Pediatric Occupational Therapy: A Complete Guide

Pediatric Occupational Therapy: A Complete Guide

Pediatric occupational therapy is a type of therapy given to children to help them when they have some difficulties, physical developmental or cognitive delays, or disabilities. Therapy is given by helping them with everyday things like self-care, school tasks, or social noth interaction.

There is nothing wrong in taking help from a therapist, they are meant for this only. Do not hesitate to consult a therapist if your child is suffering. Let’s learn more about pediatric occupational therapy in this article.

What is Paediatric Occupational Therapy?

What is Paediatric Occupational therapy

Pediatric occupational therapy is given to help children to reach their full potential by providing them individualised interventions that are tailored to their specific needs. This type of therapy can be given in various forms and in various settings like clinics, schools, hospitals, and even at home also. (1)

This type of therapy focuses on developing skills in children that they need to be successful in their daily life activities. These skills include:

  • Gross motor skills: includes large muscle movement required for activities like climbing, jumping, and running.
  • Fine motor skills: small movements like drawing, writing, and using some tools.
  • Social skills: the ability to interact socially and make friends.
  • Cognitive skills: the ability to think, problem-solving, and reasoning.
  • Sensory processing skills: these involve how the brain responds to senses like touch, sight, sound, and smell.

Who is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist?

A pediatric occupational therapist is a professional who specialises in working with children who are suffering from physical and developmental and cognitive delays or disabilities. They use a play-based approach to help children engage in age-appropriate activities that may be challenging for them.

These therapists have deep knowledge and understanding of child development and growth. They study the growth and development of children at specific ages. They have an understanding of development and the impact that delays or disabilities can have on a child’s ability to participate in daily activities.

They can work with all ages children, from infants to teenagers, and can work at many places like hospitals, clinics, and schools.

They also work closely with families, caregivers, and other healthcare care professionals to provide comprehensive and collaborative care to the child. They also educate families and caregivers about how to behave with children and how they can help and support their child’s progress and development.

What does a Pediatric Occupational Therapist do?

Pediatric occupational therapists work in a specific manner to analyse a child’s problem and solve it. This process involves the following steps:

Assessment of abilities of a child

  • Assessment of abilities of a child

To provide therapy and treatment first the therapist should get to know about the problem well and the reason behind the problem. They assess the child’s strengths and challenge they feel related to daily life activities. Therapists use a  variety of tools and techniques to evaluate and assess the skills of the child.

  • Make a treatment plan

Based on the assessment they made, the therapist makes a personalised treatment plan for the child according to specific needs. This treatment plan includes activities to improve the skills of the child like fine skills, motor skills, cognitive skills, or social skills.

  • Arrange therapy sessions

The next step is providing therapy sessions. Pediatric occupational therapists work one on one with children to provide sessions that are tailored to their needs. These sessions may involve some activities like :

  1. Playing with toys
  2. Practicing self-care tasks 
  3. Work in hand-eye coordination
  • Meet families and caregivers to provide education

Therapists may work closely with families and caregivers of children to educate them about child development. They provide them strategies and techniques to support the child outside therapy sessions or after the session finishes. (4)

  • Collaboration with other healthcare professionals

Pediatrics occupational therapists often work as part of a multidisciplinary team that includes other healthcare professionals also. Other healthcare professionals can be physical therapists, psychologists, or maybe speech therapists. They collaborate with each other to provide comprehensive care to children.

This is how they work in a systematic way to provide the best therapy to children. They continuously monitor the progress of the child and work according to that. 

When do you need to visit a Pediatric Occupational Therapist?

When do you need to visit a Pediatric Occupational Therapist

There can be several situations where it may be appropriate to consult a pediatric occupational therapist. Here are examples of some situations:

  • Delay in the development of the child

There are specific development milestones according to age for children. If your child is unable to meet developmental milestones such as crawling, walking, or speaking, it may be appropriate to consult with a therapist. They can assess your child’s ability and provide interventions to promote their development.

  • Physical limitations of child

Any physical disability or injury can affect your child’s daily activities such as eating, and getting ready, a therapist can provide intervention to improve independence and quality of life.

  • Issues with sensory processing

It is difficult for children to process information from their senses such as taste, touch, sound, and smell. It may affect their ability to perform daily life activities. A therapist can help your child to regulate their send to input and respond appropriately. (3)

  • Difficulty in learning

 Sometimes children may face difficulty in learning new things or difficulty in fine motor skills. Therapists can help to improve their academic performance and overall success in school.

  • Challenges in behaviour

Some children may feel behavioural challenges such as difficulty following directions or interacting with peers.  can help to promote social skills and emotional regulation.

Overall,  consulting a pediatrics occupational therapist’s concerns can be helpful for you if you are concerned about your child’s development and ability to perform daily activities.

Benefits of Occupational Therapy for your child

 There can be many benefits of occupational therapy (2). List of some of them are:

  • Improved skills in life
  • Advocating for themselves
  • Self-care
  • Improvement in academic performance
  • Development of social skills
  • Understanding their senses
  • Regulating emotions

 Therapy can also benefit your child in treating some diseases like:

  • Anxiety
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Hearing loss
  • Learning disorders
  • Muscular dystrophy

There are many more Benefits of occupational therapy.


Pediatric occupational therapy can be very useful for children who are suffering from developmental, physical, or cognitive delays or disabilities. Children can develop the skills they need to be successful in their daily life activities with the help of the right therapist.