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Occupational Therapy

We assess and treat children with special needs from infancy through adolescence.


The occupational therapist will begin by assessing your child. The therapist will use standardized tests, purposeful play and other planned activities to examine your child's practical ability to do the tasks that enable him or her to learn like other children of the same age. For example:

  • A baby needs to explore the world by moving his limbs and using his senses to touch, see, hear, taste and smell.

  • A toddler needs to practice skills, such as eye-hand co-ordination, control of muscles, and attention that she will use in a variety of learning situations.

  • A school-age child must be able to participate in as many activities as possible, both in and out of the classroom.

If for any reason children are unable to do these things, growth and development will lag.


Once the assessment is complete, the therapist will offer treatment services or suggestions for assisting your child, such as:

  • teaching you activities to encourage your child's development and independence

  • identifying equipment such as wheelchairs, special seating, writing tools, or standing tables that make tasks easier

  • recommending purchasing and customizing equipment to your child's specific requirements

  • making splints to help overcome various orthopedic and neurological problems

  • offering your child an opportunity to participate in groups designed to encourage appropriate social interaction and self expression

  • contacting professionals, treatment centres, schools and agencies in your community that can provide ongoing care after the hospital

  • advising you and others who will be working with your child, such as teachers, about appropriate activities and expectations



  • Assessment and treatment of children with feeding difficulties, and/or swallowing difficulties.
  • Design, fabrication, and application of custom made splints for inpatients or outpatients (also operating room splints)
  • Developmental assessments and recommendations for treatment.
  • Assessment for and provision of specialized aids, adaptations and equipment such as: wheelchairs, seats, bathroom aids and feeding equipment.
  • Group and individualized programs to assist in the development of psychosocial skills.
  • Referral to and liaison with community service providers around the province.
  • Education of children, families, other healthcare professionals, and community resources.

Where we work

Oncology, Hematology & Bone Marrow Transplant

  • 3B/2B Inpatient Unit and Outpatients

Pediatric Medicine

  • Clinical Teaching Units 3F/3M including cardiology inpatients
  • Complex Feeding & Nutrition Clinic
  • Biochemical Diseases Clinic
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa Clinic
  • Medical Day Unit
  • Vascular Anomalies Clinic

Neurosciences & Surgery

  • 3R Inpatient Unit - Neuro-oncology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, General Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Burns and Plastic Surgery, O.R. splinting
  • Complex Upper Limb Clinic
  • Orthopaedic Clinics including:
  • Complex CP
  • Ilizarov Clinc
  • Club Foot Clinic
  • Limb Deficiency Clinic
  • Complex CP Clinic
  • Plastics Clinic
  • Brachial Plexus Clinic
  • Spinal Cord Clinic (Meningomyelocele)
  • Neuromuscular Clinic
  • Rhizotomy Clinic
  • Plagiocephaly Clinic

Pediatric Acute & Critical Care

  • ICU & Home Tracheostomy & Ventilation Clinic

Feeding & Swallowing Clinic


Mental Health

  • Adolescent Psychiatry Inpatient Unit
  • ADHD Clinic
  • Neuropsychiatry Outpatient Clinic
  • Infant Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic
  • Child Psychiatry Inpatient Unit
  • Eating Disorders Inpatient/Day Treatment

Women’s Hospital

  • Newborn Care Program
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Neonatal Follow-up Clinic
  • Complex Chronic Diseases Program 

BCCH Occupational Therapy Brochure 

What we do

Our occupational therapists provide services to all of the inpatient units and many ambulatory clinics. 

Occupational therapists use formal testing, purposeful play and other planned activities to assess children’s ability to do the tasks which enables them to learn like other children of the same age.
The goal of treatment is to find ways for these children to be as independent as possible with daily living skills and self care, and to accomplish the physical, social and learning tasks needed at each stage of development.  In this way children's feelings of self esteem can grow as they successfully meet the challenges of everyday life.
The occupational therapist is a resource to parents, teachers and others working with these children.

Doctors refer children from birth to adolescence to this service as either inpatients or outpatients.

Our training

Occupational therapists receive their special training as part of a university degree program. The occupational therapists at Children's are members of the health care team. The team approach allows professionals with expertise in a variety of areas to work together so that each child receives all the specialized care he or she needs.
The College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) is the regulatory body established by the provincial government to protect the public by regulating the practice of occupational therapy.

How we help children

The occupational therapists assist children with developmental delays or physical disabilities:

  • be as independent as possible with the activities of their daily lives 
  • accomplish the physical social and learning tasks required of them at each stage of their development

Our mission

‎To maximize the occupational performance of children through a family-centred approach, community partnerships and evidence-based practice. 


  • Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists – You can access “OT Finder” through the consumer information on the site.

  • The Canadian Occupational Therapy Resource site offers Quick Tips. Tips for children about the skills for living include topics such as: Gift ideas for children with disabilities, Pre-writing skills for children under five, Backpacks: Beasts of Burden, School Agendas: Enabling Children to Manage their Time, All Children Love to Play, Strategies for Children with Learning Disabilities. 

  • At you can find out information by going to Ask an OT. For example, Ask An OT about Brain Injury. 

  • Other links to occupational therapy information include the College of Occupational Therapists of BC website.

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