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Love Working With Kids? 3 Pediatric OTA Careers to Look Into

When seeking a profession in the occupational therapy realm, you want to work with a population you feel passionate about. The OTA career path is one that interacts with many types of people over time and discovering the population you connect best with is critical. Once you’ve pinpointed who you wish to help, you can find the best possible OTA career for you.

Many students who pursue an OTA degree do it because they love working with others–specifically children. Pursuing a career as a pediatric OTA is perfect for those who have a passion for helping others as well as supporting children and families. The occupational therapy assistant program at Villa provides all the knowledge necessary to walk into a school, childcare, or home as an OTA.

What is a pediatric occupational therapist assistant?

A pediatric OTA works closely with children and families to provide individually designed developmental activities. These exercises help children learn new hands-on skills to improve their daily functioning and movements. Many children see the exercises pediatric OTAs perform as enjoyable, interactive games! However, every exercise has a goal behind it–whether it be to improve flexibility, daily living skills, patterns, or movements, as well as others. Pediatric OTAs work closely with senior occupational therapists to create dynamic therapy plans. These plans discuss the goals each child has and the activities that support those goals.

Pediatric occupational therapy assistant jobs

Below are a few popular pediatric occupational therapy assistant jobs graduates should check out as they enter the workforce! The following are careers those with a passion for working with children might enjoy once stepping off that stage with a diploma in hand.

1. Preschool or K-12 support

Many young children need early intervention. Sometimes little ones struggle with their physical development or are delayed when it comes to fine or gross motor skills. This is when a pediatric OTA can provide in-school support to help children improve their movements and skills.

For younger students–often those in preschool–a pediatric OTA can work on improving many activities that impact daily life. Some of these involve help with routine structure, social skills, fine motor movements, and other activities of daily living playing a significant role in a school setting. As students age, OTAs can help students properly hold and use scissors as well as write with the appropriate pencil grip.

2. Childcare support

Similar to a school setting, pediatric OTAs can work with children in their childcare setting to help them improve certain skills. Pediatric OTAs also can work in the family home if there is a need, but it may be beneficial to the child for therapy to happen in a social setting. That way, the OTA and senior OT can observe the child’s interactions and create the best possible plan for their care.

Children in a childcare setting often work with OTAs and OTs on activities of daily living. They help children practice buttoning, zipping, opening, and other motions that help with daily activities. Another very important activity OTAs may help childcare-aged children with is holding a spoon or fork and feeding themselves. Potty training support also may come into play for OTAs in this kind of setting, as well as help with hand-washing and changing clothes.

3. In-home postpartum support

Lactation consultants play a beneficial role in the lives of new mothers hoping to nurse their newborns. OTAs can also be an important asset to new mothers as they enter the postpartum period. Utilizing a combination of OTA and lactation consultant services can provide extremely beneficial postpartum care for a new mom.

The main role of a pediatric occupational therapist assistant is to maintain the comfort, well-being, and physical abilities of their patients. New mothers often have difficulty moving around their home after delivery–especially if a cesarean section was involved. A pediatric occupational therapy assistant can provide new moms with home modifications and adjustments so they can move around more easily. Another way a pediatric OTA can help is to educate moms on ergonomic babywearing to support their backs and improve their posture. If the pediatric occupational therapist assistant is knowledgeable in postpartum care, the OTA may be able to advise the mother on how to improve her pelvic floor muscles after birth as well.