Pediatric occupational therapists are professionals who use their skills and knowledge to help children with physical, social, emotional and mental challenges. These professionals work in hospitals, clinics and private practice. Patience, strong communication skills and a love of working with kids are essential for this career.
Pediatric OTs also evaluate patients’ weaknesses and strengths in critical developmental areas and design individualized treatment plans to promote healthy development. They may work with children suffering from conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. These conditions can affect a child’s ability to perform daily tasks and can have a negative impact on their quality of life.
Children with autism often experience difficulty communicating, learning and interacting with others. This can lead to problems in school and at home, making it difficult for them to live their lives normally. OTs can help by addressing issues such as sensory processing, positioning and coordination. They can also train parents and caregivers on how to assist their children.
A pediatric occupational therapist will need to complete several educational and training requirements to start working in the field. In addition, they must have a license to practice in their area of expertise. They will also need to maintain certification by completing continuing education courses and paying a renewal fee. The highest salaries for pediatric occupational therapists can be found in Alaska, California and Nevada. There are a few cities in New York that pay above the national average, including East Meadow, Bronx and Rockville Centre.