What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) helps people improve the skills they need to perform their job of living or their “occupation.” Everyone has an occupation – even a child!  A child’s occupation is to grow and develop, learn, and play. As children get older they start taking care of themselves with skills such as brushing their teeth and getting dressed – and eventually participating in school and completing homework assignments.

OT helps children with physical, sensory, or cognitive challenges to meet developmental milestones and perform age-appropriate skills independently.  OT helps children become more aware of their body, improves attention, and develops hand functions for success during play, daily living, and school activities. Through occupational therapy, children develop their sense of self as they interact with family, friends, and others to learn and play.

Occupational therapy can promote self-confidence and independence through the development of:

  • Attention skills
  • Sensory processing skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Hand dexterity / fine motor skills
  • Visual-spatial skills
  • Visual-motor skills
  • Motor planning
  • Age-appropriate skills of daily living

When should a child see an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist helps children who have difficulty with:

  • Age-appropriate self-care skills such as brushing teeth, buttoning a shirt, or tying shoes.
  • Fine-motor activities such as handwriting or cutting with scissors.
  • Initiating or completing tasks such as completing a simple puzzle or playing on the slide or swing.
  • Visual motor and visual perceptual activities such as copying from the board and completing assignments accurately.
  • Sensory input, such as avoiding the tactile experiences involved in “messy” activities or becoming frustrated when someone makes physical contact with them.
  • Cognitive tasks such as paying attention, following instructions, problem solving, and organization.
  • Thinking skills such as remembering homework assignments, organization, and problem solving.
  • Social situations including interacting and playing with other children.
  • Using their arms, hands, and fingers for basic developmental milestones such as crawling, grasping, and releasing.

If you have questions or concerns, please call CTS at 630-444-0077 to speak to a therapist or to speak to a client support specialist.