Occupational Therapy vs Physical Therapy: What’s the Difference?

occupational therapy vs physical therapy - Infinity Kids (2)

Occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) have definite overlap in their jobs. Each discipline aims to improve their clients’ quality of life and overall functioning. Both provide hands on care that is individualized based on their client’s needs. OT’s and PT’s will often treat the same conditions.

So, how do you know what kinds of therapy are appropriate for your child? Even with so much overlap and often working closely together, occupational therapy vs physical therapy also have clear-cut differences.

Physical Therapy

PTs typically focus on body movement and are experts in the musculoskeletal system. Clinical observations and assessments help them determine if there is something impacting a child’s posture, alignment, or ability to safely navigate their environment. Through exercise and play with children they work on strengthening, endurance, balance, coordination, and body awareness necessary to improve children’s functional mobility.

Occupational Therapy

An OT takes a holistic approach to assess what meaningful occupations are for their client. Meaning, what occupies the child’s time. This encompasses everything from brushing their teeth, changing their clothes, school tasks, play, eating, and sleeping. OT’s use clinical observations and assessments to determine if children have the attention, fine motor, bilateral coordination, sequencing, cognitive, visual perception, and sensory processing skills necessary to engage in their daily activities. Through play and adapting activities or environments they are able to provide their client with the just right challenge to increase their overall independence.

After reviewing similarities and differences between occupational therapy vs physical therapy, hopefully, it is easier to determine now what discipline is appropriate for your child’s needs. At Infinity Kids therapists are able to work collaboratively to ensure best practices for each client. Multiple factors can contribute to a child’s development and could call for a multi-disciplinary approach.

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