Pediatric Occupational Therapy Helps Children Improve Everyday Skills

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all the importance of living life to its fullest, and occupational therapy is one intervention that helps children who have everyday difficulties to develop the skills needed for independence and to live their best life.

“That’s why we’re so excited to have a new pediatric occupational therapist on staff at Seven Counties Services now helping children in our Brooklawn & Bellewood residential treatment program,” said Bonnie Thorson Young, Vice President of Developmental Services for Seven Counties Services. “This is just one of the many ways that the partnership between the two organizations is benefitting the children we care for.”

Pictured here is a 12-year-old who has autism that I’ve been providing therapy to. I’m specifically addressing his gross motor skills by working on his balance, coordination, and muscle endurance. I also focus on his executive functioning skills by working on his attention toward each task, initiating tasks independently, and sequencing through each step of the obstacle course. Although an activity may look simple, there are multiple underlying skills that are being addressed.

The main occupations for children are to play and be students. These two occupations are imperative for a child’s growth and development because they involve underlying skills.

Pediatric Occupational Therapists utilize an evidenced-based practice and holistic approach to develop an individualized treatment plan to ensure therapeutic success in every child to address:

  • Gross Motor Skills – balance, coordination, strength, range of motion
  • Fine Motor Skills – hand manipulation, fine motor coordination, handwriting
  • Cognition Skills – problem solving, attention and concentration, planning, organizing, task initiation
  • Social Skills
  • Self-Regulation Skills – identifying behaviors, calming themselves
  • Feeding Skills – picky eating, difficulty with feeding
  • Self-Care – dressing, grooming/hygiene, showering/bathing
  • Home Management – simple household chores (i.e., making the bed, washing dishes, sweeping the floor, taking the trash out)
  • Sensory Integration – tolerance to certain textures, smells, sounds, etc.

Written by Breanne Cura, Occupational Therapist, Seven Counties Services

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