See our Therapy Programs Here. Join our Therapy Waitlist Here.

Enabling Growth: The Role of Assistive Technology in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

4 December 2023

Occupational therapy for children is a dynamic field dedicated to promoting the development of essential skills for daily life activities. The integration of assistive technology in pediatric occupational therapy has emerged as a transformative force, offering innovative solutions to support children facing various challenges. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the diverse applications, benefits, and the profound impact of assistive technology in occupational therapy for children.

Understanding Assistive Technology in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Assistive technology in pediatric occupational therapy encompasses a wide range of tools and devices designed to enhance the participation and independence of children in daily activities. These technologies are tailored to address specific challenges related to physical, cognitive, sensory, or communication impairments, aiming to promote skill development, inclusion, and overall well-being.

Types of Assistive Technologies in Pediatric Occupational Therapy:

  1. Adaptive Tools for Activities of Daily Living (ADL):
    • Adaptive utensils, modified writing tools, and specialized dressing aids assist children in performing essential daily tasks independently.
  2. Communication Aids:
    • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, speech-generating devices, and communication apps support children with communication disorders in expressing themselves effectively.
  3. Sensory Tools:
    • Sensory-friendly apps, tactile stimulators, and noise-canceling headphones are examples of technologies that help children with sensory processing disorders regulate and manage sensory experiences.
  4. Fine and Gross Motor Aids:
    • Fine motor aids, such as adapted scissors and pencil grips, and gross motor aids, including balance boards and adapted tricycles, promote the development of motor skills.
  5. Computer Access Aids:
    • Adaptive computer software, touchscreens, and specialized keyboards enable children with physical or cognitive challenges to access and engage with technology.
  6. Interactive Educational Apps:
    • Educational apps with interactive features and customizable settings cater to diverse learning styles and provide a multisensory approach to skill development.

Benefits of Assistive Technology in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

  1. Enhanced Independence:
    • Assistive technologies empower children to participate in daily activities independently, fostering a sense of autonomy and self-confidence.
  2. Personalized Learning and Skill Development:
    • The customization features of assistive technologies allow therapists to tailor interventions to each child's unique needs, promoting personalized learning and skill development.
  3. Increased Engagement and Motivation:
    • Interactive and engaging technologies capture children's interest, making therapy sessions more enjoyable and motivating. This heightened engagement contributes to improved participation and progress.
  4. Support for Multiple Modalities:
    • Assistive technologies support various learning and communication modalities, catering to children with diverse abilities and preferences.
  5. Facilitation of Social Inclusion:
    • Communication aids and interactive apps contribute to improved social inclusion by providing children with effective tools to express themselves and engage with peers.
  6. Parent and Caregiver Involvement:
    • Many assistive technologies used in pediatric occupational therapy have features that allow parents and caregivers to be actively involved in their child's therapeutic journey, extending the impact beyond therapy sessions.

Examples of Assistive Technologies in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

  1. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices:
    • Devices like Tobii Dynavox and Proloquo2Go provide children with communication disorders a means to express themselves through symbols, pictures, or text.
  2. Adaptive Writing Tools:
    • Pencil grips, adapted scissors, and ergonomic writing aids assist children with fine motor challenges in developing and improving their handwriting skills.
  3. Sensory Apps and Tools:
    • Apps like Choiceworks and sensory-friendly tools like fidget spinners or weighted blankets support children with sensory processing disorders in managing and regulating sensory experiences.
  4. Adaptive Computer Software:
    • Software such as Co:Writer and Read&Write offers features like word prediction, text-to-speech, and voice recognition to assist children with reading and writing difficulties.
  5. Interactive Educational Apps:
    • Apps like Prodigy and ABCmouse provide interactive educational content tailored to various learning levels, helping children develop academic skills in a fun and engaging manner.
  6. Gross Motor Aids:
    • Adapted tricycles, balance boards, and sensory pathways support the development of gross motor skills, coordination, and balance in children with physical challenges.

Considerations and Challenges

While the integration of assistive technology in pediatric occupational therapy offers numerous benefits, it is crucial to address considerations and challenges to ensure its effective implementation:

  1. Individualized Assessment:
    • A thorough assessment of each child's abilities, challenges, and preferences is essential to tailor the selection and implementation of assistive technologies effectively.
  2. Collaboration with Parents and Caregivers:
    • Involving parents and caregivers in the selection and use of assistive technologies fosters a collaborative approach, ensuring continuity of support beyond therapy sessions.
  3. User Training and Familiarization:
    • Children, parents, and therapists may require training and familiarization with assistive technologies to ensure proper use and maximize their benefits.
  4. Accessibility and Affordability:
    • Ensuring equitable access to assistive technologies is vital. Therapists should explore funding options, insurance coverage, and assistive technology loan programs to improve affordability.
  5. Integration with Traditional Therapy:
    • Assistive technologies should complement traditional occupational therapy approaches. Therapists must balance the use of technology with hands-on, experiential activities to achieve holistic skill development.


The integration of assistive technology in pediatric occupational therapy represents a powerful tool in supporting children facing various challenges in their developmental journey. From communication aids and adaptive tools for daily living to sensory apps and interactive educational technologies, these tools empower children to overcome obstacles, build essential skills, and participate more fully in daily activities. By embracing the potential of assistive technologies thoughtfully and collaboratively, pediatric occupational therapists can create transformative experiences for children, fostering independence, confidence, and a foundation for lifelong success.