Many parents ask us, “what is the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy?” Some people think that pediatric physical therapy focuses on gross motor skills, while occupational therapy focuses on fine motor skills. This is not necessarily true. Although they are similar in many ways, pediatric physical therapy aims to treat the impairment or injury and help increase physical function. On the other hand, pediatric occupational therapy helps the child accomplish everyday tasks in light of their impairment. If we think about the word “occupational” or “occupation” we might think of a synonym, a job. Occupational therapy focuses on kids’ “jobs” or tasks like eating, bathing, dressing or grooming themselves. These jobs might be further complicated by a cognitive or developmental disability. Occupational therapy aims to help with navigating life despite these challenges.
The two can work in tandem as well. Pediatric physical therapy can help with muscle strength and flexibility that can greatly improve occupational capabilities. A child may be fitted with orthotics for toe walking (physical therapy) as a side effect of having cerebral palsy. Simultaneously, an occupational therapist could help the child complete daily tasks as a result of the limitation. Occupational therapy also includes treatment for sensory processing so that kids can complete daily activities. Helping kids that have aversions to certain foods, food textures, fabrics, types of clothing or sounds is part of occupational therapy.
If you are still not sure what type of therapy your child might need, please contact us to make an appointment for an initial evaluation at 704-799-6824. Pediatric Advanced Therapy is one of the premeir occupational and pediatric physical therapy facilities in the Charlotte area.
Pediatric Advanced Therapy
2520 Whitehall Park Drive Suite 350 Charlotte, NC 28273
134 Infield Court Mooresville, NC 28117
129 Woodson Street Salisbury, NC 28144