What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy for Children

Does your child struggle with motor skills that interfere with their function and independence with everyday activities?

Does your child have difficulties with their participation in self-care activities (dressing, eating, washing hands, toileting)?

Is playing with toys, playing independently, or playing with others challenging for your child?

Does your child struggle with skills for school activities such as using a crayon/pencil, using scissors, printing, or organizational skills?

Is self-regulation (sensory functioning, emotional regulation, or finding the right level of activity to match the task) impacting your child’s daily functioning?


Occupational therapists, often called OTs, are health professionals that help enable people to participate in the activities of daily life. These day-to-day activities are what occupies your time and includes anything you need to do, want to do, or are expected to do during your day. Meaningful occupations vary with age, abilities, interests, and responsibilities. OTs are client centered which means they work with you to identify barriers and to achieve goals identified by you and your family.

Children’s occupations include play, school activities and daily living skills (i.e. self-care). Occupational therapy at the SLN focuses on supporting children and their families to enhance children’s independence and success at home and in the community. A multi-sensory play-based approach is used to help children and youth build skills and abilities. Play is a child’s main occupation, and play is how they learn and build new skills. Occupational therapy services
are individualized depending on strengths, needs and goals identified. Some of the most common areas an OT might focus on to support a child’s daily functioning include:


  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Play Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Organizational Skills
  • Visual-perceptual skills: ability to make sense of what the eyes see
  • Motor Planning: how a child plans and carries out movement
  • Sensory processing: how the nervous system receives sensory information from our body senses and the environment, takes it to our brain to process it to tell us what it means, and then produces a response (e.g. motor action or behavior). Children with sensory processing issues have trouble interpreting sensory information from their senses (their brains mis-reads or distorts the information) and may have difficulties using this information to do what they need to do or want to do.
  • Self-regulation: ability to manage stresses we face in our day to day lives. Children with difficulties with self-regulation sometimes struggle to find and maintain a level of activity to match the task.

Occupational Therapy services include assessment, direct intervention, parent/caregiver coaching and consultation.