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Occupational Therapy

Offered in Durham and Windsor-Essex

At SPARK, Occupational Therapy focuses on helping children with developmental delays or other challenges gain skills in various areas of their lives. This may include those skills required for school, play, leisure, and self care.

SPARK offers Occupational Therapy assessment and, if appropriate, treatment to address your child's specific needs.

What is Occupational Therapy?

What is an Occupational Therapist?

About SPARK's Occupational Therapists

How to Access Occupational Therapy with SPARK

What is OT

What is Occupational Therapy?

  • An evidence-based regulated health profession that involves the assessment of adaptive behaviours and the treatment of issues which affect these adaptive behaviours.

  • The goals of Occupational Therapy are to contribute to the development and/or rehabilitation of adaptive behaviours in the occupations of people’s lives, which allow them to begin, resume, or maintain participation in various tasks.

  • "Occupations" refers to the areas of self-care, productivity, and leisure that are important in the daily routines of one’s life

    • Occupational Therapy can help people develop functional skills or adapt their environments to work more effectively at home, school, work, recreation, or in the community.


Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

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What is an OT?

What is an Occupational Therapist (OT) ?

  • OTs are health care professionals who help people to resume or maintain participation in a variety of tasks.

  • OTs assess and treat clients, and provide consultation with clients, caregivers, and other involved professionals, in order to meet the unique needs of each individual.

  • 'Occupational Therapist’ is a protected title and only professionals who are registered with the appropriate regulatory body may use the title specific for that profession.

    • In Ontario, OTs are registered with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO).

    • In order to qualify for entrance into the profession and ongoing service delivery within the profession, each Occupational Therapist must meet the College’s requirements.

    • COTO helps to ensure that, when receiving the services of an Occupational Therapist, you can expect to receive high-quality, safe, and ethical care from a qualified professional.


Occupational Therapists help people to thrive in various activities and different environments of their lives by:

  • Developing, maintaining, or regaining new skills, ways of doing things, and physical functioning

  • Focusing on how skills and functioning impact clients’ abilities to do the things that are important to them

  • Developing accommodations, such as materials, equipment, or strategies, based on clients needs

Indoor Climbing Wall

About SPARK's Occupational Therapists

SPARK Occupational Therapists have Masters Degrees in Occupational Therapy and are licensed to practice in the province of Ontario. SPARK's OTs are members in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) and the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT). To get connected with a SPARK Occupational Therapist, contact us!

At SPARK, our Occupational Therapists are passionate about working with the pediatric population (ages 0 to 18), and are skilled and experienced in the following areas:

Gross and Fine Motor Skills

  • Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

  • Pencil Grasp

  • Written output: Printing/Cursive/Keyboarding (typing)

  • Scissor skills

  • Social skills

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Balance and Coordination

  • Developmental delay/Global developmental delay (GDD)

  • A motor skill is an action that involves a child using their muscles. They are skills that enable the movements and tasks a child does on a daily basis.

  • Gross motor skills involve the use of large muscles in the body, such as the arms, legs, and other large body parts. 

  • Fine motor skills involve a child’s ability to control the small muscles of the hands and fingers.

    • Development of these skills allow for a high degree of control and precision over small actions. Many everyday activities (e.g. doing up buttons, using utensils, printing, picking up a toy block, etc.) require a child to use their fine motor skills.

  • Generally, children develop certain motor skills at specific ages; however, not all children will reach these milestones at exactly the same time. 

  • A child that experiences motor difficulties will have trouble moving their body in a controlled, coordinated, and efficient manner.

    • They may have difficulty engaging in playground/gym activities, navigating their environments, or completing everyday tasks such as toileting, dressing, or feeding.

Some examples of conditions/activities our Occupational Therapists can help with, include, but are not limited to:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Acquired brain injury (ABI)

  • Cerebral palsy (CP)

  • Hypertonia

  • Down Syndrome (DS)

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Muscular Dystrophy (MD)

  • Neuromuscular disorders

  • Spina bifida

  • Hypotonia 

  • Muscle Weakness

  • Attention/Focus

  • Behaviour

Self-help/Self-care Skills

  • Self-help/self-care skills are often referred to as activities of daily living (ADLs). They involve the skills needed to participate in life activities such as, dressing, hygiene routines, toileting, and feeding.

    • Generally, younger children are supported by adults to complete these activities; however, children typically develop independence in them as they get older.  

  • Self-care skills require a child to plan and sequence the steps of a task, gather and organize the materials required for the task, as well develop the motor control needed to carry out the steps of the task.


Some examples of activities that our OTs can help with, include, but are not limited to:

  • Bathing/Hand washing

  • Dressing - snaps, buttons, zippers, shoe lace tying 

  • Teeth Brushing

  • Feeding/Drinking - using utensils/cups  

  • School readiness skils

  • Toileting

Sensory Processing

  • Sensory processing allows a child to understand and interpret their environment. It involves the way a child’s nervous system receives, organizes, and responds to sensory input (smell, touch, sight, etc.) in the environment.

  • As children are exposed to different sensory inputs, they learn how to organize and give meaning to that input, which helps them to better understand the world around them. They are able to use the input to inform their actions (such as refining a clumsy movement) and manage many different sensory inputs at one time.

    • Proper registration and accurate interpretation of sensory input allows a child to behave in a meaningful and appropriate manner, which helps them be more in control of their emotions (develop self-regulation).

  • When a child’s nervous system does not properly process sensory input, they cannot organize that input into an appropriate response. A child may have difficulty processing any number of senses; and may be over- or under-responsive to inputs. Often times these children do not handle change well as their world feels unpredictable, which can result in frequent tantrums/meltdowns. 

  • An Occupational Therapist’s goal, when working on sensory integration, is to challenge a child in a fun manner, so the child can learn how to respond more appropriately to sensory input.


Some examples of areas our OTs can help address, include, but are not limited to: 

  • Body awareness

  • Mouthing/Chewing Objects

  • Tolerating different food textures/Picky eater

  • Over (or under) sensitivity to Sights (Lights), Noise (Sound), Smells, Tastes, Touch, Movement

  • Self regulation

Access OT

How to Access Occupational Therapy with SPARK

To discuss how Occupational Therapy may benefit your child, or if you'd like to get set up with services, please contact us today!

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