Pediatric Occupational Therapy Vs Speech Therapy Vs Physical Therapy – What’s The Difference?

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Pediatric Occupational Therapy Vs Speech Therapy Vs Physical Therapy - What's The Difference? | Triumph Therapeutics | Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy in Washington DC

Many pediatric rehabilitation therapy clinics employ a team of different types of therapists.

These teams often include pediatric occupational therapists, pediatric physical therapists, and speech therapists for children.

They would each approach you differently and create a different type of treatment plan based on the practices of their discipline.

They are also each suited to working with particular types of clients.

We’re going to go through those differences, including when you should see who.

At Triumph Therapeutics, we use a holistic approach to recommend the best treatment plan for your child depending on their medical history and presenting symptoms.

We believe a collaborative approach offers the best results.

Now, let’s find out more.

What Is A Pediatric Occupational Therapist?

A pediatric occupational therapist is a health professional who works with people who’ve experienced illnesses, injuries, and disabilities that prevent them from participating in their normal day-to-day activities.

The goal of pediatric occupational therapy is to help you regain agency over your own life, which includes things like cooking, bathing, dressing, and toileting.

They also address ergonomic concerns if you’re experiencing stiffness or pain due to the repetitive nature of your job.

There are a variety of solutions that your pediatric occupational therapist will consider depending on your particular situation.

These include:

What Is A Speech Therapist For Children?

A speech therapist for children’s purpose is to improve your child’s ability to communicate and swallow.

There are many aspects of communication that your pediatric speech therapist may focus on including speech production, fluency or stuttering, language, cognition, voice resonance, and hearing.

Swallowing treatment can also include general feeding.

The style of treatment can be either rehabilitative or habilitative.

Speech therapists for children work with a variety of clients that can range from neurodivergent individuals to those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Some pediatric speech therapists also focus on a niche client base and can offer services such as:

What Is A Pediatric Physical Therapist?

Pediatric physical therapy is the treatment of the effects of disease, injury, and disability by using exercise, manual therapy, education, and therapeutic activities.

The primary goal of your pediatric physical therapist is to help you improve your child’s movement and function, while also reducing their pain.

As a result, treatment plans will often include stretches, exercises, and functional mobility activities to help your child recover movement efficiently and effectively.

Conditions pediatric physical therapy can help with include:

How Are They Similar?

Each regulated profession will assess and create an individualized plan for you.

Often, they will all work out of the same clinic.

Although outside of the clinic, they can all work in hospitals, schools, and homes.

As a whole, their goal is to improve the quality of your or your child’s life.

As a general rule, all three professions will continue to participate in research and education throughout their career.

speech therapy for children and how it's different than OT and PT | Triumph Therapeutics | Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy in Washington DC

How Are They Different?

Let’s dive into some of the nuances between each profession.

Pediatric Occupational Therapists

Pediatric occupational therapists will use a holistic lens to focus on daily tasks.

This includes anything from dressing to driving.

Sometimes, they will have to come up with creative solutions like splinting or assistive technology in order to help their clients in their daily lives.

They tend to focus on fine motor skills, which include grasping objects and developing or restoring skills like handwriting, typing, using scissors, dialing the phone, tying shoelaces, and more.

A pediatric occupational therapist requires a master’s degree to practice.

Speech Therapists For Children

Speech therapists for children focus on speech and language disorders, but that goes beyond just speaking.

They also focus on the functions of swallowing, eating, and reading.

They can also use augmentative and alternative communication technology to help patients communicate.

This technology can be especially helpful for children who use it as an important stepping stone during their speech therapy.

Like an occupational therapist, a speech therapist for children requires a master’s degree to practice.

Pediatric Physical Therapists

Pediatric physical therapists work with a similar population as pediatric occupational therapists.

However, rather than fine motor skills, they tend to focus on gross motor skills.

Gross motor skills includes things like sitting, crawling, running, jumping, climbing stairs, throwing balls, hand eye coordination, and balance and coordination.

But, pediatric physical therapy requires a doctorate degree to practice at a minimum.

Which One Should You See?

Like we said, all three professions share a similar focus on rehabilitation.

But, depending on your personal history and presenting symptoms, there may be one profession that is a better match to working with you.

When You Should See A Pediatric Occupational Therapist

You should see a pediatric occupational therapist if you’re looking to:

  • Reduce developmental delays
  • Resolve behavioral difficulties
  • Create a self-care routine
  • Improve your child’s academic and cognitive skills
  • Improve your child’s fine motor and handwriting skills
  • Enhance your child’s play and social skills
  • Manage a sensory processing disorder

When You Should See A Speech Therapist For Children

You should see a speech therapist for children if you’re looking to:

  • Improve speech fluency
  • Improve literacy and vocabulary
  • Reach speech and language developmental milestones
  • Improve feeding and oral motor skills
  • Enhance your child’s articulation and intelligibility

When You Should See A Pediatric Physical Therapist

You should see a pediatric physical therapist if you’re looking to:

  • Improve gross motor skills
  • Enhance posture, balance, and coordination
  • Reduce your child’s torticollis
  • Experience myofascial release
  • Teach safety awareness when moving around play equipment and peers

Book Your Appointment With Triumph Therapeutics Today

Triumph Therapeutic have assembled a team of highly experienced pediatric therapists specializing in physical therapy, speech language therapy, and occupation therapy for children, and adolescents.

If you’re unsure which type of therapist is the right match for your child, book an appointment today with Triumph Therapeutics today to get started and schedule an evaluation.

If you’re ready to take the next step, reach out today for a free phone consultation.

Triumph Therapeutics
4900 Massachusetts Ave NW suite 340,
Washington, DC 20016

(202) 621-9793
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Triumph Therapeutics is a team of highly experienced pediatric therapists specializing in physical therapy, speech language therapy, and occupation therapy for children, adolescents and their families as they work to reach their growth and wellness goals