Pediatric Occupational Therapy in Newmarket & Toronto
Pediatric Occupational Therapy (also known as Infant Occupational Therapy) supports toddlers to develop fine motor, gross motor, sensory motor, and visual motor skills. These skills come into play when they are learning to crawl, eat solids, walk, play and even socialize. Occupational Therapy can also give mamas the tools and strategies to help their little ones achieve essential developmental milestones.
We can help your child meet their milestones
Baby Steps in Toronto & Newmarket
Did you ever wonder if your baby is progressing at the right pace? Are they crawling or rolling over at the right time? Eating, sleeping or playing in a way that helps their brain and body develop? West End Mamas offers a Baby Steps mom and baby class in Toronto and Newmarket that is led by our occupational therapists. These small groups are a perfect opportunity to meet other parents in the community and support one another (bonus: it may be covered by your insurance!).
In this 6-week series, our occupational therapists provide education and guidance to parents. You will learn about your baby’s typical development and how to support their motor, sensory, sleep, feeding, play and co-regulation skills. We will also assist you to identify and navigate the challenges in each of these areas.
See below for our upcoming classes:
Pediatric Occupational Therapy in Newmarket
Welcoming a baby into the family is incredible, but it can certainly come with its own unique challenges. All babies are different and as parents gradually learn about their child there are always many questions and worries.
Infant or Pediatric Occupational Therapy services are now available at our Newmarket location. An occupational therapist works with your baby, one-on-one, to assess and address any concerns regarding your baby’s motor development, feeding skills, play skills, and other physical and neurological development.
Pediatric occupational therapists can assess the following in babies 0-2:
- Delayed Gross Motor Skills (e.g. not crawling, sitting, walking, rolling on time )
- Delayed Fine Motor Skills (e.g. issues using holding toys, cutlery, scissors, etc)
- Low or excess muscle tone (e.g. floppy, poor or limp muscles tone)
- Feeding challenges (e.g. heightened sensitivity to certain textures, overly picky, difficulty transitioning to solid food)
- Sensory related issues (e.g. over or under sensitive to noises, textures, tastes, sensory seeking)
Pediatric occupational therapy can also help in these areas:
- Strategies to address challenges transitioning to solid foods
- Strategies and therapy for babies who have sensory sensitivities
- Exercises and play for babies with motor development delays
- Strategies to minimize plagiocephaly/flat head syndrome
- Stretches and exercises for torticollis (wry neck)
- …and more!
We can help your little one develop and grow optimally
Common Questions About Pediatric Occupational Therapy
How do I know if my baby needs an occupational therapist?
Your baby may benefit from an occupational therapy assessment if you and/or your baby’s pediatrician has concerns about developmental delays in the area of motor skills, feeding or cognitive skills.
The assessment will provide an understanding of your baby’s strengths and challenges. Treatment will focus on strategies to teach and progress your baby in learning a new skill.
Do I need a referral?
You do not need a referral to see an occupational therapist. If you have concerns about your baby’s development, feel free to contact the therapist to discuss the possibility of an assessment.
Please check with your insurance provider to see if you have coverage.
What ages do you work with?
At West End Mamas, we focus on pediatric occupational therapy for newborns to toddlers (age 0 to 2 years).
What’s the difference between infant physical therapy and infant occupational therapy?
In the most simple terms, Physical Therapists (PT) specialize in gross motor issues and development. While Occupational Therapists (OT) focuses on the issues and development for occupation, which for babies is mainly play, sleeping and eating. There are many areas that affect occupation, such as gross motor, fine motor, sensory, and cognitive skills.
There is a lot of overlap between OTs and PTs because gross motor and movement is a big component of development for babies. For example, a 5-month-old won’t be able to engage in play if they are not strong enough to roll (gross motor), but the baby’s play can also be affected by their cognitive abilities, sensory abilities, and fine motor skills.
An OT will work on all areas of development towards the goal of increased play, but a PT will likely focus on a goal like increase strength for rolling. OTs are also a better fit if there are issues around feeding (ie. chewing, swallowing or sensory-related).
What happens on the first pediatric occupational therapy visit?
During the first visit, your occupational therapist will review your baby’s medical history and discuss your concerns. An assessment of your baby’s skills will be completed by a combination of formal testing and observations through play. At the end of the session the therapist will provide an analysis and recommend treatment options. Treatment is always in collaboration with the family and can include returning for therapy or a home program.
What can I expect during follow-up pediatric occupational therapy sessions?
Follow-up sessions can vary depending on your baby’s treatment plan.. Babies who are returning for therapy will work one-on-one with the therapist to develop skills; parents can observe and practice these hands-on techniques. Some babies will be re-assessed and introduced to new activities for a home program. Everything is tailored to meet the family’s and baby’s needs.
How quickly can I expect my baby to progress?
Progress depends on your baby’s delays, diagnosis and treatment. Usually we start seeing some improvement within 3 to 4 weeks of starting a treatment plan.
How does occupational therapy differ from babies to older kids?
Pediatric occupational therapy focuses on occupation as the goal therapy for a baby. Treatment for an older child will differ because occupational and developmental stages are quite different. An OT goal for a baby may be to work on fine motor skills so the baby can reach and play with a toy above his/her head. While an OT goal for a child in school would be to increase fine motor skills so that the child can hold his/her pencil to write their name.
Is it occupational therapy covered by my extended health insurance?
We can provide an itemized occupational therapy receipt at the end of the one-on-one occupational therapy session or the Baby Steps workshop series for you to submit to your extended health insurance plan. Please note that every health insurance is different and you can check to see if you have coverage.
West End Mamas works with insurance companies to do online billing for treatments, whenever possible. Simply ask if your insurance company is compliant when you book your appointment.