Every child deserves to navigate the world and live as fully as possible. When children are affected by a health condition, disorder or injury, they may need occupational therapy to learn or adapt skills that help them achieve these goals.
At Riley at IU Health, our occupational therapists work with kids to help them function at their best, whether they are recovering from an injury that will eventually heal or managing an ongoing condition.
When your child is referred to Riley at IU Health for occupational therapy, we begin a partnership with you and your child to make sure therapy brings your family the outcomes you value most.
Our therapists design patient-focused plans that consider every aspect of your child’s well-being. Rather than focusing only on a diagnosis, our multidisciplinary team treats your child as a dynamic person—someone who plays, learns and socializes.
We work together to address deficits that prevent your child from fully participating in life, coordinating the right healthcare professionals for his or her therapy. Our team also communicates with parents/caregivers, your child’s physician, school and any local therapists who care for your child closer to home.
Occupational therapy benefits children with a wide range of conditions, including:
The condition or injury that caused your physician to prescribe occupational therapy—and any resulting challenges or deficits—determine the type of skills we emphasize in therapy. That may include:
Occupational therapists at Riley at IU Health are committed to bringing evidenced-based techniques and treatment to children in our care. Our association with the Indiana University School of Medicine and our continuous education in occupational therapy bring the latest innovations and knowledge to your child’s treatment.
Your child’s occupational therapy begins with a thorough evaluation. You complete an intake form to identify areas of concern. Before the evaluation begins, our therapists review your responses and ask additional questions to learn more about your child.
Parents and caregivers are a welcome part of the process in occupational therapy. Your knowledge provides therapists with insights that can improve the effectiveness of our care.
We assess your child through standardized tests and observation. During the evaluation, we encourage parents to stay nearby to answer follow-up questions. Your goals for your child are as important to treatment plans as our evaluation. Some children express their goals and participate in planning their own occupational therapy goals.
How often a child has occupational therapy and for how long is determined by the occupational therapist with consideration for each child and each family’s needs. Most families prefer to balance occupational therapy with school and family life. A typical routine may be once or twice a week, although an acute injury or condition might require more intensive therapy for a short period of time.
Most children in pediatric rehabilitation and outpatient therapy keep the same occupational therapist unless there is good reason to switch. Therapists may vary for patients who are in the hospital, but our preference is to keep therapists and families together to support a strong relationship between them.
When your child comes to occupational therapy, please bring anything that helps him or her function and anything that would be useful to therapists. That might include splints, braces, walkers, wheelchairs or other aids. If your child is working on fine motor skills, you may want to share examples of schoolwork to help occupational therapists observe current skills. For children with sensory processing disorders, such as aversions to taste, smell or touch, families might bring the object or food sample that offends their child’s senses.
Part of your child’s plan of care includes a set of activities or exercises that can be done at home. The more you support these activities, the more benefit your child receives from occupational therapy and the sooner he or she may recover or progress. Your involvement, follow-up and consistent participation in therapy are key factors in your child’s rate of progress.
What happens after occupational therapy is as different as children and their diagnoses.
We work closely with each family and other healthcare providers to decide on an appropriate time for each child’s discharge from occupational therapy.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
The American Academy of Pediatrics supports pediatricians and offers information for parents on a wide range of health topics through this website.
This organization supports occupational therapists and shares public information and tips for parents and caregivers about training children for activities of daily living.