Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?

In its simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people of all ages participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, recover from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:

  • An individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals.
  • Customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach their goals.
  • An outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.

Occupational therapists might:

  • Help kids work on fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills.
  • Address hand-eye coordination to improve kids’ play skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copy from a blackboard, etc.)
  • Help kids with severe developmental delays learn basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves.)
  • Teach kids with physical disabilities the coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting.
  • Evaluate a child’s need for specialized equipment to increase functional outcomes with activities of daily living or functional tasks.
  • Work with kids who have sensory and attention difficulties to improve focus and social skills.


At Shriver Therapy:
Each patient will receive 1:1 care with a licensed and certified therapist. The therapy will focus on goals set at the time of evaluation that are reasonable and achievable by the patient. Each goal will be customized to the individual receiving therapy. The goals may include difficulties or concerns observed in a school or home based environment.

Occupational therapy is a function-based approach to rehabilitation and the acquisition of skills to increase an individual’s ability to function in meaningful tasks. Occupational therapy is a client-centered approach that will develop, improve, and restore independence limited by an injury, disability, illness, or a psychological dysfunction. Goals of occupational therapy clients are meaningful to the client and the family to increase independence with functional tasks. For instance, a child’s ability to write his or her name, tie a shoe, or manipulate silverware to feed him or herself would be considered meaningful and functional goals. Goals are obtainable through adaption of an environment, modification of a task, teaching a skill, or providing education.

Common disabilities seen by an occupational therapist:

  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Down syndrome
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Coordination disorders (fine motor and gross motor)
  • Vision problems
  • Sensory disorders
  • Balance impairments
  • Strength impairments
  • Handwriting problems
  • ADD / ADHD
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Failure to thrive
  • Motor development delay
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury