More Than

Raising Children
to Their Highest Potential

Occupational Therapists

Ashley Pinkelman, OTRL

Stacy Beyer, OTRL

The occupational therapist, working cooperatively with other members of the health team, uses purposeful activity in a variety of settings to reduce physical and psychosocial disability. The occupational therapist is a trained health care professional who can make a complete evaluation of the impact of disabilities on the activities of the child at home, school and in community settings. Some occupational therapists specialize in a specific area, such as pediatrics. The occupational therapist who provides the treatment is a graduate of a college program accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Medical Association (AMA). Occupational therapists who pass a certification test qualify to use the initials OTR after their name. State registration is required by the state of Michigan to maintain the quality of care given by occupational therapists in the state.

In planning a child’s program, the occupational therapist evaluates the child’s needs, abilities and interests using interviews, assessments and medical records. The occupational therapist draws on his or her knowledge of purposeful activities to select and apply those most likely to meet goals. Treatment may cover one or more areas, ranging from muscle strengthening and self-care to social-emotional adjustment, fabrication and use of adaptive equipment and splints. Therapy goals change as treatment progresses and programs are re-evaluated. The occupational therapist works very closely with the child’s physician, other health care practitioners, the child and the child’s family in setting treatment objectives that are realistic and consistent with the child’s needs.

 Learn more about Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists specialize in:

  • countingFine-motor skills and grasp
  • Gross motor skill largely concerning upper extremities and trunk stability
  • Joint range of motion, muscle strength and muscle tone
  • Visual and perceptual skills
  • Motor planning and bilateral coordination
  • Sensory processing
  • Functional activities to improve daily living and play skills


Children may need occupational therapy for any number of reasons, including if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions. Does your child:

  • Have difficulty attending or is over-focused and unable to shift to the next task?
  • Have low or weak muscle tone?
  • Need more practice than other children to learn new skills?
  • Reverse letters such as "b" and "d," or cannot correctly space letters/words on lines?
  • Overreact to touch, taste, sounds or odors?
  • Seem overly active and unable to slow down?
  • Have difficulty forming shapes and letters even when given an example?
  • Accidentally break crayons and pencils frequently or write with heavy pressure?
  • Dislike jumping, swinging or having feet off the ground?
  • Dislike coloring or handwriting, and tire quickly during written work?
  • Have poor self-esteem or lack of confidence?
  • Dislike swimming, bathing, hugs and/or haircuts?
  • Avoid physical activities?
  • Have difficulty taking care of self (feeding/eating, using the toilet, dressing, bathing, etc.)?

Occupational therapy is an extensive field that treats a wide range of conditions and diagnoses. Some of the conditions treated include:

  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Cerebral palsy or other neuromuscular conditions
  • Autism
  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • Down syndrome and other genetic disorders
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Brachial Plexus injuries and other upper extremity injuries
  • Fine motor and handwriting challenges
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Visual motor and visual perceptual deficits
  • Difficulties with dressing, hygiene and other aspects of self-care
  • Difficulties with play and other social skills

Sensory integration refers to the nervous system's ability to organize different kinds of sensation entering at the same time to produce useful thoughts and actions.

There are seven sensory systems: vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, proprioception (joint and muscle movement) and vestibular (movement and gravity) systems from which information is processed and integrated. Sensory integration underlies the development of learning, social skills and motor actions. In order to function effectively, our brain needs to register sensory information from each sensory system and unconsciously filter relevant information based on our environment and our task at hand. This automatic filtering of sensory information results in both behaviors and/or motor actions.

Efficient sensory processing allows us to function effectively. Inefficient sensory processing, or sensory processing dysfunction, often results in struggles with attention, social skills, coordination and/or fine motor skills. These struggles often result in learning difficulties and/or challenging behaviors.

Latest News & Events

CTC Shared Values

  • Treat Others with Uncompromising Truth
  • Lavish Trust on Your Associates
  • Mentor Unselfishly
  • Be Receptive to New Ideas, Regardless of Their Origin
  • Take Personal Risks for the Organization
  • Give Credit Where It’s Due
  • Do Not Touch Dishonest Dollars
  • Put the Interests of Others Before Your Own

Learn More...