Paediatric Occupational Therapy - Information for parents and carers

What is Occupational Therapy for children and young people? Occupational therapy (OT) enables people to participate in daily life. Daily life is made up of many activities (or occupations). Occupations for children or young people may include self-care, being productive (going to nursery or school) and leisure. Paediatric (children’s) Occupational Therapists get involved when a child or young person is finding it more difficult to access their occupations because of a specific Illness, disability or condition. (Royal College of OT)

Below are just some examples of ways your child’s OT might be able to help

  • Self care
  • Washing
  • Dressing
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Using the toilet
  • Eating/drinking
  • Preparing food
  • Play/leisure
  • Riding a bike
  • Going to the park
  • Playing with friends
  • Engaging in hobbies
  • Engaging in play at home
  • Productivity (school/college/nursery)
  • Concentrating at school
  • Handwriting
  • Organisation
  • Engaging in PE
  • Getting around school

Who’s in the team?

The teams are made up of Admin support, Assistant Practitioners and Occupational Therapists working together to support your child’s care.

What can I expect from seeing an OT?

The Occupational Therapist gets to know the child and family to find out what is important to them and what is good or challenging in their daily lives -this forms the goals to work on during the therapy sessions.

The therapist will normally carry out some assessments to identify how or why the child is finding it difficult to engage in their occupations and then set a plan for working with the family towards the goals.

To meet the goals the OT may;

  • Give advice to parent(s)/carers/school around how to support the child by providing advice around different approaches and techniques with activities.
  • Give specific activities to do at home/school to develop skills
  • Offer workshops for parent(s)/carers to develop their knowledge around their child’s needs.
  • Offer 1:1 or group based therapeutic input focusing on developing specific skills
  • Suggest changes to the young person’s environment to make it more accessible
  • Recommend or provide specialist equipment

What does my child’s OT expect from me?

To get the most from your time working with an OT we will ask you to use strategies and activities at home to work on areas that you have identified.

How long do OT’s work with children for?

Input with children is time limited depending on the child’s needs.

How do OT’s work?

OT’s offer advice and guidance to support engagement in functional tasks. This might include working in different settings such as:

  • In clinics (rooms where there are toys/ equipment for assessment and therapy)
  • In school
  • In the family home

Where your child is seen will depend on their specific needs.