What to expect at your child’s first appointment
If you have been referred to an Occupational Therapist (OT) for support, chances are you’re not quite sure what an OT does and/or what to expect from the process.
Before the assessment
You will be emailed a link to an intake questionnaire. We ask that you complete this online prior to the assessment day, otherwise the appointment will be unable to go ahead.
The intake questionnaire has questions about the child’s medical and social history, and their strengths and weaknesses. This provides the therapist with an opportunity to gain relevant background information to help inform the assessment process.
During the Assessment
The OT may wish to further discuss certain aspects of the intake questionnaire. It is likely that whilst the OT is speaking to you, they will set your child up with a developmentally appropriate, self-directed play activity. While you chat, the OT will also be observing your child. The assessment may focus on one or many areas of development including gross motor, fine motor, handwriting, visual motor coordination, sensory processing and play skills.
Depending on your child and the type of assessment they require we may recommend that the assessment take place over two sessions. Each assessment component is best undertaken when the child is feeling focused, if we try to cram too much into a session they may start to become tired or “over it” in which case the assessment results may not be indicative of their true abilities. Completing the assessment over two sessions also provides the therapist with two opportunities to get to know your child and build rapport with them, as the first appointment can sometimes be overwhelming.
After the Assessment
Depending on your child’s needs and situation, you may be able to choose whether you want a brief report (outlining basic score results) or a more detailed report (more thoroughly explains the results and observations taken during the assessment, as well as more specific goals and therapy considerations.
When deciding which option to choose, you may consider how much information you might need. Do you need a full report to apply for NDIS funding or are you after some general suggestions on minor issues? Please note that is is very difficult to come back and write a full report more than a few weeks out from the assessment. We are not able to offer a full written assessment report a few months on from the assessment, without re-administering at least some components of the assessment.
The purpose of an OT assessment is not only to give information on where the child is at in their development, but to make suggestions for therapy to help them to further develop areas. Following an assessment and report a member of our team will discuss with you the potential therapy options available. This might include the duration and frequency of treatment, and the type of evidence based therapy that will provide the best results. The OT may also recommend further assessments such as seeing an optometrist or Paediatrician.