Pediatric Occupational Therapy 101. What is OT and how can it help my child?

So your child’s pediatrician, teacher, speech, or physical therapist has recommended an Occupational Therapy (OT) evaluation and you are left wondering what OT is and the benefits it could offer your child. Don’t worry, most parents feel the same way as you do and have many questions that sometimes go unanswered. I am here to answer some of those questions in this short blog.

What Is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

An occupational therapist’s role is to evaluate a child’s strengths, as well as their difficulties, in critical developmental areas. The OT will then design individualized interventions that promote the healthy development of skills needed for success with daily tasks. By incorporating meaningful activities and play, OT facilitates the development of age appropriate skills, which promotes independence thus improving quality of life.

How Do I Know If My Child Will Benefit From Occupational Therapy?

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), children with the following medical problems might benefit from OT. They are as follow, but not limited to:

  • Birth injuries or birth defects
  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • Learning problems
  • Autism/pervasive developmental disorders
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Mental health or behavioral problems
  • Broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
  • Developmental delays including fine motor delays
  • Post-surgical conditions
  • Burns
  • Spina bifida
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses


What Should I Expect During Treatment Sessions?

 After the initial evaluation is performed, the OT will work together with the parents/caregiver to establish client centered goals.  This just means that we address your biggest concerns.  The OT will then create individualized interventions to address difficulties noted in the OT evaluation. Below are common areas addressed by an OT during treatment sessions. They can include, but are not limited to:

  • Work on fine motor skills so your child can grasp and release toys for development of good handwriting skills.
  • Address hand–eye coordination to improve your child’s play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.).
  • Assist children with severe developmental delays so that they can learn basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves). OT is all about improving quality of life!
  • Help children with behavioral disorders maintain positive behaviors 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 activities).
  • Teach strategies to improve coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
  • Work with kids who have sensory and attention issues to improve focus and social skills for success in school, home, and community.

I realize that this is a lot to take in and there are many more questions that you will have. I recommend the website below with more in depth information on Pediatric Occupational Therapy and what to expect. Please click the link below:


Click This Link For More Info.




American Occupational Therapy Association Retrieved November 14, 2016, from


Kids Health Occupational Therapy Retrieved November 14, 2016, from

About the author:

Olivia Chester, OTR/L


Olivia is a Statesboro native who is excited to be a part of the Therapy SPOT team. Olivia graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a Bachelors degree in Psychology in 2013. She then went on to earn her Masters in Occupational therapy from The University of St. Augustine in 2016. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Olivia developed a passion for working with children during one of her academic rotations in Savannah and decided after graduation to pursue pediatric OT. She specializes in working with children who have sensory processing disorder (SPD) by providing appropriate and individualized therapeutic intervention. Olivia hopes to not only provide exceptional therapy services to your child, but to also educate caregivers on activities they can work on at home by providing ideas, resources, and handouts. Olivia continues to grow her skill set by staying up to date with research, participating in continuing education, and staying involved with caregiver’s concerns and questions. Olivia’s hobbies include spending time with her family and golden retriever, Boone, riding her bike and kayaking on Tybee Island, and spending time exploring the history and natural resources of the Low Country. She looks forward to working with your child!

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation. ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015