Occupational Therapy for Children

For children, growing up is about learning and mastering new skills. One way they do this is through play.

Occupational therapists use play, as well as other techniques and therapies, to help children with physical, sensory, or cognitive challenges improve their fine-motor skills, visual perception, cognitive skills, and sensory processing. This can include helping a child learn how to hold a pencil, hit a baseball, get dressed, and improve attention and focus.

Pediatric occupational therapy at Rusk Rehabilitation is part of the services offered through Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Programs

A physician referral is required for most of our programs. To make an appointment or for additional information about any of our pediatric services, please call our scheduling department at 212-598-6248.

Aquatic Therapy

In our Aquatic Therapy Program, our occupational therapists and physical therapists work to improve upper body mobility in children who have muscle tightness and tone management challenges that make it harder to move a body part. The natural properties of water, including buoyancy, combined with the heated water temperature, allow your child to move in ways he or she may not be able to on land. Individual therapy sessions are held twice weekly for 10 weeks.

ArmeoSpring Pediatric Therapy

Children whose arm movements are affected by orthopedic or neurological conditions can benefit from Armeo®Spring Pediatric. This training tool uses video game technology and visual feedback to encourage children to perform repeated movements that can improve motion and control in the affected arm.

Assistive Technology

Our speech–language pathologists and occupational therapists teach children who have difficulty communicating how to use assistive technology, such as computers and eye-gaze systems. These systems can help children who have challenges related to speaking, writing, reading, or participating in typical play. We evaluate each child to determine which technology is best suited to his or her needs.

Camp High-Five

Camp High-Five is an intensive 4-week summer program for children ages 3 and older who have weakness in one arm or hand, often as a result of a stroke, cerebral palsy, or surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Therapy is based on the idea that limiting the use of the limb that works well encourages the brain to create the neural pathways needed to stimulate function in the affected arm or hand. This is accomplished by placing a removeable cast on the arm that moves well, thus encouraging your child to use the weaker limb.

During the daily, three-hour sessions, our staff work with your child to help improve muscle strength with activities such as adapted sports, water play, arts and crafts, horticultural therapy, and meal preparation. Your child’s skills are evaluated before and after each session to measure improvement.

Concussion Program

Pediatric occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech–language pathologists from Rusk Rehabilitation work with NYU Langone’s Concussion Center team to assist children who have experienced a concussion, as well as their families, throughout the treatment process.

Seating and Mobility Clinic

At our seating and mobility clinic, we match your child with the wheelchair or other seating or positioning device that is best suited to his or her needs.

Sensational Movement

From the time they’re born, children use sensory information—what they see, hear, touch, taste, and smell—to learn about the world around them. Some children have trouble processing and organizing this information, which can affect their ability to react appropriately to their experiences.

At Rusk Rehabilitation’s sensory gym, therapists use Ayres Sensory Integration® therapy to help children better navigate their environment, learn self-help skills, and better understand and control their emotions. These benefits help make social interactions easier and improve participation in school, home, and community activities.

This is an intensive program held 3 times per week, 45 minutes per session, for 30 sessions.

Social Skills Group

Our social skills group helps children with autism spectrum disorder socialize and play with their peers. A speech therapist and an occupational therapist are on hand to ensure each child has a successful experience. We also give ideas for activities you can do at home, as well as other strategies for families.

Vision Program

Children with developmental deficits, as well as those who have newly acquired vision problems that may be the result of a concussion or other neurological condition, can benefit from our vision program. Our occupational therapists work with ophthalmologists and neurodevelopmental optometrists to help your child improve eye–hand coordination, reading, and other skills needed in the classroom and daily life. We use a variety of activities and equipment, including Bioness® Therapy Integrated System (BITS®) to improve visual performance.