Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Your child can develop the skills they need for independence and success in life. With pediatric occupational therapy done the More to Say way, your child will build their confidence while learning how to handle the activities of daily living. Our pediatric therapists in Branford, CT, and Oxford, CT, help children in all kinds of circumstances, including those with:

Your child will love our play-based and holistic therapy techniques. Click the button below to call and scheduled your free phone consultation today!

What Does Pediatric Occupational Therapy Handle?

Pediatric occupational therapy (OT) addresses many different life skills. Your child’s evaluation will tell us exactly what their abilities and limitations are so we can create a program tailored to their specific needs.

We address the following areas at both our Oxford, CT, and Branford, CT, pediatric therapy clinics:

Executive Function & Life Skills

Your child’s executive function skills are the thinking skills that help them accomplish daily tasks, such as: handling feelings, making and following a plan of action, and staying focused. These tie into life skills like brushing teeth, getting dressed, and so on.

Schedule your child’s OT evaluation if they struggle to:

Fine & Gross Motor Skills

Your child’s fine motor skills involve the small muscles in their hands, fingers, and wrists. These skills are necessary to hold a pencil, tie their shoes, etc. Your child’s gross motor skills involve the larger muscles of their arms, torso, and legs. They use these skills to run, climb, play, and lift objects.

Schedule your child’s OT evaluation if they struggle to:

Visual Perception & Visual Motor Integration Skills

Your child’s visual perception skills help them understand the things they see every day. And their visual motor integration skills are what allow them to see something and respond with an action. For example, if you play catch with your child, they need to see the ball (visual perception) and raise their hand to catch it (visual motor integration).

Schedule your child’s OT evaluation if they struggle with:

Sensory Processing & Regulation Skills

Your child’s sensory processing and regulation skills are simply how they receive, understand, and respond to things in their environment that can be felt with the senses. For example: your child hears a loud noise and covers their ears in response. They heard and understood the noise (processed it), then handled it by covering their ears (regulation).

Schedule your child’s OT evaluation if they:

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

Some kids need a little extra support developing the skills they need for everyday activities and tasks. Occupational therapy can help. Some signs your child may benefit from occupational therapy are:

  • Fine Motor Challenges: If your child struggles with tasks like holding a pencil, using scissors, or buttoning clothes, occupational therapy can help. With targeted activities and strategies, your child’s occupational therapist can help them improve their fine motor skills.
  • Gross Motor Challenges: Gross motor skills are those that involve whole-body movements. If your child struggles with activities like riding a bike, catching a ball, or maintaining balance, occupational therapy can improve their gross motor skills.
  • Sensory Sensitivities: Some kids may be over- or under-sensitive to sensory input. They may avoid certain textures, have trouble after hearing loud noises, or exhibit excessive movement. Occupational therapy provides helpful strategies to regulate sensory input.
  • Handwriting Challenges: Illegible or messy handwriting can be a sign of underlying motor skill challenges. Your child’s occupational therapist can help them improve their hand coordination and writing abilities.
  • Attention and Focus Challenges: Occupational therapy techniques can improve a child’s ability to concentrate on tasks and follow instruction. This can be especially helpful at school.

If your child exhibits any of the signs above, consult with a pediatrician or occupational therapist. After assessing your child’s specific situation, they can recommend if occupational therapy could be beneficial.

Both pediatric occupational therapy and pediatric physical therapy can help a child’s development, but they focus on different aspects of well-being. Pediatric occupational therapy is designed to improve a child’s ability to perform everyday activities. These activities, or “occupations,” cover everything from dressing and eating to writing and playing. Occupational therapists help kids develop fine motor skills, like precise hand movements necessary for writing or using utensils. They also address sensory processing, helping children who may be over- or under-sensitive to sensory input.

Pediatric physical therapy has a main focus on improving a child’s physical abilities and mobility. It covers activities like walking, running, jumping, and balancing. Physical therapists help kids develop gross motor skills, like core strength and coordination—anything that contributes to movement. This therapy is vital for kids with conditions of the muscles, bones, or nervous system. It helps them recover after injuries or surgeries, but it also addresses everyday concerns like posture, flexibility, and range of motion. While there is some overlap between occupational and physical therapy, they can oftentimes be provided in unison to support overall development.

Your child’s recommended length of occupational therapy depends on their specific needs and goals. Some children may need a few sessions over the course of a few months. Others may require years of assistance to develop and improve the skills they need to participate in everyday activities. Some factors that can influence the length of occupational therapy include:

  • Severity of Challenges: If a child has mild difficulties in areas like fine motor skills or sensory processing, they may need a shorter duration of therapy—perhaps a few months. More severe or complex challenges may require therapy over several years.
  • Individual Progress: Every child progresses at their own pace. Some children may show major improvement in a relatively short time, while others may need more time and ongoing therapy to reach their goals.
  • Therapy Goals: The specific goals of therapy play a central role in determining duration of therapy. If a child needs to reach a few key milestones, therapy may be shorter. If they need to address multiple areas of development, therapy may be longer.
  • Consistency of Attendance: Regular attendance and implementing strategies at home can speed up progress. Kids who actively participate in their therapy tend to reach their goals quicker. Remember, parents have an active role in therapy, too. By modeling good behaviors, following through with recommended strategies at home, and communicating with the therapy team, they can support their child’s progress.

Occupational therapy is highly individualized. Your child’s therapist will assess progress and adjust the therapy plan accordingly. The goal is to empower your child with the skills they need to thrive independently in daily life.

The ideal age for your child to start occupational therapy depends on their specific needs and challenges. Here’s a general guideline to help you understand when it might be appropriate for your child:

  • Early Intervention: Early intervention is especially helpful for children with developmental delays or challenges. Children can start occupational therapy as early as infancy if there are concerns about motor skills, sensory processing, or other developmental milestones. Babies who aren’t reaching typical milestones, like sitting up or reaching for objects, may benefit from early occupational therapy support.
  • Preschool Age (2-5 Years): Many children receive occupational therapy during their preschool years, a critical time for refining gross and motor skills, as well as bolstering sensory processing and social interaction. If your child has difficulty with activities like holding a pencil, using utensils, dressing themselves, or interacting with peers, occupational therapy can be very helpful.
  • School-Age Children (6-18 years): School-age children often receive occupational therapy to address challenges involving handwriting, attention, sensory processing, and motor coordination. Occupational therapy helps kids succeed in school by improving their ability to participate in classroom activities and develop self-care skills.

There’s no strict age limit for starting occupational therapy. It’s all about recognizing your child’s unique needs and challenges. If you have concerns about your child’s development or ability to perform everyday activities, consult with a pediatrician or occupational therapist for insight.

Pediatric occupational therapy is often covered by insurance, but it’s important to understand the details of your plan. Many plans include occupational therapy for children since it’s recognized as a vital service for kids with developmental, sensory, or motor skill challenges. The extent of coverage varies depending on your specific policy. Some plans may cover a certain number of sessions each year, while others may have a financial cap. Some also require a physician’s referral before approving coverage. It’s best to contact your insurance provider and review your policy to understand the details of your coverage.

In cases where insurance coverage is limited or unavailable, there are other alternatives. Some therapists offer flexible payment plans or sliding scales for services based on income. Also, it’s important to note that occupational therapy is typically covered by the government from birth to 36 months of age, under the IDEA Act. Check with your insurance provider, as well as your child’s pediatrician and therapist, to understand the details of coverage and any potential out-of-pocket costs.

Schedule Your Child's Appointment Today

Are you worried about your child’s development? Fill out the form below or call us at (203) 828-6790 to schedule an evaluation at our Branford, CT, or Oxford, CT, clinic today!