Whether you are coming to see an Occupational Therapist for your child for the first time or the fifth time it can be a nerve wracking process, especially if you are not sure what to expect. Maybe your child didn’t qualify for services in Birth to Three or school, and it was recommended you seek services outside of school, maybe you said something to your doctor about how your child is a very restrictive eater and that’s why he’s not growing, maybe you noticed normal play activities like learning to ride a bike are just so much more difficult for your child compared to their peers; take a deep breath. Your occupational therapist can help you with all of this and more. Here at KidSense we try to make the process as easy and stress free as possible. In this article there will be everything you need to know and more about what you can expect at an outpatient occupational therapy evaluation.
Before the Evaluation
The most important thing is to fill out the intake form before you arrive. We use this intake form to decide what materials we will need for the therapy session and what things to be looking out for. You may be wondering why it is important to tell us when your 13 year old started crawling for example, no matter how old we are our motor milestones as children effect our motor milestones throughout our whole lives. Children who did not crawl for very long often have poor upper body strength, this impacts handwriting, fine motor skills and visual motor control. If you have multiple concerns I recommend making yourself a list with the most important things at the top, that way you don’t forget what you wanted to tell us!
At the Evaluation
You will come to the window to get checked in and hand in your Intake form for the therapist to look over. You may have to wait a few minutes while the therapist sets up and I recommend to families to prep your child for the evaluation during this time. Let them know that they are going to go play with a new friend, they are going to have to listen really well, and then let them know afterwards they can have a favorite toy or maybe do something special with you as a reward. This will prepare them by giving them expectations on how to behave and what to expect while we perform the evaluations. Having a small reward at the end makes sure that even if the evaluation is difficult for them it feels like a positive experience. Be aware you will not be able to come back into the clinic with your child. Due to HIPAA restrictions we cannot have families in the back to protect the privacy of the other children being treated while your child is evaluated. This means at the end of the evaluation we will come talk to you about what we saw and any further questions we have for you in a private room. This is where your list you made before you came will really come in handy as you will be able to identify the biggest concerns you have right away.
After the Evaluation
It will take two weeks for your evaluation to be written up and submitted to insurance for authorization. After two weeks your child’s first session will happen. At this first session you will receive a printed copy of the evaluation. I recommend taking this time to look over the evaluation so when the therapist finishes the session you can ask any questions you may have about what you read.
That’s it! It’s not so bad now that you know exactly what is going to happen! The biggest take away here is to make sure you involve your child in the process and let them know what to expect as well. We know they will love KidSense as much as we do!