Learn about occupational therapy with information from AboutKidsHealth

October is Occupational Therapy Month. Learn about some of the things an occupational therapist can do and discover resources on these topics from AboutKidsHealth.

An occupational therapist helps people to improve their ability to perform everyday tasks whether at home, at school or at work. An occupational therapist can also advise on ways to adapt your child’s activities or their physical environments to help them be more independent.

Here are some of the things an occupational therapist can help with:

Feeding studies

An occupational therapist can assess your child if they are having difficulties with feeding. If the occupational therapist suspects a child has swallowing problems, they will recommend that a feeding study be done. The occupational therapist will take part in the feeding study, along with a radiologist and X-ray technologist. Learn more about feeding studies and occupational therapy in the AboutKidsHealth article called Feeding studies.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

An occupational therapist can help if JIA is keeping your child from participating in activities they really want to do. Occupational therapy can help reduce a child’s pain; maximize their strength, endurance and physical function; and make them more independent in their daily activities. Check out the AboutKidsHealth article on occupational therapy for JIA to learn more.  

Cancer

Cancer or cancer treatments can sometimes make it hard for children and teens to do simple things they used to do before, such as getting dressed, climbing stairs or eating. An occupational therapist can work with your child or teen in the hospital, at a rehabilitation centre, at home or at school to help them adapt to changes in their abilities to be more independent. To learn more about how an occupational therapist can help children and teens with cancer, see Occupational therapy.

Hand difference

A congenital hand anomaly is a hand or arm deformity that is present at birth. If your child has a hand anomaly, an occupational therapist can help teach your child different ways of doing things that will help them be as independent as possible. The therapist will engage your child in play activities to observe how well they grasp things and how they use their hands overall. Continue reading about hand difference and occupational therapy.

AboutKidsHealth is SickKids’ health-education website and features more than 3,500 articles on a range of health topics. For more information on occupational therapy and other health topics, visit aboutkidshealth.ca.