What Is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) helps kids who have complex conditions and disabilities build skills they need to perform everyday functions such as playing, dressing or taking part in daily activities.
Occupational therapists work with children to build confidence and independence through:
- Muscle-strengthening activities.
- Visual and motor skills development.
- Changing activities or the environment to make it easier to complete a task.
- Providing equipment and/or technology.
Conditions Occupational Therapy Treats
Pediatric occupational therapy (also known as OT for kids) can be helpful in treating:
- Complex, lifelong conditions, such as cerebral palsy.
- Sports related injuries, such as a broken arm or concussion.
- Disabilities that affect the hands and upper extremities, such as birth brachial plexus injuries.
The goal of children’s occupational therapy is to help kids function in their home and communities. That’s why some spaces at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare—such as our therapy kitchens and playgrounds—recreate the environments kids find in their everyday lives.
Occupational Therapy Care and Treatments
During a therapy session, your child might learn how to use adaptive equipment or perform activities in new ways. With help from therapists, your child works on:
- Daily living skills such as dressing, feeding, grooming and bathing.
- Small motor skills such as writing, using scissors and drawing.
- Thinking and learning (cognitive) skills such as sticking to a schedule, learning to play a new game and following two-step directions.
- Visual motor and visual perceptual skills such as using eye movement to explore and interact with the environment.
In addition to occupational therapy sessions, your child’s therapists collaborate with other Gillette staff to provide:
- Augmentative and alternative communication devices.
- Computer-access equipment and electronic aids to daily living.
- Constraint-induced movement therapy.
- Nutrition and feeding evaluations and therapy.
- Recommendations for equipment, custom splinting, nutrition, feeding and other areas.
- Seating and mobility equipment evaluations.
- Upper extremity functional and intensive therapy for conditions such as cerebral palsy, birth brachial plexus injuries and other conditions that affect the hands and upper extremities.
Many children who have complex conditions and disabilities benefit from occupational therapy at Gillette, where they have access to:
- Nationally recognized specialists who can help them navigate the everyday world with confidence.
- One of the nation’s top providers of pediatric inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation therapies. Gillette offers the Twin Cities’ only pediatric comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation program certified by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Gillette is one of eight U.S. pediatric inpatient rehabilitation facilities to have CARF accreditation for both its pediatric specialty and pediatric brain injury programs.
- The latest technology, tests and techniques.
Find out how occupational therapy at Gillette can help your child to succeed.
As part of their treatment at Gillette, we help you coordinate any other services or specialties that are part of your child’s care plan, including:
- Craniofacial and plastic surgery.
- Inpatient care (hospital units).
- Nutrition and feeding.
- Physical therapy.
- Radiology and imaging.
- Rehabilitation medicine.
- Speech and language therapy.