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What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy practitioners ask, "What matters to you?" not, "What's the matter with you?"


Occupational therapy is a profession that assists individuals to be more successful in the activities that are important to them.  This may include participation in leisure skills, improved performance with self-care skills or improved performance at work or school. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people of all ages complete the activities they want and need to do.


Occupational Therapists who work with children and adolescents will determine what is important for the child and will work with them to improve their skill or performance in these areas. This may include:


  • self-care skills such as tying shoes, zipping a jacket or brushing teeth
  • school related skills such as handwriting, scissor skills, attention, sensory skills, socialization
  • leisure activities ball and sports related activities, bike riding
  • modulation of sensory responses to improve performance in all activities


Your child may face barriers that impact their success in these areas. Specifically your child may have decreased fine motor skills, gross motor skill, strength, bilateral coordination, visual perceptual skill, social interaction or sensory integration or modulation. Your therapist will work with you and your child to determine what is important for him or her, what is important for you. We will determine the barriers or challenges that impact your child’s success in these areas as well as determine your child’s areas of strength.  Based on this we will design a treatment plan to help your child improve their performance, increase their skill and gain confidence in these areas that are important for your child so he/she can meet their full potential.

For more information on the profession of occupational therapy, visit www.AOTA.org.