Services for Children

Occupational Therapy in the Early Intervention and Preschool Setting Empowering and enabling parents and their children to obtain a stronger future!

What is Your Occupation?
Occupation is anything that engages one’s time. It’s everything we do - the skills of daily living!

What is Occupational Therapy?
The role of an Occupational Therapist or a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant with children is to facilitate intervention to those who have deficits in their daily living skills due to congenial or developmental delays, illness or injury.

Do children have an occupation?
Absolutely! In the first year of life, a child may go from lifting their head, to reaching, grasping, rolling, sitting, crawling and maybe even walking. Over the next few months, the child may be jumping, running, completing puzzles, building towers with blocks and cutting with scissors. They gain these skills primarily through play and exploration. So, playing is a child’s primary occupation!

How can Occupational Therapy benefit children?
The development of these skills is an amazing sequential process. It is important that a child achieves one developmental milestone before he or she moves onto the next, just as it is necessary for us to learn the alphabet before we can spell.

Occupational Therapy provides intervention through purposeful play and a variety of activities to improve strength, tone and balance for greater success with their fine motor and visual motor tasks.

How will I know if my child would benefit from Occupational Therapy Services?
Any questions or concerns regarding possible delays in any area of your child’s development should first be discussed with your child’s physician. A referral can be made to the Chautauqua County Department of Health for Early Intervention Services. Early intervention is the key!

What is Early Intervention?
The New York State Early Intervention Program is a state-wide program to help families meet the special needs of infants and toddlers with developmental delays. Infants and toddlers birth to age three who experience delays in any area of development are eligible for services (CCDH, 2009.)

What if my child is over three?
Call or visit the School District where you live. The Committee on Preschool special Education (CPSE) Chairperson will guide you through the process. Only children ages 2-1/2 to 5 years old can be served by this program (CCDH, 2007.)

What are some developmental milestones I should be looking for?
On the back of this brochure are some general guidelines on some gross, fine and visual motor skills that you might expect from your child in the first two years of life.

Gross and Fine Motor Skills


  • 0-2 months: Rolls to back from both right and left sides, lifts and turns head so opposite cheek touches surface, looks at hands, grasps rattle, holds rattle for 30 seconds.
  • 3-5 months: Grabs feet with hands while lying on back, elevates head and can bear weight on forearms, extends straight arms toward rattle while lying on back, mutual touching of fingers, picks up rattle, grasps and holds cube blocks.
  • 6-8 months: Rolls from back to stomach, sits unsupported, picks up and retains two cubes, transfers objects from hand to hand, reaches for object with one hand while on back.
  • 9-11 months: Raises and bears weight on hands and knees, brings two objects together at midline, raises to standing position with support of a stable surface, claps hands, releases object in adult’s hand, removes socks.
  • 12-14 months: Walks for 5 steps, maintains balance while in kneeling position and moving head, opens a book, correctly places 1 shape into hole from board, places small pellet in bottle, picks up and retains two small blocks with one hand.
  • 15-18 months: Quickly walks 10 feet, kicks ball, maintains balance while throwing small ball with one hand, stacks 2-3 cubes, places 2 shapes into correct holes in form board.
  • 19-24 months: Runs 10 feet, turns pages in a book one at a time, places 3 shapes into correct holes in form board, stacks 4-6 cubes, draws a vertical line (Folio & Fewell, 2002.)
Development of Self Feeding

Always check with your doctor before introducing new foods.

  • 5-7 months: Takes cereal or pureed baby food from spoon.
  • 6-8 months: Attempts to hold bottle but may not retrieve it if it falls, needs to be monitored for safety reasons.
  • 6-9 months: Holds and tries to eat cracker but sucks on it more than bites it, consumes soft foods that dissolve in the mouth, grabs at spoon but bangs it or sucks on either end of it.
  • 9-13 months: Finger feeds self a portion of meals consisting of soft table foods (for example; macaroni, peas, dry cereal, etc.) and objects if fed by an adult.
  • 12-14 months: Dips spoon in food and brings to mouth but spills food by inverting spoon before it goes into mouth.
  • 15-18 months: Scoops food with spoon and brings it to mouth.
  • 24-30 months: Demonstrates interest in using fork, may stab at food such as pieces of canned fruit, proficient at spoon use and eats cereal with mild or rice gravy with utensil (Case-Smith, 2002, p. 460.)

Contact Chautauqua Physical & Occupational Therapy for more information on reference materials used.