At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, pediatric occupational therapy focuses on improving your child’s ability to perform everyday tasks — such as getting dressed, eating unassisted, reaching and grasping toys, handwriting, or developing social skills.
Occupational therapists at Children’s work with children from birth through 21 years of age.
What Sets Children’s Apart?
Our occupational therapists have expertise in evaluating children’s neurological, musculoskeletal, cognitive, sensory, and emotional development, as well as determining the effects of infant and childhood illness on growth and development.
We collaborate with schools and other specialists to help your child participate in daily life to the best of their ability. Depending on your child’s needs, this may mean working on sensory integration, play, exercise, social interaction, and fine motor activities (like handwriting). We are also able to provide functional visual assessments and home equipment evaluations.
Our team will determine your child’s abilities and discuss their goals with you. We use this information to develop a plan that includes child-specific self-care behaviors, social skills, and yes, the ability to play.
Children achieve targeted goals, learn functional skills, and show quicker progress when parents and therapists work together. Your active involvement and follow through is key to your child’s success. This can include:
- Making sure a parent or caregiver attends every therapy session
- Practicing skills learned during therapy on a daily basis
- Arriving 15 minutes before your appointment to allow time for check-in
- Attending scheduled appointments: Frequent canceling of appointments will negatively impact your child’s progress, so we expect consistent attendance
During each appointment, your child’s occupational therapist will talk with you about:
- Progress towards your child’s goals and recommended plan of care
- Your child’s and family’s successes and challenges in completing home activities
- Activities that you and your child will be working on in preparation for your next session
You are a valuable member of our team and we are here to help you. Please ask any team member if you have questions or need assistance.
Breaking Down Occupational Therapy Lingo
Occupational therapists may use fancy words sometimes. Here’s what they actually mean:
- Gross motor: Your child’s ability to use your body, especially moving the arms and legs
- Fine motor: Your child’s ability to coordinate small movements in their hands or fingers, grasping, hand strength, and dexterity
- Sensory processing: Your child’s nervous system’s ability to receive and respond appropriately to sensory information (such as sight, sound, smell, taste, movement, and touch)
- Visual-perceptual skills: Your child’s ability to organize and interpret information that is seen (hand-eye coordination, position in space, visual memory)
- Proprioception: Your child’s sense of where their body is positioned in space
We can also recommend adaptive equipment and exercises to improve your child’s development and ability to interact with the world around them.
Conditions We Treat
Pediatric occupational therapy can help with many different medical conditions and disorders, including:
Autism Spectrum DisorderAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term that describes a group of neurodevelopmental disorders. Children with ASD often engage in repetitive behaviors and have a hard time communicating and interacting with others. Symptoms of autism usually become apparent in the toddler years.
Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS)This is a condition in which the nerves that sense pain do not fire normally. This causes the body’s perception of pain to increase. The pain might be constant, or it may come and go. Some children feel pain throughout the entire body, while others notice it in just one area.
At Children’s, patients with AMPS are treated by a team of specialists from multiple departments. Your child may work with experts from rheumatology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychology. Our goal is to relieve your child’s pain, manage emotional distress related to pain, and get back to activities like school and sports.
Dysgraphia And Other Handwriting-Related ConditionsDysgraphia is a condition that causes difficulty with written expression or handwriting. Handwriting incorporates fine motor skills and language processing skills. Occupational therapists can work on improving your child’s pencil grasp, appropriate body position when writing, writing speed or legibility, and sequencing of letter writing.
Feeding/Swallowing DisorderFeeding and swallowing disorders can affect your child’s ability to chew, swallow, and/or move food down the esophagus. These disorders may be caused by health issues — such as cleft palate, asthma, or a heart condition — or by sensory or behavioral problems.
Sensory Processing IssuesIf your child has sensory processing issues, they may feel over- or under-sensitive to their environment. These issues can impact one or several of the body’s senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight).
For example, your child may be unable to stand the sensation of seams on their clothing against their skin. Or they may become very upset when a loud noise startles them. This is because their brain is not able to filter out or tone down the sensory information it is receiving.
Other Conditions We Treat
- Brachial Plexus Injuries
- Conditions Requiring Splinting/Orthoses, including:
- Flexion contractures of the hand or upper extremity
- Joint or tendon injuries
- Spasticity or tone management
- Compensatory splints to help with activities of daily living or handwriting
- Sensory Impairments
- Fine Motor Delays
What To Do Next
You will need a referral from your child’s primary care provider to schedule an appointment. Once you have a referral, appointments for occupational therapy can be made by calling any of our Rehabilitation Services locations.
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Specialty Pediatric Center
111 N. 84th Street
Omaha, NE 68114
Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
17819 Pierce Plaza
Omaha, NE 68130
Monday through Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Outpatient Rehabilitative Services Clinic – Lincoln
5390 Vandervoort Drive, Suite A
Lincoln, NE 68516
Monday through Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Please have the following information available when you call to make your appointment:
- Reason for therapy
- Insurance information, including insurance name, member ID number, group number, customer service phone number, and subscriber name
- Name of the referring physician
For Referring Providers
The physicians’ priority line is your 24-hour link to pediatric specialists at Children’s for referrals, emergency and urgent consults, physician-to-physician consults, admissions, and transport services. Call 855-850-KIDS (5437).
Learn more about referring patients.