What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

Pediatric occupational therapy helps children promote and gain independence by helping to strengthen the development of fine motor skills, sensory motor skills, and visual motor skills that a child needs to function, socialize, and grow to be a functional independent adult.  Congenital physical impairment,  general developmental delays, or aquired injuries can hamper a child’s ability to perform tasks that are age appropriate or progress normally through the social or cognitive development stages.  Pediatric Occupational Therapy is critical to parents to promote age appropriate skills to prevent any lag in development. Due to the nature of developmental skills acquisition, the longer a child’s delays are not addressed, the higher the possibility that the problem will compound as a child ages.

What does a Pediatric Occupational therapist DO to help children?

When working with children, pediatric occupational therapists often utilize play into their treatment in order to reduce any fears or anxiety children might be feeling toward therapy. What may look like a simple play activity to a parent,  to a pediatric occupational therapist, play is seen as a series of complex motor planning, cognitive training, and learning tasks. Play can involve games, toys, puzzles, songs or physical exercises. In all cases, the goal of pediatric occupational therapy is to stimulate and help children make appropriate progress, while assisting to  build a child’s self-esteem and confidence when it comes to their capabilities and potential.

Although Occupational therapy involves the use of play during therapeutic intervention, an occupational therapy should not be confused with play therapy. Occupational therapy is provided by a licensed occupational therapist. Occupational therapists are healthcare professionals that provide skilled intervention which includes ongoing analysis of a child’s abilities and development of medically based and measureable goals to increase a child’s overall performance with age appropriate tasks.

What areas of development would an Occupational Therapist help with?

  • Cognitive skills–  remembering the names/formation of letters, shapes and sequences
  • Fine motor skills– finger dexterity, wrist and forearm control, and hand strength
  • Gross motor skills– balance and body coordination
  • Self-care tasks– dressing, bathing and self-feeding
  • Social skills– taking turns, listening and following directions
  • Sensory Integration- helping with sensitivity to noise, touch/textures,taste,and visual stimuli

What are tasks that occupational therapy helps with?

  • Moving arms and hands freely to play with toys
  • Holding a crayon
  • Drawing or scribbling
  • Dressing (managing zippers, buttons, snaps, shoe laces)
  • Trying new foods (picky eater)
  • Playing with toys appropriately
  • Stacking blocks
  • Copying shapes
  • Doing puzzles
  • Snipping/cutting with scissors
  • Self-feeding (drinking from a cup, using a spoon)
  • Holding a pencil with a mature grasp
  • Increasing attention to task
  • Transitioning to a new location or activity
  • Learning new activities and tolerating changes in routine
  • Bathing or grooming (brushing teeth, brushing hair, cutting hair/nails)
  • Being always “on the go”




If  you have concerns regarding your child’s development, contact our office at 704-821-0568 to speak with a licensed therapist for a FREE 5 minute screening or to schedule for a full comprehensive evaluation.


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What IS Sensory Motor and WHY Is It Important?

Sensory and motor interaction provides for the foundation for a child’s growth, development and learning within the world around them.  Sensory stimulation/feedback and motor go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. The motor system drives the sensory stimulation and sensory stimulation/feedback drives the brain. It is critical for these skills to improve and develop to aid in behavior and academic learning. Often times, children struggling with learning or behavior have inadequately developed sensory and motor systems. Read More

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March Your Way Into Springtime Fun

Using outside play activities to develop motor skills.

Spring is finally here and children are excited about playing outside. Outside play times are perfect opportunities to encourage motor skill development while spending quality time with your child.

As children grow, they should be exposed to a variety of experiences that encourage their motor skills to develop. Simple things like choosing to walks on a gravel paths, soft sand or spongy playground mulch can challenge a child’s coordination and balance.  Playing on a variety of “unstable ground surfaces” will increase your child’s proprioceptive drive into the muscles which causes them to work harder than doing the same movements on more stable surfaces such as a road, wooden floors or concrete. Challenging your child with exposure to these unstable surfaces can encourage growth of motor skill coordination and postural control. Read More

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Pediatric Boulevard’s Ultimate Gift List for Kids!

Pediatric Boulevard’s Ultimate Gift List for Kids!

Toys that benefit a child’s physical and communication development

With the Christmas season upon us, our therapists often get the question: “WHAT should I buy my kid for Christmas to aid with their physical and communication development?” Given this is a common question with most parents, we asked our physical, occupational, and speech therapists to collaborate and develop a list of toys that they would recommend. Our licensed therapists came up with a great list of toys, categorized by age group, to stimulate and facilitate ANY child’s development. Read More

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What is a Floppy Baby??

2 (1)Have you ever wondered why your child’s body seems “floppy”?  Do their muscles feel “loose”?  Ever feel like your little one feels especially “heavy” to carry or lift, more so than they should?  Maybe they feel as if they are slipping through your grasp when trying to pick them up?

Low muscle tone, officially defined as Hypotonia, could be the cause of these symptoms. The official cause of Hypotonia is unknown; however, it is very common and can be present in normal infants, as well as infants with specific diagnoses such as Down’s Syndrome or Prematurity.  If a child has Hypotonia, it is very likely for them to present with delayed milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking and even speaking. Read More

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