Will my child’s therapist recommend strategies for school and home?
Our therapists work as a team with parents to implement strategies across settings. At weekly sessions, you can discuss how things are going and new recommendations can made. You can facilitate communication between your child’s teacher and his/her therapist in order to carryover recommendations and strategies to the school environment. Sometimes, special school visits can be arranged to allow our therapist to observe your child in the school setting and to connect with the teacher directly. This allows for open communication between all the people who know the child best.
How long does therapy last?
The length of therapy is different for every child. It usually depends on how many areas of concern there are, the rate of progress, and how much carryover of recommendations occurs across settings. Communication between parents and your child’s therapist is also very important so that the therapy program can be adjusted as needed and specific skill areas can be targeted when needed.
My child has difficulties with new people and places. What can I do to prepare him/her for the evaluation?
You can decide how much you want to tell your child depending on his/her age and level of understanding. It is important you explain that the person your child will be “playing” with will be asking him/her to do several things to get information about what he/she is good at what things might be more “tricky”. Some of the activities will involve writing, drawing, and playing games, and others will involve moving his/her body on special equipment. We try to disguise the activities as “play” and most children ask when they will be able to come back! It might be helpful to plan a special reward for after the appointment so that your child will be motivated and interested in doing his/her best.
How is occupational therapy different from physical therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) are very much related to each other, as they both fulfill the purpose of maintaining the health and fitness of the individual. Both OT and PT strive to cover all the aspects of human health – psychological, mental, and physical. While occupational therapy focuses on restoring functional skills in daily life, physical therapy focuses on restoring mobility. With children, OTs are often seen working on areas such as improving attention, motor planning and coordination with the body, social skills, tolerating different sensations, and self-help skills. PTs are often seen working with children on improving balance, strength and endurance, walking mechanics, and joint range of motion.
What is the difference between school-based occupational therapy and private/clinic-based occupational therapy?
School-based occupational therapy is designed to enhance the student’s ability to fully access and be successful in the learning environment. This might include working on handwriting mechanics and legibility, fine motor skills required to use classroom tools, strategies to help the child organize his/her locker or desk, and working with the teacher to modify the classroom and/or adapt learning materials to facilitate successful participation. Private/clinic based occupational therapy can address all skills needed to function across environments including activities of daily living/self-care, play, motor skill development, social skills, sensory processing and modulation, etc.
My child has sensory processing challenges and his/her school therapist seems unwilling to address this area. What should I do?
Sensory integration therapy is one treatment technique that may be used in occupational therapy. The therapy services that school districts are mandated to deliver is occupational therapy. In the schools, the focus of OT is on the child’s ability to function in the educational environment. As long as the child’s educational needs are being appropriately met, the school OT is operating within his/her scope of practice and training. Each occupational therapist, using professional judgment, evaluation data, and expected outcomes or goals, selects a particular “frame of reference” which will guide the intervention. You are encouraged to discuss your concerns with the school therapist to help you understand the reasoning used to guide the intervention. It is important to note that the school environment might have limitations in terms of sensory equipment available, but this depends on the specific school setting. Also, sensory equipment might not appropriate.