Occupational Therapy

The Montreal Children’s Hospital Occupational Therapy Department assesses and provides short-term intervention for children with special needs from infancy through adolescence. 


Who we are

The Montreal Children’s Hospital Occupational Therapy Department assesses and provides short-term intervention for children with special needs from infancy through adolescence. We use formal testing, purposeful play and other activities to assess a child’s ability to do the tasks expected at their age. Working with the family, we provide a program of activities and exercises to achieve therapeutic goals. Children who require long-term intervention to accomplish the physical, social and learning tasks needed at each stage of development are referred to rehabilitation centres.

Occupational therapists at the MCH work in conjunction with other professionals on multi-disciplinary teams. Here are some examples of the types of intervention provided:

Motor developmental milestone acquisition: Infants and children who have experienced a neurological event, trauma or have a congenital condition may require evaluation of their gross and fine motor skills and treatment to improve control of the muscles in all positions. The occupational therapists work on the child’s fine motor dexterity (ability to perform tasks), strength and function.

Splinting and positioning: For children with decreased range of motion, the occupational therapist can fabricate splints or other equipment which can help with achieving a desired position, provide protection/support and assist with function and recovery.

Feeding and swallowing: Children can sometimes experience difficulties in their ability to consumer foods and liquids safely or they may be reluctant to eat or refuse to eat which can have an impact on their growth and development. The occupational therapist can evaluate the components of feeding and intervene to make eating and swallowing safer and promote independence. 

Psychiatry program: Children and adolescents who have psychiatric disorders can experience severe acute functional impairment due to their symptoms and behaviours. The occupational therapist can assess the impact on a child’s or adolescent’s functional capabilities, then provide appropriate intervention using therapeutic activities and assist in re-establishing their functional role in society.

Our history

The Occupational Therapy Department was founded in 1936 at The Children’s Memorial Hospital as the MCH was then known. One of the occupational therapist’s first responsibilities was to set up play activities for hospitalized children in order to provide familiar activities to restore independence. Since then, the occupational therapist’s role has expanded and evolved to become an integral part of the team, providing diagnosis and tertiary-care intervention. Today’s occupational therapists have the expertise to view the relation between a child and their environment, and evaluate the impact of the child’s medical condition on their everyday skills. This includes evaluation of activities of daily living (including oral motor/feeding skills and swallowing function), gross and fine motor skills, visual motor integration, perceptual motor development, sensory functions, and behaviour and communication.

Our team

The Occupational Therapy Department consists of a team of 11 professionals who are specialists in pediatrics. All have received their license and training as part of a university degree program. Our professionals have developed expertise in child development, feeding/swallowing disorders, fabrication of splints and trauma.

Staff member:

  • Sophie Laniel, Professional Coordinator


Where the care happens

Outpatient services are provided in the Occupational Therapy Department located in A03.3138, on the third floor of Bloc A of the hospital. Inpatient services are carried out at the bedside, on the ward, or in a designated therapy room on the unit.

Our services

The Occupational Therapy Department serves a wide variety of inpatients and outpatients ranging from newborns to adolescents with developmental, traumatic, congenital and other acquired conditions. Occupational therapists provide services in the following areas:

Outpatient service areas: Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic, Neurology Clinic, Pediatric Consultation Centre, Genetics, Neurosurgery Clinic, Feeding Program (including Swallowing Disorders Clinic), Psychiatry outpatient programs, Complex Care Services, Rheumatology, Plastic Surgery clinic, Orthopedics clinic, Brain, Development and Behaviour (BDB) Clinics, and community-based referrals to our outpatient waiting list. The Occupational Therapy Department also participates in the Northern outreach program consisting of periodic visits to Northern Quebec.

Note: Children 0-7 years old with suspected developmental delays including questions of Autism Spectrum Disorder who require assessment via a multidisciplinary team should be referred via the Brain, Development and Behaviour (BDB) Centralized Intake Office.

Inpatient service areas: Intensive Care Units (neonatal and pediatric), Medical and Surgical wards, Trauma/Neurotrauma Programs and Psychiatry ward.

Questions about an already scheduled appointment:

Room: A03.3138

Tel: 514-412-4407

Refer a patient 

Occupational Therapy is part of Brain Development & Behavior. New referrals must be processed via the Central Intake Service.

Please follow the instructions for referral on the Central Intake webpage and send it by:

  • Fax: (514) 412-4136
  • Email: bdbci@muhc.mcgill.ca