emotional development. Occupational therapists design treatment plans to help your child reach pediatric milestone, preventing or delaying problems can interfere with your child’s performance in age-appropriate tasks.
For example, occupational therapy pediatric specialization can help a child overcome trauma that can prevent them from performing tasks with the arm or hand. Occupational therapy pediatric sensory integration treatment plans can help children uses their bodies seamlessly within their environment. Pediatric occupational therapy can also help children gradually develop the fine motor skills necessary to interact with other children. We design our occupational therapy pediatric programs around the milestones and goals that match the child’s individual age, wants, and needs.
To provide a visual, occupational therapy pediatric practice settings may include activities designed to help children develop tactile and spatial skills such as dressing themselves, brushing their teeth, and using pencils or crayons. Occupational therapy pediatric interventions may include feeding interventions to help children eat on their own or mental health interventions to help children learn coping skills for anxiety. Extensive occupational therapy and children’s play can also help with sensory-processing difficulties. Occupational therapists perform evaluations, use equipment, and design treatment plans based on the specific childhood age.
Pediatric occupational therapists in Texas must undergo some of the most extensive occupational therapy training in the nation. Occupational therapists with pediatric specialization must complete graduate-level education and receive licensure from the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners (TBOTE). This professional training allows occupational therapists in North Texas to work in a variety of practice settings, including clinics, hospitals, home programs, and other childhood intervention programs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?
Children may need occupational therapy after being born with conditions or experiencing injuries that impede the ability to perform age-appropriate tasks. These tasks may include caring for themselves, using fine motor skills, resting as needed, playing independently or with others, or attending school. Occupational therapy pediatric programs help children gain the skills needed to perform routine tasks throughout the day. Additionally, an occupational therapist with pediatric specialization can provide education, resources, and progress notes needed to make the surrounding environment more suitable for the child’s needs. Pediatric occupational therapists in North Texas may work with hospitals, clinics, and other medical personnel to create a holistic treatment plan.
Examples of conditions that may require pediatric occupational therapy intervention include the following:
- Amputations of the arm or hand
- Cerebral palsy
- Congenital (present at birth) anomalies (e.g. clubbed foot)
- Developmental delays in fine motor skills
- Injuries to the upper arms, joints, or hands
- Joint contracture and mobilization
- Neurodevelopment treatment programs
- Sensory integration disorders
- Sensory motor deficit
- Visual, motor, or perceptual development issues
How Do I Prepare for a Pediatric Occupational Therapy Appointment?
Our pediatric occupational therapists work with children within the clinic on an inpatient basis. These programs include help with fine motor skills or treatment plans design to help children use skills independently between visits.
Prior to seeing a pediatric occupational therapist, let your child know that this specialist is there to help them solve problems and live more independent lives. Children take pride in the ability to care for themselves, so informing children that they will be active participants in the process can boost engagement in occupational therapy activities.
Develop a list of questions that you can ask during the first appointment. You may also include progress notes or highlight the activities in which your child has trouble performing.
First Pediatric Occupational Therapy Appointment Tips and Recommendations
The first appointment typically consists of a pediatric occupational therapy evaluation. Be prepared to answer a series of questions on your child’s medical history. The occupational therapist then structures a treatment plan of activities that occur during clinic visits. The pediatric occupational therapist may also request that parents ensure that children follow through with exercises, activities, and interventions at home to maximize chances of success.
We offer in-clinic pediatric occupational therapy in Richardson, Carrollton and Garland, Texas. The pediatric occupational therapy program works with children from age 3 years old to 8 years old.
For children needing services from birth – 3 years old, please refer to our Early Childhood Intervention Program.
Ask about both our occupational therapy services. Click here to Request Services.