What is Occupational Therapy?



Occasional therapy may be exactly what your child needs to help them live their life to the fullest and experience the best start during essential developmental phases, but many parents and people are not aware of the benefits of occupational therapy (OT), and it is often confused with physical therapy (PT).

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Define and Compare

Occupational therapy (OT) involves assessment and intervention to develop, recuperate, and enable an individual to continue daily life with meaningful activities or occupations. Occupational therapists frequently work with people who have special needs, impairments, mental health problems, disabilities, or injuries.

Occupational therapy involves a holistic approach to treating the entire person, including those with developmental or cognitive disabilities that affect motor skills, emotions or behavior, as well as activities that have been impacted.

Occupational therapy also addresses psychological, social, and environmental factors that can affect functioning in different ways.

Physical therapy (PT) focuses entirely on improving a person’s ability to perform movement of the body, as well as pain relief that is centered around physical impairments. Typically, physical therapy consists of exercises, massage, and other techniques.

OT and PT benefits do intermix, though, as both educate people about the healing process and both assist with daily activities through therapy and training.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy 

One of the most misunderstood aspects of occupational therapy is that OT is solely for adults because “children do not have occupations,” but occupations are activities in which a person engages, not necessarily a “job.” Every child participates in daily occupations (activities) in life.

As a parent, you will likely agree that your child’s main day to day occupation is playing and learning.

Pediatric occupational therapy provides assessment and intervention to help children function and participate fully in daily activities, including school and social situations.

Pediatric occupational therapy is considered a critical need. The longer a child goes without mastering the skills needed to function in daily life and activities, the chances are that the underlying problem may multiply as they get older.

Our Pediatric Occupational Therapy 

We strive to help children reach their utmost potential with regulation, shared attention, and through engaging in the world around them.

Some of the general developmental areas that we address are cognitive skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and self-care.

Your child may benefit from occupational therapy with or without the presence of a medical condition. Occupational Therapy can benefit children who display:

  • Behavior associated with becoming overwhelmed in busy, bright, or loud environments
  • Sensitivity to tactile, auditory, or visual stimulation
  • Sensitivity to movement or afraid of movement such as swinging, spinning, jumping, or being placed upside down
  • Challenges with tolerating a variety of foods (appearance and texture and taste)
  • Difficulty staying calm or still
  • Difficulty with focusing and participation in school
  • Difficulty attending to multiple stimuli at once, such as visual and auditory
  • Challenges blocking out non-important stimuli to focus on salient or important stimuli
  • Challenges shifting attention when appropriate
  • Difficulty initiating, joining, and sustaining social play with peers
  • Difficulty connecting or engaging with others
  • Difficulty with following directions or carrying out a multi-step sequence
  • Limited or lack of pretend play ideas
  • Gross and fine motor coordination challenges
  • Handwriting challenges
  • Challenges with daily living skills such as feeding, dressing, and hygiene skills

Some growth, behavioral, and medical conditions put children at a higher risk of delay in skill-building which can impact learning and daily activities (occupations) in life:

  • Autism
  • Persuasive Developmental Disorders (PDD)
  • Birth injuries or birth defects
  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • Spina Bifida
  • Cerebral Palsy and other chronic illnesses

Our practice follows the systematic DIR® / Floortime™ model. DIR® stands for Developmental, Individual Differences, and Relationship-Based approach. A highly effective assessment and treatment model that focuses on relationships by strengthening the child’s core capacities for functional and emotional development.

DIR® / Floortime™ is a way of working with a child that focuses on the child’s developmental capacities. It involves interactive play that helps the child build interpersonal, emotional and intellectual skills.

Contact Us

If you are interested in our pediatric occupational services, or if you have any questions about our services, we urge you to email us at [email protected] or call us at (713) 522-8880.


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