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What is Occupational Therapy?

occupational therapy

Most people hear occupational therapy and they think it’s helping people get jobs. Then you say pediatric occupational therapy and then they are really confused. So what exactly is occupational therapy and how can it help my child?

Occupational therapy helps people participate in their day to day lives through use of therapeutic activities. For children, it’s helping them engage and participate in school, play, interaction with peers, learning, and becoming functional independent little humans. An occupational therapist can help your child if they are struggling with any of these activities (plus many more):

  • going to the park
  • cleaning up after play
  • getting dressed
  • using the restroom (age appropriate)
  • scribbling, drawing, coloring, writing
  • eating and/or drinking (chewing, swallowing, holding utensils, eating a variety of foods)
  • listening to stories
  • singing along with actions
  • maintaining focus and attention on tasks
  • playing with toys appropriately
  • sleeping
  • playing outside
  • playing with others
  • following directions and/or following routines
  • walking, throwing, catching

We all want our children to be successful and independent but sometimes they need a little extra guidance and support to get there. Occupational therapy works not just with your child but also with you, the family, to ensure success. It is an overall team approach to help build up those skills your child might be struggling with. We use a play based approach because a child’s ‘occupation’ is to PLAY! We will find that “just right” challenge to engage your child and then build upon the skills they already have mastered to get to where they need/should be. Occupational therapy will help your child not only build upon those skills they need to become independent, but also increase their problem solving, social skills, and overall self-confidence along the way!

Nicole Yates
About the author

I have been working in the speech-language field since 2007. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 2006, and my masters from University of South Florida in 2009. I have worked in the school system, hospital, independent clinic, and home health settings. I decided to leave the hospital to work for myself, because I was frustrated with the amount of children required for me to see daily. Starting my own company has allowed me time to adequately prepare for each of my patients so that I can serve them and their families in the best way possible. Every child is so different, and I can now give them the time they need. I myself was in speech therapy as a child and know what it feels like not to be understood. It is my passion to help every child reach their fullest potential in the area of communication. There is nothing more fulfilling than hearing a child tell their parents they love them for the first time! I would be grateful to be a part of your child’s journey.