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Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Book Appointment

Who are Occupational Therapists?

Occupational therapists are licensed healthcare professionals who facilitate people's occupations. The term occupational therapist can be confusing as we often equate "occupation" with "job". For an occupational therapist, occupation is defined simply as “whatever occupies your time” - the things that you want or need to do in your daily life. 

Babies and Children:

Occupational therapists work with babies and children and their families from infancy onward. For babies and children, occupations include:

  • Growing
  • Learning
  • Playing
  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Learning to move their bodies
  • Learning to communicate
  • And more

The unique expertise of occupational therapists is to analyse what people do and what they want or need to do, and help them to do it. They work collaboratively with families to co-create approaches for each family’s unique situation, being mindful of people’s rights, needs, preferences, values, abilities, and environments, to support their goals toward health and well-being.


Parenting is certainly an important occupation. Welcoming a child into the family is incredible, but it can certainly come with its own unique challenges. All babies and children are different. As parents gradually learn about their child, there are always many questions and often worries. Occupational Therapists can assist with the transition to parenthood, including helping parents find systems and routines to help with the changes in your daily life. They can also assist parents in exploring and supporting their child's growth and development in many areas (play, motor skills, feeding, regulation, sensory processing, participating in daily routines - hygiene, sleep, toilet learning, dressing, etc.). 

Occupational Therapy takes a holistic approach to supporting the whole family. Occupational therapy can also work with other professionals to support the individual needs of the child and family. 

What you can expect from a session:

You can choose either in-person or virtual appointments. For the initial visit, your occupational therapist will ask a variety of questions to get to know you and your family better and explore what your priorities are. If appropriate and needed, observation and one-to-one direct interaction with your child in play or completing other activities may be a part of the session to assess and address any concerns regarding your child's motor development, feeding skills, play skills, and other physical and neurological development. A home visit may be helpful when there are questions or challenges with feeding or setting up the environment to facilitate motor skills or support sensory needs.

Depending on the nature of priorities/concerns, follow up sessions may be best suited for a virtual (video or telephone) discussion with the occupational therapist and parent to explore how previous strategies are progressing and what might be most helpful next, using a coaching approach. 

Some extended health insurance plans cover Occupational Therapy. If Occupational Therapy is not covered by your extended health insurance, or you do not have insurance, you may be able to claim Occupational Therapy services on your annual taxes. 

Meet Our

Occupational Therapist

Melissa Belcher, OT
Melissa is an occupational therapy practitioner who has spent her career working in pediatrics. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Kinesiology (2002) and a Masters of Occupational Therapy (2004). She is registered with the COTO (College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario). She has been practicing in Ottawa with the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (now part of CHEO) Kanata location since 2006. Melissa has extensive experience working with children and families, from infancy through preschool age, with a variety of physical, developmental, and neurodevelopmental needs that impact how they participate in their daily lives. Areas of focus include feeding, sensory processing, regulation, participation in daily routines, motor skill development, and play. Melissa communicates from a place of empathy, connection, and understanding to help families build strong foundations from which they can grow and thrive. She believes that a collaborative team approach is essential to providing the best support to children and their families. She views families as experts on their children and needs and her role as a guide in co-creating strategies that will help families progress toward their goals and allow their children to participate as optimally as possible in the things they want or need to do each day. She is passionate about using a strength-based lens and solution- focused communication approaches in her work. When not working, Melissa can be found at home curled up with a cozy blanket and hot coffee with her husband and three children.