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.