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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Did Someone Say, “Bath time”?

Fun activities to safely explore and learn while in the bath tub

Bathing is an essential part of a child’s daily routine. Why not jazz up your bath time routine with some fun activities that will aid in your child’s overall development? We asked our licensed therapists to give us a list of their go-to bath time activities that aid in the development of motor skills and sensory integration.

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A Speech Therapist’s Guide to Sippy Cups:

How Sippy Cups Can Affect Your Child’s Speech Development


Which Cups Are Great To Use AND Which Ones Should Be Avoided

Oh sippy cups, how you have become a parent’s best friend. Who wants to clean up spills on the floor, in the car, and well….everywhere? As a parent, we totally understand that it’s easy to grab a sippy cup and get out the door.

Unfortunately, as convenient as sippy cups are, some sippy cups can actually be detrimental to your child’s speech and feeding development. GASP! I know some parents are having heart palpitations just thinking of getting rid of some of their beloved sippy cups, but let me explain why some cups can be damaging. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of information for parents regarding what kind of cups a child should transition to after the bottle but tons of marketing telling our parents they need get a sippy cup for children to learn cup drinking. What marketing doesn’t show is that SOME sippy cups are actually harmful, just ask any speech language pathologist (speech therapist). Don’t worry though, we can help you make a better choice for your child’s development.

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To Crawl or Not to Crawl:

To Crawl or Not to Crawl:

The Developmental benefits of crawling and potential deficits for non-crawling infants

All parents want the best for their children and want to encourage them to develop their fine motor and gross motor skills within age appropriate time frames. As pediatric therapists, we are keenly aware that the developmental skills acquired through infancy and early childhood significantly impact a child’s later performance with academics and within activities of daily living. Although missing one or two milestones here and there isn’t necessarily cause for concern, missing or skipping some critical developmental milestones can significantly impact a child’s performance later in life, which most families we speak to find surprising.

So, what’s the big deal with learning to crawl and why are more children skipping this stage of development? Read More

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What does a Speech Language Pathologist do?

What does a Speech Language Pathologist do?

Surprise….it’s MORE than you think!


What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

A Speech-Language Pathologist (commonly called a Speech Therapist) is a skilled, licensed, master’s level health care professional who diagnoses and treats communication and swallowing disorders.  In order to practice, A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) must obtain Read More

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & Sensory Processing Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

& Sensory Processing Disorder

What’s the difference?

At first, a description of a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and can sound the same as a child with Sensory Processing Disorder. Constant fidgeting, difficulty paying attention, getting easily frustrated, being impulsive, having meltdowns in public, difficulty focusing with distractions, playing roughly and taking physical risks can be a sign of BOTH ADHD and SPD. Although ADHD and SPD share similar characteristics, treatment for ADHD and SPD are very different because they address different underlying causes/issues. Read More

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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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