Below are some of our more frequently asked questions answered by one of our experienced therapists. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) is a health profession that helps individuals with various disabilities achieve independence in all areas of their lives. It gives people the “skills for the job of living” independent and satisfying lives. Occupational therapy services at EZtherapy include evaluation, assessment, treatment and consultation.
How long will my evaluation take?
The evaluation may take up to two hours.
What is an occupational therapy evaluation?
An occupational therapy evaluation assess’s a child’s gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, visual perceptual, handwriting, daily living and sensory processing skills. The use of standardized assessment tools, non-standardized assessment tools, parental interview and clinical observations will be used to determine the child’s performance.
How does occupational therapy help a child?
The goal of occupational therapy treatment is to use meaningful activities to assist a child in achieving functional skills needed for daily living. Guided by the child’s interests, the therapist provides fun and motivating activities that aim to provide a “just-right challenge” so that the child develop’s the underlying skills needed to effectively complete functional tasks.
When skill and strength cannot be developed or improved, occupational therapy offers creative solutions and alternatives for carrying out daily activities.
Why is my child seeing an Occupational Therapist?
Your pediatrician or health care professional have referred you to a pediatric occupational therapist to evaluate and assist your child’s ability to perform activities of daily living (brushing hair and teeth, getting dressed, eating, etc), play (interacting with other children and toys) and fine motor skills (coloring, cutting and handwriting). Our occupational therapist’s will work closely with you and your family to develop goals and a treatment plan while taking into account your individual concerns and needs.
What can I expect during my visit?
The occupational therapist will first obtain information regarding your child’s medical history and
developmental milestones (rolling, sitting, walking etc) and add this information to the medical record to generate a comprehensive report. You may be asked to answer questions on how your child responds to sensory information.
Next, the therapist will evaluate your child’s motor skills including, mobility in your child’s joints, posture, muscle strength, gross and fine motor skills. The therapist will also review the relationship between your child’s skill level, limitations, (if any,) and functional abilities.
At this point, the therapist will generate the evaluation based on the standardized assessments, clinical observations, clinical questionnaires and your observations and reports.
What is my role during the evaluation?
The therapist will ask you questions regarding your child’s medical history, development and areas of concern. They will let you know if they need any additional help during the evaluation. You may also be asked to fill out some standardized parent questionnaires regarding your child during the evaluation.
When will I get a report?
You should receive a written report within 3 weeks.
Can I bring my other children?
If possible, it is recommended that siblings stay home so that the parent can use their undivided attention during the evaluation.
Understanding that childcare is sometimes difficult, if you bring other siblings, it can be helpful to bring another adult and activities to occupy the siblings during the evaluation.
What is sensory integration therapy?
Sensory Integration Therapy assists the child in participating in his/her daily life activities by introducing them to sensory activities in a systematic way to help him/her cope and deal with the information that he/she receives.
Sensory integration therapy is used for children who have difficulty with processing sensory information. The sensory information that the body must organize and perceive correctly includes vision, auditory, touch, olfaction (smell), taste, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (positional). Often times, children who have autism, vestibular processing disorders, dyspraxia (difficulty with fluid and coordinated body movements), sensory discrimination and perception problems, sensory defensiveness, gravitational insecurity, sensory registration problems or other diagnosis, benefit from Sensory Integration Therapy.
Does occupational therapy work with children that have autism spectrum disorder?
Yes! As long as the child has the ability to be helped we are here to make it happen.
Why is an occupational evaluation beneficial?
An occupational therapy evaluation identifies your child’s patterns of strength and needs that impact their daily performance of functional tasks such as eating, dressing and writing. Recommendations are provided for home, school and community implementation.
What areas are addressed in occupational therapy treatment?
Occupational therapy treatment encompasses several areas of performance. All treatment plans and therapy goals are created and implemented based on the child’s individual needs.
Fine Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement and dexterity of the small muscles in the hands and fingers.
Gross Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement of the large muscles in the arms, legs and trunk.
Visual Motor Skills: Referring to a child’s movement based on the perception of visual information.
Oral Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement of muscles in the mouth, lips, tongue and jaw, including sucking, biting, crunching, chewing and licking.
Self-Care Skills: Pertaining to daily dressing, feeding and toileting tasks.
Sensory Integration: The ability to take in, sort out and respond to the information we receive from the world.
Motor Planning Skills: The ability to plan, implement and sequence motor tasks.
Neuromotor Skills: Pertaining to the underlying building blocks of muscle strength, muscle tonicity, postural mechanisms and reflex integration.
Will there be time to discuss the findings? If therapy is recommended, how long will my child need services?
The occupational therapist will discuss the preliminary evaluation findings with you at the end of the evaluation and will discuss areas for improvement, a plan of care, duration, frequency and suggestions for occupational therapy treatment. You will also receive a written report within three (3) weeks of the evaluation.
What can I do to best prepare for my visit? What do I need to bring?
- A current photo ID (driver’s license)
- Insurance card
- Referral, if needed
- School reports
- Prior evaluations
- Names and addresses/numbers of individuals you might want the report sent to
- Current list of medications
- Any equipment that your child regularly uses such as eyeglasses, braces/splints, etc.
- Many parents also find it helpful to bring a list of questions to ask the therapist
Will insurance pay for my visits?
Medical coverage will vary, however many health insurance plans cover our services. Please contact your insurance company to verify if your plan offers a benefit for occupational therapy services. Additionally, we offer checking insurance coverage if requested.
If therapy is recommended, our Patient Access Service will obtain authorization for treatment. Once the treatment is approved, you will receive a phone call from our scheduling department to schedule an appointment for treatment. There may typically be a wait-list for therapy times which need to be scheduled in the late afternoon, after school.
What is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist?
Occupational therapists work with people of all ages to help them participate in daily life activities or “occupations”. A pediatric occupational therapist focuses on children and their ability to participate in their environments. An occupational therapist works with the child as a whole individual and understands how his/her social-emotional, physical, cognitive, communication and adaptive behavior difficulties make it difficult for them to participate fully in their everyday-life activities. Some skill areas that pediatric occupational therapists work with include play, fine motor, handwriting, self-help, sensory processing, and visual-motor skills.
What are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills are related to the child’s ability to perform tasks with his/her hands. These skills include writing, self-help skills such as manipulating fasteners on clothing, opening containers, using writing and other school-related tools such as scissors, using utensils to eat, tying shoes, etc. Occupational therapists are able to assess a child to determine what skill area is being affected and take action to improve the child’s ability to perform. An occupational therapist works from the bottom up; he/she looks at the environment, sensory processing, muscle functioning, positioning, coordination, and other areas when determining the cause of decreased skill. Once the cause is identified, the therapist works on these underlying areas of need so that they improve the foundational skills, not just a “splinter” skill or a skill that is beneficial at this time and may not be beneficial in the future.
How do I know if my child has a sensory integration disorder?
Efficient organization of sensory information provides the foundation for the development of basic functional skills. If there is a problem with the processing of sensory information, there can be many potential outcomes that might cause a parent concern. A disruption in sensory processing can result in sensory defensiveness (sensory seeking or sensory avoiding behaviors), problems in self-regulation (activity levels too high or too low, not matched for the task at hand), and difficulties with praxis (the ability to conceive, organize and execute skills of all kinds). Disruptions in processing sensory information can interfere with self-care skills, language skills, motor skills, academic skills, and social/emotional skills.
My toddler does not like when his hands are messy. Is this a problem? Should I be worried?
It is common for a young child to respond negatively to various textures in his/her environment. It becomes a concern when these responses begin to interfere with activities that must be performed on a day-to-day basis or if the reaction to these events occurs very often during the day or last for a long time. Sensory events that a child with tactile (touch) sensory defensiveness would react to include hair washing/combing, touching food or messy materials with their hands/feet, clothing on their body, clipping nails, wearing a hat, wearing shoes/sandals, etc. If these events make a child cry or display other negative reactions often or for a long period of time, this may indicate that your child has difficulty with his or her sensory system.
Does my child really need sensory integration therapy? Can't they just practice?
We are sure that the family and teaching staff have tried to “teach” the child skills that appear difficult. Unfortunately, unless the child has the underlying ability to “be taught” the skill, it will not be mastered. It is important to remember that not all types of learning, particularly motor learning, can be mastered by practicing. No matter how many times children practice a wrong pattern, it won’t make it right. Until they have the internal ability to do it correctly, they will be unable to correct the problem.