What is Occupational Therapy for children?

By May 29, 2024 June 1st, 2024 Occupational Therapy
Child with Developmental Delay or Global Developmental Delay climbing in an Occupational Therapy session with an Occupational Therapist in Bondi Junction and Mascot in Sydney

Occupational therapy for children is a type of therapy that helps kids develop skills needed for everyday activities. It focuses on helping children be more independent and successful in their daily lives. Here’s a closer look at what occupational therapy for children involves.

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) helps people of all ages with physical, sensory, or cognitive problems. For children, OT focuses on helping them develop skills needed for playing, learning, and daily activities like dressing, eating, and brushing teeth.

Who Needs Occupational Therapy?

Many children can benefit from OT. Here are some common reasons:

  • Developmental Delays: Some children take longer to reach milestones like walking, talking, or playing.
  • Physical Disabilities: Children with conditions like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy may need help with movement and coordination.
  • Sensory Processing Issues: Some children are overly sensitive to sounds, lights, or textures and may have trouble coping with their environment.
  • Learning Disabilities: Children with learning disabilities might struggle with tasks that require concentration, organization, or motor skills.
  • Behavioural Issues: OT can help children with ADHD, autism, or other behavioural conditions develop better focus and social skills.

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Occupational therapists (OTs) work with children to improve their abilities and independence. Here are some things they do:

  • Assessment: OTs start by evaluating the child’s skills and abilities. They might use tests, observe the child, and talk to parents and teachers.
  • Goal Setting: Based on the assessment, OTs set specific goals for the child. These goals are tailored to each child’s needs.
  • Therapy Sessions: OTs conduct therapy sessions with the child. These sessions include activities and exercises to help improve skills.
  • Family Involvement: OTs involve the family in the therapy process. They might give parents activities to do at home with their child.
  • Monitoring Progress: OTs regularly check the child’s progress and adjust the therapy plan as needed.

Types of Therapy Activities

OTs use many activities to help children develop skills. Here are some examples:

  • Fine Motor Activities: Activities like cutting with scissors, drawing, or buttoning a shirt help improve hand strength and coordination.
  • Gross Motor Activities: Activities like jumping, climbing, or playing catch help improve overall strength and coordination.
  • Sensory Play: Activities like playing with sand, water, or playdoh help children get used to different textures and sensations.
  • Cognitive Tasks: Puzzles, memory games, and other thinking activities help improve concentration and problem-solving skills.
  • Daily Living Skills: Practicing tasks like brushing teeth, tying shoes, or setting the table helps children become more independent.

Why Is Occupational Therapy Important?

OT is important for several reasons:

  • Independence: OT helps children become more independent in their daily lives.
  • Confidence: Developing new skills boosts a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
  • Academic Success: Skills learned in OT can help children succeed in school.
  • Social Skills: OT can help children improve their interactions with others.
  • Overall Development: OT supports a child’s overall physical, emotional, and cognitive development.

Who Do Our Occupational Therapists work with?

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy our Occupational Therapist collaborate closely and frequently with all of our staff. They collaborate with our Speech Pathologists so that the appropriate level of communication is used in OT sessions. The OT’s are also trained by the Speech Pathologists to reinforce communication goals in OT sessions. The OT’s meet with the Certified ESDM Therapists weekly. This allows both therapists to discuss progress across all goals and determine where changes need to be made in the program.

When to Seek Help

Parents should consider seeking help if they notice:

  • Their child is not meeting developmental milestones.
  • Their child has trouble with fine motor skills like holding a pencil or using utensils.
  • Their child avoids certain textures or sensations.
  • Their child has difficulty with daily tasks like dressing or brushing teeth.
  • Their child struggles with attention or behaviour.

How to Find an Occupational Therapist

Finding an OT can be done through:


Occupational therapy for children is a vital service that helps kids develop essential skills for everyday life. Through assessment, goal setting, therapy sessions, and family involvement, OTs work to improve a child’s abilities and independence. This therapy is crucial for a child’s overall development, helping them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. If parents notice any developmental concerns, seeking help from an occupational therapist can make a significant difference in their child’s life.

We’re here to support you

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow and thrive.

Our clinics are not just a space for therapy – it’s a place where children can discover their strengths, overcome challenges, and reach their full potential.

By combining innovative therapy techniques with a stimulating and supportive environment, we’re proud to offer a holistic approach to paediatric therapy and early intervention that addresses the unique needs of each child we support.

Reach out for support

If you’re concerned about your child’s development or want to learn more about how Occupational Therapy can help your child, OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is here to help.

Call us on (02) 80657837 or email. You can book a free 30 minute phone call with us to discuss how we can support your child’s unique journey