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As physical, occupational and speech therapists working with children with complex needs (and too often) exhausted families and disconnected teams that don't always see eye-to-eye, we recognised the need for clinical discussions that go beyond what we can gather from textbook and published guidelines.

Embracing The Healing Power of Play and child led therapy: A Conversation with Kelsie Olds, The Occuplaytional Therapist

Podcast header for Kelsie Olds the Occuplaytional Therapist

Kelsie Olds MOT, OTR/L


The Occuplaytional Therapist

Kelsie Olds, "The Occuplaytional Therapist," shares passionately every day online with thousands of parents, teachers, and professionals about the therapeutic power of play as the core meaningful occupation that underlies childhood. Kelsie works as an occupational therapist at an Air Force Base in England, giving them a unique perspective on the United States and United Kingdom systems of healthcare and education that intersect and affect the children they work with daily.

Scroll down to the podcast player to listen or find us on Spotify, iTunes, or Stitcher.

For handy links to things discussed in this interview,  scroll down to the Resources Section at the bottom.


This interview with The OccuPLAYtional Therapist, Kelsie Olds, is an absolute treat. We cover the realities, practicalities, and benefits of child-led therapy, the integration of play in therapeutic practices, push-in vs pull-out services, and balancing the conflicts that arise from staying true to your core values as a therapist with meeting your service requirements in school-based practice... and so much more.

Listen, enjoy, share...

Podcast Highlights

  • 00:4:45 minutes - A uniquely rich learning environment

  • 00:13:32 minutes - Recognising and addressing underlying difficulties

  • 00:22:46 minutes - Finding the best learning opportunities

  • 00:27:44 minutes - Whose my client?

  • 00:31:26 minutes - The magic of a trust and values-based approach

  • 00:37:34 minutes - Navigating School Systems and Advocating for Child-Led Therapy

  • 00:39:13 minutes - Be Informed

  • 00:41:20 minutes - Value the team

  • 00:42:21 minutes - Keeping the child at the center

  • 00:44:38 minutes - Push-in vs Pull-out

  • 00:50:53 minutes -Gaining Respect and Buy-In from Teachers

  • 00:52:58 minutes - Understanding motor skill levels through play vs standardized testing

  • 00:59:32 minutes - Stop asking questions

  • 01:04:27 minutes - Everybody is unique, and we are all the same

  • 01:08:54 minutes - Neurodiverse Conversations and Activism

  • 01:11:06 minutes - Interoception


clickable links to take you right to the information you're looking for

Kelsie Olds

The occuPLAYtional therapist website for pediatric OTs and PTs


Kelsie recommended these websites to reflect lived experience with autism. Click on each logo to go to their website.


The Development of Voluntary Behavior in Preschoolers: Repetition of Z.V. Manuilenko's Experiments by E.F. Ivanova

Essential Books​​ to guide your thinking on child led therapy and approaches


Please note: these book links go through to the Amazon Affiliate Program

Thanks for your support!



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