Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Pediatric occupational therapy deals with the unique daily living challenges of children with disabilities. Rusk’s pediatric occupational therapists view children, their environment, and their interaction with the world in a holistic manner. Our occupational therapy team has a strong understanding of a wide variety of orthopedic and neurological conditions and how they affect the child’s everyday skills, including performing activities of daily living, fine motor skills, visual motor integration, cognition and communication, and sensory integration.

Since children learn through play, therapeutic activities are chosen specifically for individual children in order to help them meet their goals and ultimately improve their quality of life. Our occupational therapists assist children in adapting to their environment by developing strategies and techniques to help them successfully perform different tasks. As part of this effort, they will often recommend assistive equipment that can help the child in developing independence.

Please note the Rusk Outpatient Pediatric Therapy Department has relocated to the Hospital for Joint Diseases (HJD). Please check out our new website at

To make an appointment, or for additional information about pediatric OT at Rusk,  please call our scheduling department at (212) 598-6248.

For general information on Occupational Therapy, please visit the Occupational Therapy Department page.

Rusk’s Pediatric Occupational Therapy Programs

Rusk's pediatric occupational therapy division has developed a variety of specialized programs to aid children’s progress in specific areas. Treatment programs focus on activities of daily life, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding, as well as leisure activities, communication, learned movement skills, visual and cognitive perception, and educational performance. These programs are available to both our inpatient and outpatient populations, depending on the individual needs of the child.

Interactive Metronome. The Interactive Metronome (IM) is a computer-based technology that enables children to directly exercise and improve their motor planning and sequencing by creating an opportunity to directly exercise their rhythmic capabilities and sequencing of motor patterns and actions. Problems with these processes play a role in a variety of different developmental and learning challenges.

Vision Program. This specialized program provides vision rehabilitation to children with specific visual and perceptual deficits. Our therapists work collaboratively with ophthalmologists and neuro-developmental optometrists to help each child reach the highest possible level of independence in activities of daily living as well as school and classroom tasks . The program uses a variety of specialized equipment such as Fixator, Dynavision and various computer programs to work on eye-hand coordination, visual scanning, functional reading skills, oculomotor skills, and compensation for visual field loss. Children with both newly-acquired and developmental deficits are candidates for referral.

The Listening Program. The Listening Program (TLP) is a music-based auditory stimulation that gently trains the auditory system to accurately process sound. When auditory perception is distorted, auditory processing problems can lead to academic, emotional, cognitive and social challenges. TLP is designed to improve perception by stimulating or “exercising” the different functions of the auditory processing system.

Mommy-Daddy and Me. This unique program combines the fun of a play group with the benefits of parent education, all within the context of a supportive group environment. It is designed to address the needs of at-risk and developmentally delayed children from birth to age 36 months.

Sensory Integration. Sensory Integration (SI) refers to the organized interplay among the various senses, enabling people to respond to incoming sensation in an adaptive manner. SI normally develops in the course of ordinary childhood activities. In some children, however, it doesn’t develop as efficiently as it should. As a result, they require assistance to guide the way that they act on the environment. SI treatment aims to improve sensory integration by working with the tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive systems—the basic senses of early development—in addition to the vision and auditory systems.

Meal Time Fun. This is a unique program that provides an opportunity for children to work on developmentally appropriate feeding goals in a supportive environment. Geared to children between ages 3 to 5 years old who are “picky eaters” and have a limited repertoire of food choices, it works by using both oral sensory and oral motor approaches in conjunction with a behavioral plan designed to produce optimal results. Parent education is a major component of the program, and parental participation is essential for its success.

Pencil Pals. Pencil Pals is a unique handwriting program for children who have difficulty with the process of writing. It provides an opportunity to explore strategies and practice handwriting through a variety of stress-free interactive sensory and motor activities such as music, nature, movement, and eye-hand exercises. It is geared towards school children in grades K through 2.

Wheelchair Seating and Mobility. Pediatric occupational therapy provides inpatients with wheelchairs during their hospital stay at Rusk. These wheelchairs are adapted as much as possible to accommodate each child’s needs. If the child will require a wheelchair and/or other equipment after being discharged, he or she will be given an appointment for the wheelchair seating and mobility clinic for assessment and equipment recommendations.

Electrical Stimulation/Bioness. Neuromuscular re-education/functional electrical stimulation (NMES/FES) is a type of electrical stimulation that facilitates functional movement. One such device is Bioness, an advanced therapeutic system that uses mild electrical stimulation to improve the way a patient’s arm works by reinforcing and strengthening patterns of movement through the use of electrical impulses. The device’s electrodes attach to the person’s forearm and wrist and connect to the control unit, which then delivers mild stimulation that helps your hand move. Bioness is for people who have problems using their am or hand because of medical conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, upper spinal cord injury, and upper motor neuron injuries.

Hand Tutor. The Hand Tutor is a system designed to evaluate and rehabilitate sensory and motor impairments by utilizing the patient’s own cognitive abilities. It is composed of an ergonomic glove and support software. Patients actively uses their hand to implement the system’s software programs and also receive instant feedback of their movements. This system is indicated but not limited to the following conditions: traumatic brain injury, neurological conditions, movement disorders, and orthopedic conditions.

The EyeToy®. The EyeToy USB camera, the first device of its kind, enables you to use your body movements to control video game actions, maps your face onto in-game characters, and more. It was created to allow people to physically interact with video games using their bodies. The use of this technology with children who have physical disabilities and coordination difficulties allows them to become active participants in their rehabilitation while also having fun.

Camp High-Five. This intensive two-week summer program is geared toward children who have weakness in one arm and/or hand from various neurological and orthopedic causes. The program is based on the constraint–induced principles of recovery. We provide a warm and fun-loving, camp-like environment while at the same time working on increasing children’s independence in activities of daily living, enhancing their self-esteem, and developing their social skills.