What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?

Do you know what Occupational therapy (OT) is? 

The first question I ask any parent on our first encounter. Some have an idea but majority don't. OT is one of those professions where its incredibly broad therefore sometimes hard for one to get their head around. 

Firstly to begin, OT is a holistic profession which mainly focuses on helping people with a physical or cognitive disability be as independent as possible throughout their daily lives. We support people to participate in the things they want and need in order to allow them to engage in meaningful pursuits. 

Although OT's work with people throughout the lifespan my interest and experience is working with children therefore children are the main focus of this blog. OT can help kids with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

When working with children we are there to provide intervention by engaging kids in their most important occupation which is PLAY! Now we are not just there to play with children, we provide evidenced based client centered therapy to meet each individual child's particular need.We help kids improve their performance in occupations such as self-care, feeding, eating, sleeping, and learning by addressing underlying issues or difficulties like fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory processing, problem solving and attention to name a few! We also help children engage in their social and physical environment. 
OT's can evaluate kids' skills for playing, school performance, and daily activities and compare them with what is developmentally appropriate for that age group.


  • birth injuries or birth defects
  • sensory processing difficulties
  • traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • learning problems
  • autism
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis 
  • mental health or behavioral problems
  • broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
  • developmental delays
  • post-surgical conditions
  • burns
  • spina bifida
  • traumatic amputations
  • cancer
  • severe hand injuries
  • multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses
Occupational therapists might:
  • help kids work on fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills
  • address hand–eye coordination to improve kids' play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.)
  • help kids with severe developmental delays learn basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves)
  • help kids with behavioral disorders maintain positive behaviors in all environments (e.g., instead of hitting others or acting out, using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activity)
  • teach kids with physical disabilities the coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
  • evaluate a child's need for specialised equipment, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, or communication aids
  • work with kids who have sensory and attentional issues to improve focus and social skills