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Pediatric Occupational Therapists Aid Children with Everything from Toileting to Toys

  • Category: Rehabilitation, Women & Children
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Danielle Barr, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist Shenandoah Memorial Hospital
Pediatric Occupational Therapists Aid Children with Everything from Toileting to Toys

Have you ever wondered if your child would benefit from occupational therapy—or what exactly occupational therapy involves?

Pediatric occupational therapists help children meet developmental milestones, overcome sensory challenges, and improve social, emotional and motor skills. Children may need occupational therapy if they have:

• A condition that affects their development or their physical or cognitive function

• A neurological condition, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or cerebral palsy

• An injury that requires using adaptive equipment like prosthetics or mobility devices

Activities of Daily Living and Toileting

Occupational therapists help children in a variety of ways.

One of the most important things they do is assist children with activities of daily living, also known as ADLs. ADLs are the essential tasks that each person needs to be able to perform on a regular basis to sustain basic survival.

One such ADL is toileting. Toileting can be challenging for children with physical and sensory impairments.

When working on toileting skills, occupational therapists examine the following areas: the family’s routine, the child’s sensory needs, the child’s learning ability, their physical mobility, and certain environmental adaptations and/or modifications.

Occupational therapists implement helpful strategies that may include a toileting routine, rewards for positive reinforcement, visuals or supports to signal when it is time to go to the bathroom such as a vibrating watch, or adaptations such as a smaller toilet seat.


Did you know that occupational therapists can also help with your child’s handwriting?

Your child might benefit from handwriting if they have difficulty holding a pencil or pair of scissors in the correct hand position, have messy or hard-to-read handwriting, write letters or numbers that appear backward, complain of hand fatigue or discomfort with handwriting, or have difficulty with typing skills.

Occupational therapists can assess handwriting concerns and provide interventions to make your child more successful. Common interventions include providing adaptations such as a pencil grip or different pencil style, creating an exercise program to increase hand and grip strength, and providing visual exercises to promote both eyes working together.


Pediatric occupational therapists specialize in the occupation of play. Toys are used to work on a child’s sensory issues or to strengthen their fine motor skills and gross motor skills, all while building rapport with the child and making exercises fun.

Occupational therapists can provide helpful recommendations for highly rated therapeutic toys to promote a variety of skills for your child.


Pediatric occupational therapy is available at all Valley Health hospital outpatient locations.

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