Occupational Therapy

A hands‐on, client‐centered approach that seeks to improve gross, fine, and visual motor function, social-emotional skills, and cognitive skills in children.

Skills for every day, at school, and in life.

Our occupational therapists utilize a neurodevelopmental treatment (NDT) method. NDT is a hands‐on, client‐centered approach that seeks to improve gross and fine motor function in children and adults with neurological problems (such as cerebral palsy), and thereby improve their independence in a variety of contexts. The framework is used to analyze and treat posture and movement impairments based on the typical development of kinesiology and biomechanics.

childrens occupational therapist central oregon

Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills refer to the use of the small muscles in the hands. These include skills to use and move items in our hands and our mouths, including holding a pencil/crayon/marker/ picking up food with our fingers, using our hands to button, zip, or snap, and even foundational skills to chew. These skills are needed for self-care and participation in activities at school and at home. Fine motor activities also often require or are closely related to developed visual motor integration and bilateral coordination. Many children referred to occupational therapy for help with fine motor skills are having difficulty manipulating toys, keeping up with handwriting, or fastening clothing (tying shoes, buttoning etc.).

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills use the larger muscles of the body to perform daily functions. These everyday functions include sitting upright, standing, walking, and running, lifting our arms over our head, reaching and throwing. Gross motor activities require/include bilateral coordination, endurance, and balance. Individuals referred to occupational therapy for help with gross motor skills are most likely having difficulty keeping up with peers on the playground, learning how to roll, sit, walk or run, throwing or catching, or moving in order to do things like feeding themselves or to get dressed.

Social Emotional Skills

Social emotional skills are the skills we use every day to interact and communicate with others. They include verbal and non-verbal communication, such as speech, gesture, facial expression, and body language. Social skills include both the skills needed to understand others and their actions but to also understand yourself and your own actions. Children referred to occupational therapy for assistance in this area are often having difficulty managing behavior at home, in the community, or in the classroom. Some kiddos have difficulty making or keeping friends or managing their anger.

Visual Motor Skills

Visual motor skills, otherwise known as visual motor integration is the ability to interpret visual information and respond with a motor action. For example, you see a baseball and you respond by moving your hands to catch the baseball. Research indicates that visual motor skills are related to academic performance and eye-hand coordination skills. Children referred to occupational therapy for intervention related to visual motor skills will often have difficulty with handwriting, learning how to throw or catch, organize their rooms, or keeping up with academic work including reading and math.

Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. Working together, they take incoming information and move it into the bank of knowledge you use every day at school, at work, and in life.


Feeding and eating require all areas of the above skills. Lani’s approach combines the use of the SOS feeding framework and NDT motor framework as the foundation from which she practices feeding therapy. These frameworks are grounded in foundational and “typical” developmental steps, stages, and skills needed for feeding that is found in typically developing children. NDT’s framework is more heavily used when guiding practice with children with neuromotor delays/diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, down syndrome, agenesis of the corpus callosum, etc. SOS Approach focuses on increasing a child’s comfort level by exploring and learning about the different properties of food. The program allows a child to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way, beginning simply with the ability to tolerate the food in the room.

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(541) 604-8255

Fax (541) 706-9440

20310 Empire Ave, Suite A103, Bend, OR 97703