What Do Occupational Therapists Do?


The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) defines an occupational therapist as a trained professional who develops “customized treatment programs to improve one’s ability to perform daily activities.”

Occupational therapists help people learn or relearn how to perform activities of daily living, at work, leisure, and play. Activities such as playing with any toy, navigating the playground, reading, social skills, being able to be present for and enjoy a party, and so on, can all benefit from occupational therapy, when treatment is indicated.

As a pediatric occupational therapist I know it’s important to keep in mind that for children, play is necessary work. It’s an essential component of their daily lives that aids in the development of multiple physical, emotional, and social skills.

Occupational therapists do  not “fix” issues—or people, for that matter.  We problem-solve with clients and caregivers, in order to develop the best possible strategies for meeting our client’s needs, through skill development, environment modification, or both.

We may work on strengthening the inner and outer core, coordination, eye muscle, visual perception and a host of other skill areas that help us navigate the world.  We help strengthen the skills necessary for successful navigation of the playground, driving a car, maintaining internal calm, and more.6-12-12 002

I specialize in pediatric occupational therapy and treat clients with a wide range of dysregulation. I believe that it is key to address behavior and stress responses—because those areas have an enormous impact on daily functioning. When behavior and stress responses are dysregulated, everything from sleep to learning to relationships is effected.

For example, if due to stress or anxiety (or other reasons), one doesn’t get enough sleep, this will have an effect on work productivity, ability to focus in school,  to get along with siblings, compromise, see another person’s point of view, and even enjoy a family outing.

You’ll find occupational therapists in a wide variety of settings, working with all age groups, from psychiatric hospitals to preschools, from various industries to skilled nursing facilities. For me, working at Thrive Occupational Therapy, my private practice housed in a unique sensory gym, gives me the freedom to develop treatment plans according to your child’s needs. I am also able temploy the most effective, best practices. My practice also allows me to be creative—if an intervention or technique is not working, I’ll keep trying until I find the one that does.

Occupational therapy is one of the most far-reaching health care fields, and I feel fortunate to have found the specialty that is my mission—pediatric behavioral challenges.


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