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Occupational Therapy

Our pediatric occupational therapists can help to remove the barriers that affect your child’s emotional, social and physical needs as they grow.

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What exactly is pediatric occupational therapy? Occupational therapy is a healthcare approach that helps those who have physical, sensory, emotional, or cognitive challenges gain independence in their daily lives. Occupational therapy for children helps them learn how to play, improve their educational performance, and participate in the daily activities of being a child.  

Some examples of everyday activities that a pediatric occupational therapist can help with are:

  • Self-care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding
  • Productivity, such as focus with schoolwork and participating in group activities, social functions, and team sports
  • Leisure, such as developing playskills, and hobbies

Occupational therapy for children can address many psychological, social and environmental factors that may be affecting your child’s ability to function or develop. Our pediatric occupational therapists can evaluate your child’s abilities, whether it be colouring or the ability to self-feed and determine when and if they are having difficulty. Our team also evaluates the environment, sensory processing, muscle functions, coordination and other areas that may affect your child’s functioning at home, school, or in the community.

Pediatric occupational therapists are also great advocates if your child requires special equipment or learning assistance or devices, such as computer software or an adapted ergonomic environment.

If you are unsure if occupational therapy can benefit your child, our team can assess and provide therapy to help them and your family. Once our pediatric occupational therapists identify your child’s issues, we can work as a team on the underlying areas that require improvement. We do this by using proven techniques that will offer a lifelong change.

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Browse our occupational therapy services

Self-Care Tasks

Self-care tasks are activities that we do to take care of ourselves. A few examples of self-care tasks are getting dressed, eating, toileting, sleeping or personal hygiene.  As children develop, they learn to be independent with these tasks. However, when these tasks become difficult, this limits their life experiences (e.g., going to a restaurant, using public bathrooms, getting dressed to go outside to play in the snow).

Here are a few ways an Occupational Therapist can help:

  • Introduce routine
  • Assess sensory processing differences
  • Assess fine and gross motor skills
  • Breaking the tasks into smaller steps
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Feeding / Picky Eater

Feeding our loved ones is an integral part of raising our families, and it can be stressful when our children turn down food that helps them grow and develop. There are so many different factors that could play a role in a child’s ability to eat or contribute to picky eating. Some of these factors may be due to sensory challenges (e.g., textures, smells), oral-motor control, learning challenges, or others. Our team of occupational therapists are trained in assessing feeding challenges and picky eating. They will work with you and your child to make mealtimes successful. 

 

We can help with the following feeding challenges:

  • Unable to tolerate specific textures (wet, squish, crunchy, etc.) or nutrition (vegetables, meat, fruits, starches)
  • Challenges with sitting still during meal times
  • Picky or Problem Feeders (eating less than 20 specific foods)
  • Ongoing choking, gagging, or coughing during meals

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Delayed Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are what allow children to make small or fine movements with the smallest muscles of our body (e.g., fingers, toes, tongue, lips). In particular, for our hands, we require these skills to help with holding a pencil, zipping up our jacket, tying shoelaces, printing, or playing with smaller toys such as Lego. 

Our occupational therapists can help assess what the underlying challenges may be and they provide exercises and games to strengthen the muscles, develop coordination and promote independence with fine tasks.

We can help your child improve on:

  • Holding a pencil, crayon, marker or paintbrush
  • Printing their name or letters
  • Hand strengthening
  • Using scissors
  • Playing with toys
  • Opening containers
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Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is the ability to regulate our emotions during stressful or uncomfortable situations (e.g., transitions, change in routine, unfairness).  As children grow, they learn to develop or master their self regulation skills. As well, part of their self-regulation is needing an adult to model these strategies which is called co-regulation. When a child has difficulty with managing their emotions across different settings and/or periods of time, it would be beneficial to reach out to one of our occupational therapists. Our goal as an occupational therapist is for your child to recognize, express, and manage their emotions in a healthy way.

 

Here are a few ways an occupational therapist can help:

  • Create a sensory toolbox
  • Identifying triggers to manage their stressors and behaviours
  • Building awareness of the emotions or arousal level
  • Integrating reflexes
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Executive Functioning

Executive functioning is a set of cognitive skills that includes planning, problem solving, memory, organization, impulse control, and much more. To keep it simple, executive functioning are skills that are used to complete a task.  These skills are required for everyday tasks from getting ready to start the day to learning at school. Our occupational therapists can help guide your child to develop these skills or provide the appropriate accommodations to allow them to succeed in their everyday tasks.

 

Here are a few examples of challenges with executive functioning:

  • Difficulty with initiating a task (e.g., starting their homework, getting dressed)
  • Easily overwhelmed by a large task
  • Has difficulty with stopping certain behaviours (e.g., speaking out in class)
  • Starts assignments at the very last minute
  • Trouble with remembering things
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Sensory Processing Differences

Everyone has their own sensory processing system. As we grow, we learn how to adapt or manage our sensory processing differences. How our sensory system works is we pick up information from our surroundings and the information is sent to our nervous system. Our nervous system processes the information and generates a response to what is happening around us. There are 8 sensory systems that includes hearing, smell, taste, touch, sight, how we sense where our bodies are in space, our sense of the way our bodies move, and understanding our body signals (e.g., hunger, thirst). These senses can help us make sense of our surroundings or make us feel overwhelmed. For some individuals, these experiences can be difficult to tolerate and result in negative behaviours. This is where our occupational therapists can help determine and provide tools to meet your child’s sensory needs.

 

Here are a few examples of sensory processing differences:

  • Unable to tolerate a noisy environment
  • A child may have a hard time keeping thoughts out of their mouth
  • Particular about specific clothing
  • Has difficulty with body awareness, such as running into objects or others
  • Seems to be constantly moving or fidgeting
  • Easily distracted by visual stimuli
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Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is the ability to regulate our emotions during stressful or uncomfortable situations (e.g., transitions, change in routine, unfairness).  As children grow, they learn to develop or master their self regulation skills. As well, part of their self-regulation is needing an adult to model these strategies which is called co-regulation. When a child has difficulty with managing their emotions across different settings and/or periods of time, it would be beneficial to reach out to one of our occupational therapists. Our goal as an occupational therapist is for your child to recognize, express, and manage their emotions in a healthy way.

 

Here are a few ways an occupational therapist can help:

  • Create a sensory toolbox
  • Identifying triggers to manage their stressors and behaviours
  • Building awareness of the emotions or arousal level
  • Integrating reflexes
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Neurodivergent (ADHD, Autism, and others)

Neurodivergent is defined as having a brain that functions in a way that diverges from the societal standards of “normal.” In a more simple term, the individual’s brain thinks and learns differently. At On the Ball Pediatrics, we create individualized care plans with you and your child while supporting your child’s strengths, unique abilities, and authenticity.


How can an occupational therapist help your child?

  • Help use their strengths to complete a challenging or novel task
  • Provide environmental modification or accommodations at home/school
  • Identify sensory tools to help with emotional regulation
  • Teach self-advocacy
  • Use of visual supports to assist with processing language, initiation, seeing steps of process, difficulty changing routines once formed
  • Help interpret challenging behaviours
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Mental Health / Anxiety

More info coming soon.

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Trauma

More info coming soon.

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