Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy For Kids

People often wonder what the difference between physical and occupational therapy as their roles often overlap and they frequently collaborate with one another. Even though their roles can overlap within the pediatric setting there are major differences between occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) which is often why your child may be referred to both an OT and a PT.

Occupational Therapy:

Pediatric occupational therapists help children be as independent and functional in age-appropriate daily routines and activities. OTs work on a wide variety of motor skills, play skills, cognitive functioning, along with sensory processing to help their bodies interpret information from the environment so they can better understand their world around them. OTs often work closely with families and teachers to provide strategies for their child to be as functional and independent across all environments. 

Skills that a pediatric OT can address:

  • Executive functioning skills (i.e., memory, attention, organization)
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Visual motor and perceptual skills
  • Coordination
  • Social skills
  • Body awareness
  • Play skills
  • Self-regulation
  • Sensory Integration
  • Activities of daily living skills (i.e., dressing, grooming, feeding)

Physical Therapy:

In the pediatric world, physical therapists are specialists in regards to the musculoskeletal system and how a child’s body moves. Physical therapists often help children with mobility difficulties, developing their gross motor skills,  or orthopedic conditions. A PT’s focus is for children to be as mobile as possible in their lives. Pediatric PT’s address anything that may impact a child’s movement, posture, or body alignment.

Skills that a pediatric PT can address:

  • Gross motor skills
  • Gait
  • Orthotics training
  • Strength and endurance
  • Balance and coordination
  • Motor planning
  • Body awareness
  • Range of motion

Both occupational and physical therapy are important and beneficial to a child’s success as they address crucial skills that facilitate the development of children and help them to be independent and functional in their daily lives. Do you think your child would benefit from occupational therapy? Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow.