How can an OT help children and teenagers in their everyday activities?

Occupational therapists can work with children and their families on the development of skills for everyday life. Skills may include dressing, eating, handwriting, riding a bike. It may also include assessing seating, enhancing a child’s self-confidence and independence, mental health concerns and liaising with schools, GPs, family members, carers and other healthcare professionals. Some examples of how an OT would work with children and teenagers are outlined below.


Occupational therapists can work with your child in improving their handwriting. Some strategies used are aimed at improving:

  • Sitting posture
  • Postural control
  • Core stability
  • Shoulder strength
  • Paper position
  • Pencil pressure
  • Letter sizing
  • Direction of writing
  • Reflection skills on handwriting
  • Education in relation to grip of pencil/pen


Sometime children or teenagers may require an assessment on their seating. Some examples include:

  1. Assessing and helping to set up an ergonomic work environment for a teenager to study.
  2. Wheelchairs – depending on the child/teenager mobility.
  3. Custom seating – this can include specially moulded seats for use on wheelchairs to mobilise or as a comfort chair. Custom seating is usually required if the child has complex seating needs and/or to ensure optimal posture.

Mental Health

Occupational therapist also works in mental health settings. Here OTs work with children/teenager and their families in improve their physical psychological and social well-being. The OT will work alongside other healthcare professionals in improving function across play/leisure, self-care, activities of daily living and school.

An OTs role in working with children and teenagers is a wide and ever-expanding field. If you have any questions on whether you think OT might help you or a family member contact your local OT to get more information.