Occupational Therapy

Our occupational therapists provide skilled treatment to help children achieve independence in all areas of their lives. They specialize in developing skills for the many “jobs” (or occupations) of childhood. A child’s most important job is PLAY! Children learn faster and more effectively through play, and here at Marshall Pediatric Therapy your occupational therapist will help your child to improve their skills, often without even realizing they are working!

Our occupational therapists use a child-centered approach looking at the child as a whole to identify your child’s strengths and areas of need. Often, these areas might include addressing  gross motor skills, self-care skills, fine motor skills, emotional regulation, play and social participation, and sensory processing systems. While one or many of these areas might be targeted, our therapists’ main goal is to assist you and your child with enhancing his or her participation in everyday routines while achieving success across environments.


We can help with:

 -Visual Motor Skills

  • Poor letter recognition
  • Poor memory
  • Poor drawing skills
  • Difficulty coloring inside the lines
  • Poor eye-hand coordination 
  • Difficulty crossing the midline for reading and writing
  • Difficulty copying shapes or designs

-Fine Motor Skills

  • Difficulty holding a crayon or writing utensil
  • Difficulty using scissors
  • Difficulty with shoe tying or buttoning
  • Drops things frequently 
  • Poor manipulation of toys
  • Inconsistent hand dominance

-Handwriting Skills

  • Hand fatigue with writing
  • Poor legibility or formation of letters
  • Backwards letters
  • Awkward grasp when writing
  • Writing pressure is too light/ too heavy

-Life Skills

  • Dressing
  • Self-feeding skills
  • Limited diet or picky eating
  • Toileting skills
  • Sleep 
  • Play skills or social interaction
  • Meal prep
  • Kitchen safety 
  • Difficulty following AM/PM self care routine

     -Gross Motor Skills

    •  Rolling
    • Sitting
    • Crawling
    • Walking
    • Muscles tight or rigid
    • Muscles weak or floppy
    • Endurance or fatigue
    • Poor Balance
    • Falling frequently
    • Bilateral coordination
    • Clumsy
    • Difficulty maintaining balance on swings

    -Sensory Processing

    •  Dislikes having hands messy
    • Avoidance of sounds 
    • Constantly seeking movement or jumping
    • Difficulty participating in loud or busy environments
    • Slow to participate in activities
    • Difficulty sitting still
    • Poor attention to task
    • Poor organizational skills 
    • Avoids eye contact
    • Difficulty making friends or playing with others
    • Lack of body awareness
    • Easily distracted 
    • Appears nervous on elevated surfaces 
    • Avoidant of wearing certain clothes, or only wears specific clothing 
    • Difficulty with haircuts, teeth brushing, nail clipping, and bathing 


    • Difficulty moving from one task to another
    • Excessive meltdowns or tantrums

    What to expect:

    During your first visit, also known as the initial evaluation, a licensed occupational therapist will ask you questions about what’s most important to you and your child.  We want to know your child’s history, current abilities and strengths, and the areas you want to see improvement in with your child.  Once we know more about you and your child, we then provide a variety of assessments that help us determine exactly which skills we need to focus on.  These assessments may consist of looking at your child’s abilities with various visual and fine motor skills, ability to process sensory input, abilities with life skills, and even how legible their writing skills are for their age.  


    During the next step of the process, the occupational therapist will score assessments to determine how to incorporate a way to challenge and improve the lower scoring areas in fun ways during their sessions.  Therapists create goals to monitor progress and help ensure good communication with families’ about what they value for their child as well.  At the following session, the therapist will discuss the results and goals with you.  During that time, you can discuss any further concerns and help create or change goals as needed.  


    We do not follow a one size fits all approach.  If occupational therapy is recommended, the treatment plan will be tailored to your child’s needs.  The frequency of your child’s appointments will be determined by their therapist with your input to best meet your family’s unique needs.

    Indicators your child may need occupational therapy

    Doesn’t bring his/her hands together or reach for a toy by 6 months

    Unable to pick up something small like cereal with thumb and finger by 11 months

    Does not seem able to “play” well with children his/her age; prefers to play with younger children or alone

    Unable to cut paper in a controlled manner by 3 ½ years

    Is easily upset, does not like to be touched, seems to avoid experiences that are loud, places that are crowded, busy environments, etc.

    Unable to copy shapes by age 4 or letters by age 5


    Has more difficulty than other children his/her age with participating in or changing from one activity to another, typically resulting in tantrum behavior

    Unable to button or unbutton by age 5 or has difficulty with other self care activities

    Bathing, hair washing, getting dressed, wearing certain clothes or nail clipping results in a “fight”

    Is constantly touching things, is very active and cannot seem to focus on a task to the point that getting through daily routines is difficult. Child may not be able to keep their hands to themselves, or may deliberately run into other kids, the furniture, etc.


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