FAMILY-CENTERED PEDIATRIC OTPediatric Occupational Therapy

Helping kids succeed at the job of being a kid

A child’s main occupations are playing and learning, and our expert team of occupational therapists can help children and young adults build skills for these very important jobs. By balancing adaptive work and creative play activities, our therapists go above and beyond to help kids improve their abilities and grow more independent in virtually every aspect of everyday life.

A family of work

At The Children’s Institute, much of our pediatric OT success comes from working closely with parents and caregivers for carryover into the home. Our dedicated occupational therapists use fun, positive, and meaningful activities designed to help children improve their participation in school, leisure, family, and community. 

Occupational therapy for children may focus on:
  • Struggles with completing self-care
  • Community participation and social skills
  • Motor skill impairment
  • Sensory issues such as seeking or avoiding different types of stimulation more than others
  • Visual perceptual deficits such as doing mazes and puzzles, finding information on a page, and legibility of handwriting
  • Feeding

When should you seek an Occupational Therapist?

Wondering if your child needs Occupational Therapy? Here are some basic guidelines:
  • Within the first year of life, your child is unable to use one or both hands to reach, grasp, and manipulate toys as expected.
  • Your preschool-aged child has difficulty using common classroom materials such as crayons and scissors.
  • Your child's teacher reports difficulties with handwriting skills.
  • Your child has difficulty learning or adjusting to new routines.
  • Disruptive or inattentive behaviors interfere with learning or developing positive relationships.
  • Your child is unable to eat a variety of foods and/or feed themselves independently by the time they enter school.
  • Your child has difficulty playing with toys or peers in a meaningful way.
  • Your child has physical impairments that require environmental modification or specialized equipment.
  • Your child has sensitivities to touch, sound, movement, taste, or visual stimulation that interferes with his/her ability to perform certain skills or in certain environments.
  • Your child has pain that lasts longer than three months, interfering with the ability to participate in daily living skills, school, or in leisure/recreation.

Explore Our Cutting-Edge Treatments

Our state-of-the-art facility includes two therapy pools, allowing for outpatient aquatic therapy sessions tailored to each patient’s individual needs. Aquatic therapy offers patients a gentler alternative and complement to land-based exercises.

Patients participating in aquatic therapy may experience the following benefits:
  • Decreased pain. Water buffers movement and buoyancy reduces pressure on body structures.
  • Reduced swelling. Water pressure can help move fluid from the injured area back into the body.
  • Improved flexibility. Warm water can relax sore or tight muscles, increasing range of motion.
  • Improved strength and balance. Water resistance can help strengthen core muscles. 
  • Faster progress. Exercises can often be performed sooner in a pool than on land. 
  • More fun! Water is a dynamic environment that keeps kids engaged in their recovery.
Our Intensity Program may be incorporated in outpatient Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy care plans to intensify results. Here, patients receive a much higher frequency of therapy than traditional programs — two hours a day, five days a week for three weeks, involving parents and caregivers in each session. By intensifying therapy at periodic intervals, we also intensify the results. This can be especially meaningful for patients with neurological diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, or movement disorders.

Through our Intensity Program, patients may receive treatments such as:
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Stretching
  • Manual therapy
  • Strengthening
  • Balance/coordination
  • Neurodevelopmental treatment
  • Sensory integration therapy
  • Universal Exercise Unit (UEU)
  • Functional Activity Training
Universal Exercise Unit (UEU)
We use this versatile device, sometimes referred to as “the spider,” to treat many different diagnoses. A pulley system of weights allows a child to isolate and strengthen individual muscles through the entire range of motion. Attached bungee cords assist with independent movement.
Interactive Metronome (IM) is an evidence-based therapeutic tool, shown to help patients improve motor and sensory skills. With IM, patients are challenged to match a rhythmic beat with body movements. Because it feels like a game, kids enjoy engaging with it, which helps to accelerate their progress.

Research and our own experience show that IM can make a meaningful difference in:
  • Motor Coordination. Combining movements to work together to accomplish a task.
  • Working Memory. Recognizing words, understanding sentences and remembering instructions.
  • Attention. Focusing on a specific task while ignoring distractions.
  • Processing. Accurately understanding and using information.
  • Sequencing. Placing information in a specific order or completing a task with a series of steps.
Therapeutic Listening is a specialized and evidence-based therapy that uses the rhythmical sound patterns in music to trigger the nervous system’s self-organizing capacities. This therapy has been proven to have a positive impact on children who have a sensory processing dysfunction or issues with listening, attention, and communication. If appropriate, an occupational therapist trained in this technique can create a program to suit the unique needs of your child.
No matter the cause, when infants and children have feeding and swallowing difficulties, it can create serious health problems. The Children’s Institute is a recognized leader in the treatment of feeding and swallowing disorders. From evaluation to treatment, families are invited to participate in therapy, which may include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and nutrition counseling.

Treatment can make a difference for children with feeding issues such as:
  • Picky eating
  • Sensory issues such as being unable to tolerate a texture or taste in the mouth
  • Feeding and swallowing disorders associated with medical conditions
  • Social or behavioral problems that impact eating
  • Transition from dependency on IV (total parental nutrition or TPN) or tube feeding
  • Lack of progression to eating additional food groups and textures 
Our skilled occupational therapists are experts in helping kids improve function in their hands, wrists, elbows, arms, and shoulders. From assessment to treatment, we have shown success in helping children and young adults through such interventions as:
  • Pediatric Constraint Induced Movement Therapy
  • Management of soft tissue conditions, and nerve or vascular injuries
  • Functional retraining following an illness or trauma
  • Fabrication of custom splints to prevent deformity and to improve function
  • Treatment of tendon injuries, amputations, cumulative trauma disorders and orthopedic, neurological, and arthritic conditions

Amazing care for amazing outcomes

Want to learn more about what makes The Children's Institute the best choice for your child's Occupational Therapy? Contact us today. Our friendly team is happy to answer all of your questions and get you connected to the right resources. If you're ready to schedule an appointment, call 412.420.2400.

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