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  5. Occupational Therapy

What is pediatric occupational therapy?

Pediatric occupational therapy helps infants, children, and adolescents perform the activities of daily living that may need to be mastered for the first time, or relearned after disease or injury. These activities may include eating, grooming, bathing, and dressing.

Licensed and/or registered occupational therapists work in pediatric and neonatal intensive care units and in the inpatient and outpatient clinics at McLane Children’s. The goal is to help patients be as productive and independent as possible by increasing their developmental skills, strength, flexibility, coordination, and endurance.

Pediatric occupational therapists use a variety of techniques to evaluate physical, sensory, visual-perceptual, and cognitive deficits to identify specific treatments to help each patient and his or her family. Parents and family members are encouraged to take active roles in a child’s rehabilitation process. Occupational therapists make home visits as well, to determine what modifications are necessary to ensure independence and safety once a child returns home from the hospital.

What services do pediatric occupational therapists offer?

In collaboration with pediatric medical and surgical specialists, occupational therapists evaluate and treat:

  • Neurological impairments
  • Developmental delays and disorders, such as autism
  • Feeding issues and oral aversion
  • School issues and learning disabilities
  • Sensory processing deficits
  • Visual-perceptual deficits, such as difficulty processing visual input (i.e. finding a hidden object in a picture)
  • Visual motor integration issues or difficulty processing visual input with a motor response (i.e. hand-eye coordination)

Occupational therapy provides infants in the NICU with developmental intervention, including positioning, range of motion and sensory stimulation. Parents are trained in how to carry over these activities at home.

Additional services we offer at Scott & White include:

  • Evaluation to obtain proper equipment such as wheelchairs and standers;
  • Training children to use adaptive devices and assistive technology to promote independence; and
  • Developing home and school programs to involve parents and teachers on a daily basis.

Spasticity, cerebral palsy and seating and mobility rehabilitation clinics are held regularly to meet the unique needs of these patients.

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