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The main goal of paediatric occupational therapy is to help your child participate, as fully as possible, in their everyday activities (occupations). Occupational therapy can help babies, infants, children and young people grow, learn, have fun, socialise and play, so they can develop, thrive and reach their full potential in daily life.

An occupational therapist (OT) will work with your child to achieve their goals regardless of whether their needs are physical, psychological or social. The OT may teach your child new skills, support them to re-learn skills following injury, advise on adapting an activity, or by prescribing a piece of equipment to compensate for skills they might find difficult.

Occupational Therapists work with children and families across both in-patient and outpatient settings, and with children on an individual basis or within groups.

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What will the Occupational Therapist do?

Occupational therapists tend to be very nosy and will need to get to know you!

Your OT may ask your child about what they like to do and what activities they are able to do at home or in school. They may ask questions about your home environment, e.g. whether your child’s bedroom is upstairs, and the family’s preferred routines, to support understanding of important roles and activities in your child’s life.

As part of the OT process they may need to take measurements of your child for special equipment such as a wheelchair or thermoplastic hand splint. If required, the therapist may be able to loan your child equipment items, or they will try to help you find suitable equipment in community services. If your child has to stay in hospital the occupational therapist will work closely with the multi-disciplinary team to plan rehab and safe discharge home.

Occupational therapy interventions offered will be tailored to your child and will taking in to consideration the specific the strengths and needs of your child, the environments they need to be in and the functional activities they need to complete on a daily basis.

Roles may include: (not an exhaustive list!)

  • advice on handling and interacting with your baby,
  • positioning your child for successful play, feeding or to support bonding,
  • supporting self-management of long term conditions
  • support learning of developmentally appropriate activities
  • advice on pacing and energy conservation
  • rehabilitation of skills following injury or surgery
  • prescription of specialised equipment
  • assessment of motor or self-care skills
  • scar and oedema management
  • producing splints for arms or legs
  • making an onward referral to community services

Additional information

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For healthcare professionals

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