Occupational Therapist & Physical Therapist

Parents and guardians often seek help from an Occupational Therapist when they have concerns about sensory processing, fine motor skills or a specialty area like feeding or toilet training. These therapists may work with a variety of ages and techniques. Younger children seem to get the most benefit from Occupational therapy. Most of the time an OT may see a child in an office or center-based setting, at times with fun sensory equipment. OTs also see children in the school setting in the classroom or for instruction in a 1-on-1 or small group.

What do Occupational Therapist & Physical Therapist do?

Occupational Therapists help children participate meaningfully in important activities like writing, eating, toileting or engaging with peers. They focus on developmental needs and life skills.

This excerpt is from the American Occupational Therapy Association https://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy.aspx Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:

  • an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals, 
  • customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
  • an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.

Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.”

What do Occupational Therapist & Physical Therapist not do?

Occupational therapists do not treat behavior directly, they are not ABA therapists. They are not psychologists or medical doctors so they do not diagnose conditions like autism or ADHD.

Can Occupational Therapist & Physical Therapist diagnose?

Occupational therapists do not diagnose. Sensory Processing Disorder is not a recognized DSM-5 diagnosis and rather refers to a cluster of symptoms that may have an impact on a child’s life and are often related to diagnoses of autism, ADHD, childhood anxiety, or a motor disorder.

How are Occupational Therapist & Physical Therapist trained?

An OTR/L holds a bachelors or Masters Degree and a certification in Occupational therapy. An OTD holds a doctorate in Occupational therapy.

How can I find a Occupational Therapist & Physical Therapist?

Your local children’s hospital or your insurance provider may be the best places to look for an Occupational therapist. Many pediatricians make referrals for Occupational therapy so your pediatrician may have referrals to local organizations. In addition to working in a hospital an OT may be part of a private practice or multidisciplinary specialty group.

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