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Occupational Therapy

Preparing children for the job of living

Smearing shaving cream all over a mirror with your hands, swinging high on a platform swing, these are just some of the fun activities children can use to learn and gain skills that assist with achieving that child's occupation. A child's occupation may include school, play, interacting with peers or parents, and self help skills. Occupational Therapy at Children's Hospital promotes skills for the job of living for children ages birth through 21 years. Occupational therapists have expertise in evaluating children's neurological, muscular, cognitive, sensory and emotional development; and determining the effects of infant and childhood illness on growth and development.

Why do children need occupational therapy?

Sometimes children need occupational therapy to do things we take for granted such as getting dressed, eating unassisted, reaching and grasping toys, coloring, or socializing with their peers or parents.

Occupational therapy assessment and intervention focuses on the following areas:

  • Activities of daily living - caring for self-needs such as eating, dressing, toileting, bathing.
  • Fine motor development - grasping, reaching, cutting, writing, computer.
  • Play - interacting with age-appropriate toys, games, equipment and activities .
  • Social participation - developing appropriate relationships and engaging in behavior that doesn't interfere with learning or social relationships.
  • Work - developing interests and skills necessary for transition to community life after graduation.
  • Adaptive equipment - bath chairs, equipment to assist with dressing, toilet seats.
  • Home evaluations - an occupational therapist will assess your home and make recommendations to assist your child in performing self care skills and appropriate equipment in the bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens, etc.
  • Upper extremity splinting - to provide joint support or a passive stretch to tight muscles.
  • Motor Planning and coordination - help develop the child's ability to form an idea, plan the action and execute it.
  • Visual/Perceptual Skills - develop the ability to accurately interpret and reproduce visually presented information using visual processing and fine motor skills.
  • Sensory - using a variety of sensory rich activities to address deficits in the areas of movement, balance, touch, sounds, vision, and taste.

Meet Our OT Team:

at Children's Hospital & Medical Center:
Jess Ackermann, MOT, OTR/L
Madeline Brown, MOT, OTR/L
Nikki Elsasser, OTD, OTR/L
Ashley Hedden, OTD, OTR/L, Supervisor
Ann Hudson, OTD, OTR/L
Abbie Nelson, MOT, OTR/L
Alicia Oldham, OTD, OTR/L
Katie Rogers, MOT, OTR/L
Beth Staenberg, MA, OTR/L
Kimberly Walz, OTD, OTR/L
at Spring Ridge:
Jess Ackermann, MOT, OTR/L
Elise Kelley, OTR/L
Abbie Nelson, MOT, OTR/L