Should Ask Questions
Trying to decide on occupational therapy services for your child can be overwhelming and confusing at times. Whether you are considering services at COTI or somewhere else, here are some questions you may want to ask about services to give yourself a better understanding of the process. Click on any specific question to see more specifics about COTI’s services.
Occupational Therapy can be beneficial when a person is having difficulty participating appropriately in daily activities. For a child, this includes school, play, and everything in between! If you have specific questions about your child and whether or not an evaluation would be beneficial, please call our office (513-791-5688) and ask to speak with a therapist.
Yes. The scope of practice for occupational therapists within the school setting is limited to what may be impacting a child’s ability to learn. To qualify for services, a child must show an educational related difficulty, which impairs his/her ability to function in the school environment. The scope of practice is much larger within outpatient therapy and therefore treatment can focus on all aspects of a child’s life. Therefore if you continue to have concerns about your child, outpatient OT could still be beneficial. Many children benefit from both school and private OT.
We are in network with many major insurance providers. Please check with your insurance company to see if your particular plan has benefits for occupational therapy services. Many plans limit the number of visits per year and sometimes even limit the benefit to particular disorders or problems.
If we are out of network with your insurance provider, check to see if they offer out of network benefits for occupational therapy and if so how much coverage they provide. Sometimes, because we strive to keep our rates affordable, the out-of-pocket cost for services that are out of network with COTI can be less than you might think. If you have questions about your particular insurance plan please give us a call, we would be happy to help!
There is a place on the intake paperwork packet where you can indicate your availability for an evaluation (days, times, and preferred location). We try to schedule the evaluation during a day and time that would work for your family on a weekly basis. That way, if you choose to start therapy sessions, you would be able to continue working with the same therapist who completed the evaluation. The more availability you have, the sooner an appointment time will be available. Generally, appointment times between 3-6 will require a wait, as the “after school” appointment times tend to be the most popular.
At COTI, the specifics of the evaluation will vary based on your child’s individual needs. In most cases, the evaluation will include time spent in a small treatment room (participating in fine motor tasks) as well as time spent in a larger gym area (participating in gross motor tasks). Response to sensory input is observed during a variety of activities. Often the parent also completes a sensory based questionnaire while here to give added information. The evaluation process usually includes a combination of standardized assessments as well as non-standardized observations. We encourage parents to observe the evaluation when possible (but we understand that this is not always possible if there are younger siblings present).
The frequency of therapy sessions is determined by the evaluating therapist and discussed with families at the time of the conference. Typical therapy sessions are provided on a weekly basis. Each session is approximately one hour long. At COTI, we feel that consistent weekly sessions for a period of time are often more beneficial than spreading the sessions out to every other week or monthly.
Our occupational therapy sessions are 53 minutes. Depending on your child’s needs, this time will be spent in either a small treatment room, large gym space, or in many cases a combination of both. Therapists select activities for treatment sessions that will challenge your child but in a way that is also fun and comfortable for them. As children are able, the activities are developed together with the therapist in a collaborative way. By doing this, many times the “work” done in therapy looks like play (and feels like play to your child!).
We encourage parents to actively participate in therapy sessions. So be ready to join into the activities! We feel this is the most natural way to collaborate on home activities and explain the therapy process. For some children, conversation during the session needs to be limited making observation more key to progress. There are situations where the parent may not be in the session or in for part of the session such as when siblings are present and the waiting room is needed to entertain them as they wait. All children must have an adult to supervise them in the waiting room. There are some children that do best with the parent present for the whole session or for some the parent is involved in a portion of the session. This is a conversation to have with your child’s therapist.
Your child has an assigned therapist that will work with him/her each week. This is typically the same therapist that evaluated your child. Our hope is that you and your child have started establishing a relationship from the beginning of your time at COTI. If the therapist is absent or if you need to reschedule, you may be offered a time with a different therapist. You and your therapist can decide how your child might handle a substitute. When it is planned in advance, we try to have the substitute meet your child. Your child’s therapist will always provide the substitute with written and/or verbal information that will help the session go smoothly and continue to address your goals. In some cases, having a substitute gives another view of your child and thoughts about what might enhance the therapy process.
At the conference following your evaluation, you and the therapist will discuss specific problem areas and rate those in terms of significance to your family. Goals will be established based on the strengths and concerns identified during the evaluation and prioritized as part of the discussion at the conference. When reviewing progress, these goals will be used to determine change along with observations from the therapy sessions and your report on what is seen in the home and community. This input from you is critical in determining change as the primary focus is how your child is doing in real life. The decision of whether or not to continue with therapy is yours in collaboration with the therapist.
Yes. Your child’s therapist can provide recommendations for the school to consider implementing. Therapists can write up a list of suggested tools and strategies that he/she consider to be most beneficial for your child to integrate into the school day based on his/her sensory needs. The therapist may also communicate with the school periodically through email or brief phone conversations. If a longer consultation is needed, this is coordinated with the therapist and COTI office as a fee is involved.