The Power of Paediatric Occupational Therapy: 6 Techniques for Success

The Power of Paediatric Occupational Therapy: 6 Techniques for Success



Paediatric occupational therapy plays a crucial role in supporting children with disability and developmental delay to reach their full potential. At Xavier, our therapists will tailor interventions to your child's unique needs.  

Understanding Paediatric Occupational Therapy 

Paediatric occupational therapy focuses on helping children develop the skills they need to perform everyday tasks and participate in age-appropriate activities. From fine motor skills and sensory processing to social-emotional development, we work with children and their families to address a range of challenges and promote overall wellbeing. In this article, we explore some of the techniques we use to support children with physical disability and developmental delay.  

1. Sensory Integration Techniques 

Sensory integration is a vital component of paediatric occupational therapy, as it helps children process and respond to sensory information from their environment. Our OTs use a variety of techniques to support sensory integration, including: 

Sensory Diets 

A sensory diet is a personalised plan that incorporates sensory-rich activities into your child's daily routine. By providing regular sensory input, a sensory diet can help your child to improve their sensory processing skills and better manage sensory-related challenges. 

Weighted Blankets and Vests 

Weighted blankets and vests provide deep pressure stimulation, which can have a calming effect on the body's nervous system. Incorporating these tools into therapy sessions, can help children with sensory processing difficulties feel more grounded and secure. 

2. Fine Motor Skills Development Techniques 

Fine motor skills are essential for performing many everyday tasks, such as buttoning clothing, writing and using utensils. Xavier’s paediatric OTs use a variety of techniques to help children build these critical skills, including: 

Hand Strengthening Exercises 

Hand strengthening exercises, such as squeezing putty or using hand grips, can help improve muscle strength and coordination. These activities are particularly beneficial for children with difficulties in grasping objects or manipulating tools. 

Fine Motor Skill Activities 

We might incorporate a range of fine motor skill activities into therapy sessions, from threading beads and lacing cards to using large tweezers and clothespins. These activities can help your child to develop the dexterity and coordination needed for more complex tasks. 

Handwriting Interventions 

For children struggling with handwriting, our OTs may use specialised approaches, to help improve penmanship and writing fluency. By breaking down the writing process into manageable steps, these interventions can help your child to build confidence and hone their fine motor skills. 

3. Gross Motor Skills Development Techniques 

Gross motor skills involve the larger muscles of the body and are crucial for activities like walking, running, and jumping. Our occupational therapists might use various techniques to support gross motor development, depending on the needs of each child, including: 

Balance and Coordination Activities 

Our OTs use balance and coordination activities, such as obstacle courses and balance beams, to help children develop core strength and improve overall motor control. These activities can be particularly beneficial for children with coordination difficulties or low muscle tone. 

Therapeutic Sports and Games 

By incorporating therapeutic sports and games into therapy sessions, OTs can help children build gross motor skills in a fun, engaging way. Examples include modified versions of soccer, basketball, and relay races that emphasise specific motor skills. 

4. Play-Based Techniques 

Play is a natural way for children to learn and develop new skills. Paediatric occupational therapists often use play-based techniques to foster growth and development, including: 

Therapeutic Play 

Therapeutic play involves using play activities to target specific therapeutic goals, such as improving social skills, building problem-solving abilities, or developing fine motor skills. Enjoyable, age-appropriate play activities, mean that your child will have fun while making progress on their therapeutic goals.  

Toy and Game Modification 

Our OTs can modify toys and games to make them more accessible for your child. By adapting these tools to meet their unique needs, our therapists can help to ensure better inclusion and participation. 

5. Parent and Caregiver Involvement 

Parent and caregiver involvement is a critical component of paediatric occupational therapy, as it helps ensure that therapeutic interventions are carried over into the child's everyday life. OTs often work closely with families to develop strategies and techniques that can be used at home, including: 

Home Programs 

Our OTs will work with you to tailor activities that your child can do at to reinforce the skills and concepts introduced during therapy sessions. 

Parent Education 

Parent education is an essential aspect of paediatric occupational therapy, as it empowers you with the knowledge and resources you need to support your child's development. Our OTs may provide information on child development, sensory processing, and strategies for managing challenging behaviors. 

Family-Centered Therapy 

Family-centered therapy involves incorporating the entire family into therapy sessions, allowing all members to participate in and benefit from the therapeutic process. This approach can help foster a collaborative, supportive environment that promotes the child's overall growth and development. 

6. Assistive Technology and Adaptive Equipment 

Assistive technology and adaptive equipment may be used to help children overcome obstacles and perform everyday tasks. Our OT team can recommend and teach children to use these tools effectively, including: 

Adaptive Utensils and Writing Tools 

Adaptive utensils and writing tools, such as weighted forks or pencil grips, can make it easier for children with fine motor difficulties to perform essential tasks, like eating and writing. 

Seating and Positioning Aids 

Seating and positioning aids, such as specialised chairs or cushions, can help children maintain proper posture and positioning while engaging in daily activities.  

Find out more 

Our team of experienced OTs are ready to support more children with physical disability or developmental delay throughout Brisbane suburbs. We can provide OT at your home, in one of our clinics or in your community – such as your child’s school or daycare.  

Simply call us 1800 XAVIER, use our online form on our OT page, or email