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Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists (OTs) provide services for children and youth (from birth to 19 years) to improve their ability to function and participate in everyday activities.


Occupational Therapy Services May Involve:

  • Assessment, treatment and consultation
  • Individual or group therapy combined with parent education and coaching 
  • Home programming and consultation to caregivers, professionals and supportive personnel who interact with the child 
  • Promotion of participation and functioning in the home and community environments
  • Activities of daily Living:
    • Motor Development: fine and gross motor skills, oral motor skills (eating and swallowing)
    • Self-help skills: dressing, bathing, personal care
    • Play skills
  • Recommendations for home modifications and vehicle modifications for wheelchair accessibility and effective functioning in all environments 
  • Support and training in use of adapted equipment (specialized seating, adaptive utensils, home and vehicle modifications)

Intervention focuses on skill development as well as on creating environments that promote best functioning. Intervention occurs with collaboration with the family and the whole service team.

OT services may involve assignment of care to an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) to perform components of a treatment plan under supervision of the OT.


  • Children 0 – 19 years old with a physical or developmental delay/disability requiring therapy to improve optimum functioning in their environment (Does not include children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disability (LD), or a mental health diagnosis)
  • Must live in Peel, Halton or Dufferin

Referrals will be reviewed and services will be determined based on your child’s individual needs.


Health professionals, families and clients can complete the referral form. Completion of the referral form is required to access this service.

Visit the Intake Services page for the referral form and more details.


  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Spina Bifida
  • Skeletal (bone) disorders (Achrondroplasia, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Arthrogryphosis, Congenital or traumatic amputation)
  • Neuromuscular disorders (Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Becker and Limb Girdle Dystrophies,Spinal Muscular Atrophy)
  • Neural Tube deficits
  • Metabolic, mitochondrial disorders with neurological impairment
  • Medically fragile


AGETYPICAL DEVELOPMENTWHEN TO CALL FOR HELP
By 3 MONTHS
  • Lifts and holds head up while on tummy
  • Pushes up on arms while lying on tummy
  • Moves legs and arms away from surface when lying on back
  • Not able to follow a moving object with eyes
  • Not able to grasp and  hold objects
  • Seems very stiff or very floppy
By 6 MONTHS
  • Uses hands to support self while sitting
  • Reaches for toys while on tummy
  • Reaches both hands to play with feet
  • Not able to sit using hands for support
  • Poor head control and unable to lift head
  • Not able to get objects to mouth
  • Not able to reach for objects
By 9 MONTHS
  • Reaches for toys without falling
  • Turns head to look at and follow parent/objects
  • Sits independently
  • Can get into sitting position by themselves
  • Sits without support
  • Starting to crawl
  • Needs assistance or uses hands to support sitting
  • Only uses one side of the body when moving
  • Consistently over or under-reaches for objects
  • Falls when reaching for toys
By 12 MONTHS
  • Able to grasp cheerio with finger and thumb
  • Points with finger
  • Bangs toys together
  • Holds crayon in a fist
  • Beginning to help with dressing
  • Bites through a soft cookie
  • Holds a cup independently
  • Drinks with some spillage
  • Begins to bring filled spoon to mouth
  • Significant difficulty picking up and holding onto objects
  • Not able to turn head to follow parent/object
  • Play is limited to chewing and mouthing
  • Frequently chokes when eating or drinking
  • Favors one hand/arm
  • Does not use thumb when grasping objects
  • Hands are fisted most of the time

 
By 18 MONTHS
  • Walks alone
  • Helps with undressing
  • Can build a tower of two to four blocks
  • Can use a spoon and cup with help to feed self
  • Can turn two or three pages of a book at a time
  • Squats to pick up a toy
  • Not able to pick up small objects between thumb and fingers
  • Only uses one hand to complete tasks
  • Has difficulty with chewing and swallowing
  • Not able to feed self with spoon or fork
  • Needs help to hold and drink from a cup
  • Has difficulty letting go of object from hands
By 24 MONTHS
  • Grasps small object  between thumb and fingers
  • Able to string large beads
  • Able to bring spoon/fork to mouth with little spillage
  • Able to drink from a cup
  • Helps with undressing
  • Plays appropriately with toys geared to child’s age
  • Has significant difficulty picking up and grasping small objects
  • Explores objects with mouth most of the time
  • Frequently loses balance in sitting when using hands
  • Has significant difficulty playing with toys geared for his/her age e.g. can’t activate toys using fingers
  • Needs physical help to eat and drink
  • Requires wheelchair or mobility device
  • Requires orthotics/splints to manage arm/hand spasticity
By  3 YEARS
  • Catches large balls and throws overhand
  • Alternates feet when climbing stairs 
  • Puts together simple puzzles
  • Able to grasp pencil between thumb and fingers
  • Able to pick up and carefully let go a small object
  • Able to use fork with little spillage
  • Able to put arms in sleeves of jacket
  • Undresses completely without assistance
  • Needs special equipment  and/or significant assistance to complete self help activities  e.g. uses adapted cutlery to eat, needs bath chair to support sitting in tub
  • Needs specialized seating to support optimal positioning for play
  • Requires wheelchair or mobility device
  • Has significant difficulty playing with toys geared for his/her age
  • Requires orthotics/splints to manage arm/hand spasticity
  • Requires vehicle modification to support seating system
  • Has  challenges with  chewing and swallowing

 
 
By 6 + YEARS
  • Can use utensils competently e.g. use a knife to cut and spread, cut a simple shape
  • Throws with accuracy
  • Kicks rolling ball
  • Uses playground equipment independently
  • Dresses and undresses independently
  • Requires wheelchair or mobility device.
  • Has significant difficulty using utensils e.g. cutlery, scissors and requires adaptive equipment
  • Requires specialized equipment to complete personal care e.g. specialized seating or bath/shower chair
  • Requires full physical assistance of adult to transfer (moving from one position to another)
  • Requires home modification (such as ceiling track, grab bars in bathroom)
  • Requires orthotics/splints to manage arm/hand spasticity


Infant Child and Development Services - Halton

Infant Child and Development Services - Peel

Dufferin Child and Family Services

Healthy Babies Healthy Children

Growing Great Kids

Nipissing District Developmental Screen

College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO)

Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT)

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)


Strategies, activities and information to promote learning and skill development for children 

These resources are from the John McGivney Children's Centre. The link will open in a new browser window--please scroll to the bottom of that page to find the tip sheets.