Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Hi Everyone!
       Have you ever wondered, "what do occupational therapists do?"  Well, this is my first blog post, and I am excited to share information, ideas, tips, and occupational therapy activities related to pediatric occupational therapy. Just a little about myself…I live in Memphis, TN, and I have been a pediatric occupational therapist for over 23 years. My experience has been primarily in the school system, but I’ve also worked in early intervention, rehabilitation, and home health care. Some of you may be wondering, “what do occupational therapists do?” Well that’s the question that I’m going to answer in my first blog entry!
Occupational therapy (OT) helps people with injuries or disabilities increase their independence with daily activities or routines (also called occupations) through participation in therapeutic activities. A child has several “occupations”, including school, play, and taking care of daily living skills such as bathing, dressing, feeding, etc. A little one who has a disability or is recovering from an illness or injury will want to return to those occupations as soon as possible, so that’s when OT usually comes into the picture. Occupational therapists work with children diagnosed with a variety of conditions, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, learning disabilities, developmental delays, autism, and cancer. In therapy, we work on a variety of skills, depending on the area of need. Here is a list of problems that a pediatric occupational therapist might address.

· Poor fine-motor skills (grasping, cutting, shoe-tying, utensil use)
· Poor playground skills (fear of climbing, low muscle tone, core weakness)
· Problems with eye-hand coordination
· Dependence with Daily living Skills (bathing, tooth-brushing, dressing, self-feeding)
· Orthopedic Injuries

      Obviously this list of diagnoses and problems is not all-inclusive, but hopefully you have the idea! So now you can tell everyone what a pediatric OT does. My next post will provide information about what it means when a child has sensory processing problems, also called sensory modulation disorder. In future posts, I will include lots of occupational therapy activities for children!
Being an occupational therapist is the best job in the world, and I'm looking forward to sharing more information about my profession with everyone!
Photo by kdshutterman @
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  1. We <3 OT's at our house. Especially pediatric ones!

  2. Thanks for creating this blog - I have been reading your posts for the past couple of months! I'd love to see more information on integrating OT into home life. We homeschool, so I am both Mom, Teacher and OT for my children, all of whom have some degree of sensory integration/processing disorder. My biggest challenge is balancing sensory activities into everything else, and figuring out what activities to do each day.

  3. thank u for this blog,i am a new follower for your wonderful blog,i am a mum to a 5 yrs old boy with delayed motor milestones having fine motor problems and some gross motor ones.
    this blog will help me so much.

  4. Hello I am currently a high school student attending Loganville high School. Recently I received a project requiring me to interview a person who is pursuing the career we are assigned. My career choice was Pediatric therapist and I was wondering if you would be interested or have time for the interview.

  5. Hi Dejah,
    I'll be glad to. Please email me at

  6. Love your blog. I'm actually in my 2nd year of OT school and I'm honestly nervous about being a pediatric OT. I love being in a hospital setting, so my ideal job would be in a children's hospital, especially in the nicu since I was a preemie myself. Your blog helps with the anxiety :) Thanks!

  7. Don't be anxious...being an OT is awesome. After you've worked in the hospital setting for a while, you may want to consider the schools. It's fun :)

  8. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

    Pediatric Home Care

  9. thank i live in the uk and my 7 year old son has just been refered and i didnt know much about ot this has enlightend me