When a child struggles with their motor skills, completing everyday tasks, and social skills, they may benefit from routine occupational therapy sessions. Occupational therapy uses evidence-based techniques and activities designed to help children improve their ability to participate in their own self-care and become more confident.

Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Your child’s pediatrician should mention any concerns or developmental delays at your child’s routine checkups. If you are concerned, you can always consult your pediatrician and get their opinion. You can also call us at (318) 746-1199 and ask about our free developmental screening, and our therapists will be happy to go over your concerns.

The following are signs that your child may need occupational therapy:

  • They are behind on the developmental milestones for their age group.
  • They have trouble with gross motor skills like balance, hand-eye coordination, or rolling over.
  • They have trouble with fine motor skills like feeding themselves, drawing, or getting dressed.
  • They struggle with sensory processing, such as an aversion to certain sounds or colors.
  • They have trouble in social situations like not understanding how to play with others or not understanding how other people feel.
  • They have cognitive delays, such as trouble with memory or attention span.

Additionally, children with certain muscular, skeletal, nerve, cognitive, or genetic conditions that impact their daily life will often benefit from occupational therapy. These conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Autism.
  • Injury or surgery.
  • Muscular dystrophy.

What Is an Occupational Therapy Session Like?

We want children to feel encouraged and like they accomplished something great every time they visit us. To that end, our occupational therapy sessions will look and feel a lot like playtime. This benefits your child because it makes their therapy time something to look forward to, and they usually enjoy participating in the therapy activities.

What the children don’t realize right away is that the activities their therapist does with them are specifically chosen to target the child’s needs, goals, and interests. For example, a child with cerebral palsy may have trouble getting dressed on their own — but they want to feel independent and grown-up, and they want to make the people in their life proud by getting dressed all by themselves.

Our therapists will determine what the exact difficulties are that prevent the child from being able to dress themselves. Maybe they have difficulty bending their arms, or maybe they struggle with tying knots. Then we will develop activities and exercises that the child can practice which will help them build the skills needed to get dressed on their own. With enough practice and encouragement, they’ll be able to do it — and that success will motivate them to keep learning more skills and building their independence.

How Do I Schedule an Occupational Therapy Evaluation?

Our therapists will need a referral from your child’s pediatrician to evaluate and treat your child. If you don’t have one, don’t worry! Our staff can help coordinate this and get you a referral so your child can receive treatment.

When you’re ready to make an appointment for your child, call our office at (318) 746-1199 to speak to our Intake Coordinator. She will be able to answer your questions, and she will send you an email with online forms to fill out.

Once you have completely filled out the forms, including your insurance information, our Intake Coordinator will contact you to schedule your child’s initial evaluation appointment and go over any other important details with you.

Ready to get started? Call us at (318) 746-1199 today!

We see Pediatric Therapy Partners for speech, OT and PT for both of my daughters. They have been so fantastic, kind, and super knowledgeable! Would definitely recommend them!

- B.L.

Pediatric Therapy Partners is a fabulous place. They make you feel at home, sweet and loving staff, and do an amazing job with the kids. HIGHLY recommend them!

- R.B.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

Recognizing if your child could benefit from occupational therapy involves paying attention to certain specific clues. Pediatric occupational therapy is worth considering if you notice your child struggling with:

  • Fine Motor Skills: Fine motor skills are the small, precise movements required to do things like write, hold utensils, or button a shirt. Children with fine motor challenges may struggle with these tasks and have trouble with handwriting or completing everyday activities. If you notice your child avoiding or becoming frustrated with everyday tasks, it may be a sign that they’re a good candidate for occupational therapy.
  • Sensory Processing: Sensory processing is all about how the brain takes in, interprets, and responds to external sensory information. Children with sensory challenges might avoid or seek out certain textures, sounds, or visual stimuli.
  • Attention and Concentration: Some kids may find it hard to stay focused and concentrated, making learning and socializing a challenge. Occupational therapy can help, offering engaging activities and exercises to improve their ability to stay on task and engage in the learning process.

You know your child best—if you notice your child exhibiting any of the signs above, reach out to a doctor or occupational therapist. They can bring about a better understanding of how occupational therapy can genuinely support your child’s development and overall well-being. Remember, trusting your instincts and seeking guidance early on can make a positive difference if you have concerns about your child’s abilities and skills.

Pediatric physical therapy and occupational therapy are both wonderful ways to help children, but they have different focuses. Pediatric physical therapy is designed to improve kids’ movement skills, helping them with things like walking, running, and balance. These therapists work on strengthening muscles, improving coordination, and making sure kids can move around comfortably.

On the other hand, occupational therapy is designed to strengthen a child’s daily life skills. It helps kids succeed in tasks like getting dressed, writing, and playing. Occupational therapists work on fine motor skills, sensory processing, and attention to make sure kids can do everyday things with confidence.

In short, physical therapy mainly works on making kids’ bodies strong and mobile, while occupational therapy gears towards helping kids handle daily activities with ease. Both therapies are like personalized adventures that aim to make kids happier, healthier, and more independent in their own unique ways. If you’re wondering which one might suit your child’s needs, a chat with a therapist or a healthcare professional can offer helpful insights.

The duration of occupational therapy for your child can vary depending on their individual needs and progress. At the beginning, more frequent sessions, like once or twice a week, might be suggested to build a solid foundation and work on specific goals. 

The length of therapy is unique to each child and their challenges. Some children might benefit from a few months of therapy, while others might need continued support for a longer period depending on their unique needs. The occupational therapist will work closely with you to create a personalized plan and adjust the therapy schedule based on your child’s progress. Regular discussions with the therapist will help determine when your child has gained the skills and confidence needed to transition from therapy to independent success in their daily activities.

The best time for your child to start occupational therapy depends on your child’s unique needs and challenges—there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer. Some little ones kick-start therapy just a few months after birth, while others may start during their toddler or preschool years—or even older. But age isn’t the only important factor.

It’s important to pay close attention to signs of difficulties and delays in your child’s growth and development. If you have any concerns about your child’s ability to perform daily tasks, communicate, or interact with others, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a healthcare professional or an occupational therapist. They’ll offer valuable guidance on when and if to start occupational therapy, giving your child the support they need to thrive. Remember, acting early can make a big difference in your child’s development. By taking a proactive approach, you can help your little one address challenges and nurture essential skills before they become deeply ingrained. 

There are several factors to consider when it comes to insurance coverage for pediatric occupational therapy. Insurance plans often provide coverage for occupational therapy, but the extent of coverage can vary. It’s best to reach out to your insurance provider to understand what’s covered under your policy. Some plans may limit the number of therapy sessions covered per year or have specific requirements for coverage.

The reason why your child needs occupational therapy also plays a role in insurance coverage. If it is related to a medical condition, developmental delay, or challenges impacting their daily life, there is a higher chance of insurance providing coverage. Some insurance plans might require a doctor’s referral or a formal evaluation to determine the medical necessity of occupational therapy.

Also, it’s helpful to communicate with the occupational therapy clinic or provider you are considering. They often have staff who can assist you in navigating insurance-related questions and may be in-network with certain insurance providers, simplifying the process.

While insurance coverage varies, exploring your options is worthwhile to ensure your child receives the support they need. If insurance coverage isn’t available or sufficient, some clinics offer self-pay options, and there might be community resources or grants that can help. Reach out to the professionals involved to fully understand your options and make the best decision for your child’s well-being.

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