Common Spanish Phrases for the Pediatric Occupational Therapist

As a bilingual therapist, I work everyday with a child who is Spanish speaking or bilingual. There are many opinions on how to do therapy with a bilingual child. Some say to do therapy in Spanish only, as this child will learn English in their environment since they live in an English speaking country. Others believe in a bilingual approach, where you speak to a child in one language and then immediately after in the other language. And then there are some that believe in speaking in the child’s dominant language only. As a bilingual occupational therapist I feel, just like my kids, a hybrid/individualized approach is the best way to go. Whatever your opinion, it is useful to have a toolbox of phrases when and if you work with a child that is exposed to Spanish.

Below you will find a list of translated phrases. They are organized by specific parts  of the therapy interaction. Hope they help you connect with your child or expand your Spanish vocabulary.

English – Spanish

Speaking/Working with Parents:

“Today we worked on…” –  Hoy trabajamos en

Fine motor Skills- Las habilidades de motoras finas

Gross Motor Skills: Las habilidades motoras gruesas

Bilateral Coordination- Coordinación bilateral

Motor Coordination- Coordinación motriz

Attention- Atención

Following Directions- Siguiendo instrucciones

“At home you can work on…” – En la casa puedes trabajar en

Practicing numbers- practicando números

Letters- letras

Following 2(substitute for different numbers) step directions- siguiendo las instrucciones de dos(number) pasos


Working with the Child:

What zone/color is your body in?- ¿En qué zona / color está tu cuerpo?

Does your engine feel fast? or slow? – ¿ Tu motor se siente rápido? ¿o lento?

What can we do to make your engine just right speed?-  ¿Qué podemos hacer para que tu motor tenga la velocidad correcto?

Slow down- Despacio

Be careful- Cuidado

Calm down- Cálmese

You can ask me for help- ¿Me puede pedir ayuda?

What do you need (referencing if they need help)?- ¿Que necesitas?

I would be happy to help- Me gustaría ayudar

Do you need to take a break- ¿Necesitas un descanso?

I feel sad- Me siento triste

That makes me feel sad- Eso me hace sentir triste

Friends feel sad when…- Los amigos se sienten tristes cuando

I feel happy- Me siento feliz

Your face looks happy- Tu cara se ve feliz

My turn- Mi turno

Your turn- Tu turno

Wait- Espera


Gross Motor Movement Tasks:

Over- Arriba

Under- Abajo

Jump- Salta/Brinca

Rabbit jumps- Saltos de conejo

Frog jumps- Saltos de rana

Reach across- Alcanzar a través de

Other side- Otro lado

Left- Izquierda

Right- Derecho



Scissor Skills:

Cut- Corte

Thumbs up- Dedo gordo hacia arriba

Use both hands- Utilizar las dos manos

Move the paper not your arm- Mueve el papel, no tu brazo

On the line- En la línea

Turn- Vuelta

Where does your thumb go?- ¿A dónde va tu dedo gordo?


Writing/Coloring/VMI Tasks:

Shapes- Figuras

Circle- Circulo

Line- Línea

Square- Cuadrado

Triangle- Triángulo

Rectangle- Rectángulo

Oval- Óvalo


Draw this- Dibuja esto

Write this- Escribe esto

Capital letters- Letras mayúsculas

Lowercase letters- Letras minusculas

Top line- Línea de arriba

Middle line- Línea del medio

Bottom Line- Línea abajo


**If you have any other words or phrases you would like added to this list, comment and I will add them :)***

  One thought on “Common Spanish Phrases for the Pediatric Occupational Therapist

  1. December 17, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Thanks so much! This is awesome and very helpful!


    • adcadena07
      December 18, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      Of course! Good luck utilizing them in therapy 🙂


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