How Do Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Differ?
Physical therapy and occupational therapy both help improve kids' quality of life, but there are differences. Physical therapy (PT) helps with:
joint range of motion
gross motor skills (large-muscle movements made with the arms, legs, feet, or entire body)
Occupational therapy helps with:
fine motor skills (small-muscle movements made with the hands, fingers, and toes, such as grasping)
cognitive (thinking) skills
Who Does Occupational Therapy?
The two professional levels of occupational practice are:
Occupational therapist (OT): An OT has a 4-year bachelor's degree in a related field (such as biology, psychology, or health science) and a master's degree from an accredited occupational therapy program.
Occupational therapist assistant (OTA): An OTA has an associate's degree from an accredited OTA program. They can carry out treatment plans developed by an OT but can't do patient evaluations.
OTs and OTAs must do supervised fieldwork programs and pass a national certification exam. A license to practice is mandatory in most states, as are continuing education classes.
Where Do OTs Work?
Occupational therapists work in many different settings, including hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, private practices. and children's clinics.
How Can We Find an Occupational Therapist?
If you think occupational therapy could help your child, you can:
Ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist.
Talk to the school nurse or guidance counselor. They might be able to recommend someone based on your child's academic or social needs.
Contact a nearby hospital or rehabilitation center for referrals.