For children, occupational therapy focuses on developing the skills they need to be successful in everyday activities. Even newborns can benefit from pediatric occupational therapy. After a long stay in a NICU, babies sometimes need help feeding, developing primitive reflexes, self soothing, reaching for objects, visual tracking, or recognizing mom. That’s where pediatric occupational therapy can help.

An older baby may be overly sensitive to loud noises or not respond at all, or perhaps they’re unable to grip toys or feed themselves finger foods. We work with babies, toddlers and older children to help them gain the skills they’ll need to care for themselves and succeed within the family environment, at school, and life in general.

How does occupational therapy help?

Many of the children who visit Building Futures Pediatric Therapy in Ruston or Monroe have missed developmental milestones. Our goal is to help your child reach those developmental milestones so they can succeed in daily activities. 

We also help children with injuries, prematurity, birth defects or neurological, genetic or developmental disorders. Occupational therapy helps children blossom into the most capable and independent adults they can become.

We utilize a variety of games, toys and specially designed equipment to keep your child engaged and interested in their therapy. It’s so important to ensure every visit is positive and fun so your child wants to come back for their next appointment.

Our work involves the development of these skills and many more:

  • Feeding oneself
  • Dressing and bathing
  • Skills controlling fingers and hands
  • Regulating emotions and behavior
  • Transitioning between tasks
  • Following single or multi-part directions
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Hand, wrist and forearm strength
  • Learning balance and coordination
  • Processing sensory input
  • Recognizing and remembering letters and shapes
  • Handwriting

The Benefits of Therapy

The skills we work on with each patient will vary greatly by that child’s potentials and their age. We want each child to achieve milestones relative to their ages and abilities, taking into account their individual situations or diagnoses. 

Therefore, your child’s specific benefits may vary. Here are some of the typical benefits our children experience from working with our therapists:

  • More capable of dressing and grooming
  • Better at feeding themselves
  • Tolerant of a variety of sensory input
  • Capable of harmonious and enjoyable play with other children
  • Accuracy when following directions
  • Skilled use of assistive technology
  • Increased stability during motion
  • Improved ability to write

Most of us take these simple life skills for granted. But for a child who’s struggling, gaining skills like these means the difference between a frustrating, unhappy, limited life and one of achievement and enjoyment. We see the joy in their faces, every time they master a new ability. 

Through our work, we’re able to provide these children and their families with a greater measure of freedom to experience life and accomplish the goals they set for themselves.

Consult Us for a Pediatric Occupational Therapy Evaluation

Has your child been referred to therapy after missing milestones? Or have you noticed worrying signs that your child is struggling? Please contact us for a pediatric occupational therapy evaluation. 

We would be happy to schedule you for a visit to our pediatric occupational therapy clinics in Ruston or Monroe. Let us show you the kind of improvements we have been able to achieve with other children. Come see the incredible variety of toys, games and facilities we employ to keep therapy fun and the positive atmosphere that surrounds our therapy. 

If you’re just beginning your online search for a pediatric occupational therapist near you, please contact us to schedule a visit to our Ruston or Monroe offices. Give us a call today:

Monroe: 318-388-8414
Ruston: 318-255-7550

For quick tips to help your child, check out our Developmental Checklist!

Parent Testimonials

This place is beyond amazing. My son has been coming here since he was two. His OT and speech therapist are incredible. They work extremely hard and where he is today, we’re more then grateful. It’s not just work for them. They truly care for your child future. This is my recommendation for any parent. The front staff are extremely nice and welcoming. This says a lot when just walking (Post-Covid)! I recently moved and I’m praying they open up an office here. We’re going to miss Wendy(OT) Kate and Amanda( SLP). They did great with my son. All the therapist are amazing so your child would be in great hands with anyone here.

-N.W.

My son has been in speech therapy since October of 2019 with Building Futures. Erica Andrews been so wonderful with him. He has made so much progress since beginning therapy. He loves his therapist so much and is so excited to go in, which shows me just how great she is with him! He has recently started occupational therapy and has only received one session but so far Anna seems great! Before Covid, the children in the waiting room would be so excited and run to hug their therapists when they would call them back. There is so much love and care within that building! I’m so thankful for them and the work that they do! I definitely recommend Building Futures.

– R.W.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

Occupational therapy is a wonderful tool to foster independence and strengthen the skills kids need to care for themselves, succeed at home, school, and in various social settings, and to enjoy life to the fullest degree! Occupational therapy and the guidance of Building Futures’ pediatric therapists, enable your child to soar in ability, strength, and confidence!

If your child has been diagnosed with any of the following, or is exhibiting similar behavioral symptoms, they may benefit from occupational therapy: Sensory Processing Disorder, Development Delays, Down Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Brachial Plexus Injury, Early Development & Reflex Integration. Occupational therapy is proven to empower children to overcome sensory processing difficulties, improve movement, communication, and social skills, develop strong social relationships, and build a brighter future.

Through the care of Building Futures’ pediatric therapists and our individualized occupational therapy programs, your child can improve any of the following functional skills: 

  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Feeding oneself
  • Dressing and bathing
  • Controlling fingers and hands
  • Regulating emotions and behaviors
  • Transitioning between tasks 
  • Following directions
  • Hand-eye-coordination
  • Balance and coordination
  • Processing sensory input
  • Handwriting
  • Remembering shapes and letters
  • …and much more!

Our mission is to give every child the opportunity to be as independent as possible and empower families to achieve the brightest futures for their children. If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call to schedule an evaluation. Click here!

Pediatric occupational therapy appointments typically last between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on your child’s skill levels and needs. We understand that “It depends” can be a frustrating and confusing answer. In order to get you and your child a resolute answer to this question, give the Building Futures team a call. Once we book an initial appointment and assess the unique needs of your child, we will outline a specialized program and set a regular appointment duration.

The duration of occupational therapy varies for each child and is determined based on their individual needs and progress. We understand that vague answers can be frustrating; in order for the Building Futures pediatric occupational therapists to provide you with an estimate of your child’s length of treatment, they will need to gain a better understanding of your child’s skills, needs, and goals. Give us a call at Building Futures! After the first appointment, we will plan a program and set an initial length of treatment.

You can explain occupational therapy to your child by emphasizing that it’s a way to help them learn new abilities, gain strength, and develop skills that will make daily activities easier and more enjoyable. Consider using the following script but make adjustments with a few personal examples, specific to your child.

An occupational therapist is an adult who helps you with activities that might be hard for you to do. Sometimes we call them “OT’s” for short! Some of the activities they help with might be things that happen at home, like washing your hair, eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner by yourself, helping with chores, or playing with brothers and sisters. Your OT can also help with things that may happen outside of the house, like at school! These things may include following instructions, listening to the teacher, coloring and writing, or playtime with classmates. OTs can also help with things outside of home and school; if you find it hard to go to the store with your family, play in the park, or being around noisy cars. These are just a few examples.

Even though an OT is a kind of teacher, therapy is different from school! Your OT may play games with you to help you practice a skill. Remember, everyone has things they are great at, and everyone has things they have trouble doing. An OT helps kids just like you get better at doing those hard things so they can do them all by themselves!

The goals of occupational therapy for children include—but are not limited to—building skills for self-care, success at home and school, and overall enhancement of their abilities, strength, and confidence. Your child’s occupational therapist will work one-on-one with them to develop important skills and improve specific skills they find difficulty with. Goal-setting is a vital part of tracking skill building progress and these occupational therapy goals are curated with each individual child in mind. Most occupational therapy goals are set based on the SMART approach, which ensures each goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The intention of setting goals with these parameters is to ensure each goal has a specific objective and progress is trackable. Your child’s occupational therapist will consider your child’s age, development stage, play skills, sensory development, and their social, emotional, physical, feeding, and cognitive skills prior to establishing goals.

While pediatric occupational therapy focuses on developing your child’s daily living skills, sensory processing, and emotional regulation, pediatric physical therapy is primarily concerned with developing your child’s physical strength, mobility, and gross motor skills. Both therapies contribute to improving their overall well-being and quality of life but target different aspects of development.

Let’s break down the differences between pediatric physical therapy and pediatric occupational therapy by comparing the focus, goals, treatment plans for each:

Pediatric Occupational Therapy (OT):

  • Focus: Empowering children with skills needed for independent self-care, success at home and school, and overall enhancement of abilities, strength, and confidence. OT addresses challenges like sensory processing difficulties, motor skills development, communication, social skills, and emotional regulation.
  • Goals: Building essential skills, including fine and gross motor skills, feeding, dressing, bathing, hand-eye coordination, balance, and senso it ry processing. OT goals are tailored to each child’s needs and established using the SMART approach to ensure each goal has a specific objective and progress is trackable.
  • Treatment Plan: Sessions last 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, with a focus on one-on-one interaction. Your child’s therapist assesses their unique needs and skills, tailoring a program to their age, development, play skills, as well as sensory, social-emotional, physical, feeding, and cognitive aspects.

Pediatric Physical Therapy (PT):

  • Focus: Helping children move independently and comfortably. Building Futures’ physical therapists focus on increasing strength and mobility of children of all ages, working towards developmental milestones, and helping children who are adapting to assistive devices like orthotics, wheelchairs, or walkers.
  • Goals: Building strength, flexibility, balance, and mobility to enhance a child’s overall physical well-being. The focus is on helping children achieve their highest level of function for independent exploration of their environment.
  • Treatment Plan: Sessions last 30 minutes to 1 hour, with an initial assessment guiding specific goals and a customized treatment plan. Every treatment plan is curated to your child’s needs, and physical therapy sessions are designed to be fun, using games and play items like swings and trampolines.

The duration of occupational therapy varies for each child and is determined based on their individual needs and progress, however, most children attend treatments 1-4 times per week. We understand that vague answers can be frustrating; in order for the Building Futures pediatric occupational therapists to provide you with an estimate of your child’s length of treatment, they will need to gain a better understanding of your child’s skills, needs, and goals. Give us a call at Building Futures! After the first appointment, we will plan a program and set an initial length of treatment.

To determine if your insurance covers pediatric occupational therapy, you can check if your insurance company is on the list of accepted providers below. We work with various insurance companies to ensure broad access to our services. If your insurance company is not listed, you are encouraged to call our office to inquire about recent additions.

Insurance Companies Accepted at Building Futures Pediatric Therapy:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Vantage
  • UnitedHealthCare
  • TRICARE
  • Aetna Better Health
  • AmeriHealth Caritas
  • Louisiana Healthcare Connections
  • Healthy Blue
  • United Healthcare Community Plan

Unsure about some of the specific insurance-related jargon? Check out our Insurance Terms Defined cheat sheet! Or, give us a call—we are always happy to answer questions related to your insurance coverage and financial plan.

Studies have shown—and we have witnessed it firsthand—that a parent’s active involvement in their child’s treatment has immense benefits on the child’s progress! The Building Futures occupational therapy team invites parents to be actively involved, understand the program, keep up on “homework” the therapist provides, and seek advice when needed.

We focus on collaboration and family involvement to maximize outcomes. Parents are key contributors to their child’s development, taking on active roles as teachers and therapists at home. We embrace a family-centered model that recognizes parents’ essential roles in their child’s growth and monitoring their needs between therapy appointments.

Communication between your child, their therapist, and you is vital. We not only encourage but expect honest, open dialogue between parties, and value your insight into your child’s strengths, challenges, and concerns. Let’s get the conversation started—find out how you can be involved in your child’s treatment program and support their growth by giving us a call.

There is no right age to start occupational therapy, however as a rule of thumb is, if your child is working toward an age-typical milestone, or you notice some challenges with visual processing, hyper/hyposensitive to sensory input or difficulties engaging or maintaining social interactions, we suggest contacting your pediatrician and giving us a call. If you notice any of these signs in your child, starting pediatric occupational therapy early is essential. Early therapy helps build skills to handle sensory challenges and develop skills, reducing the need for accommodations later. Occupational therapy and the support of the Building Future’s therapeutic team can help strengthen your child’s skills and set them up for a bright future!

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