Occupational therapy’s purpose is to assist clients so they can participate in activities of daily life. Pediatric occupational therapists work in a variety of settings and within various systems. Some examples include: pediatric intensive care units, rehabilitation units, private clinics, and schools. Pediatric therapists work with children and young adults who have mental, physical, emotional, and developmental delays.
Occupational therapists (OT’s) use standardized assessments, family interviews and clinical observations in order to determine areas of strength, and of challenge. Goals are developed to ensure that functional outcomes are met. OT’s assist clients to develop fine motor, cognitive, feeding, social, self-care, and strength skills. By using play, self-care tasks, social and community therapeutic activities, children develop functional skills that enable them to live more independently.
OTs also work with children who have sensory integration and regulation dysfunction. These clients have difficulty tolerating and engaging in the environment due to an over- or under-active response in the autonomic nervous system. During Sensory Integration treatment, clients are desensitized to inputs that they are overly seeking or avoiding. Through this process, they are able to better cope and tolerate typical inputs in their natural environment, leading to more typical engagement and less inappropriate behaviors in response to non-preferred stimuli.