WHAT IS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AND HOW CAN IT HELP MY CHILD?
Occupational Therapy (or ‘OT’) helps people to go about their day-to-day activities more easily. For children and teens struggling with any part of their development, this can range from their handwriting, to making new friends, to concentration, to longer-term challenges such as being on the autism spectrum. Whatever it is, Occupational Therapy aims to develop your child’s skills to help them live more enjoyably and independently.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD NEEDS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY?
If you or anyone supporting your child’s health or education (e.g. teacher, speech pathologist, doctor, paediatrician) is concerned about your child’s development.
If your child is struggling with any of their daily activities , call us to see how we can help.
‘Daily activities’ can range from focusing and learning at school, tying their shoelaces, making new friends, participating in sports, toileting, doing their homework, eating dinner without having a meltdown — any normal part of their daily life.
Things to look out for:
- Movement: Clumsy, trips often, seems a bit uncoordinated, finds it hard to throw and catch a ball or participate in organised sports activities
- Writing: Finding it hard to form letters or numbers or write sentences
- Hand skills: Struggling to cut basic shapes, draw simple figures or play with small objects (like beads, LEGO® or marbles)
- Behaviour: Meltdowns, finds it hard to cope with change
- Social skills: Finding it hard to make new friends, pick up on body language or understanding social settings
- Independence and self-care: Struggling to get dressed by themselves, use cutlery correctly or organise themselves
- Eating: Fussy eater
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS DO YOU HELP WITH?
We help children with a whole range of developmental challenges. Here are just some of the things we help with:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- ADD / ADHD
- Sensory Processing Disorders
- Handwriting and fine motor skills
- Body and movement coordination
- Social skills and self-regulation
- Self-care skills
- Feeding skills
Please see What We Help With for more detail. Please contact us to see how we can help your child.
DOES MY CHILD NEED A REFERRAL?
No, you don’t need a referral for us to help you. Please call us on 02 9913 3823 to organise your child’s Initial Assessment or first session. Alternatively, you can email us to organise a convenient time to call. When you talk to us, you can share your concerns about your child’s development and we’ll explain the next steps and book an appointment time for you.
WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE AND DURING THE INITIAL ASSESSMENT?
After we’ve organised your child’s Initial Assessment time, we’ll email you a confirmation and directions for finding us, along with some forms and questionnaires about your child’s development. Please complete these forms before your child’s Initial Assessment and bring them with you. If your child is at school, please bring samples of their work too.
One of our Senior Clinicians will select the Occupational Therapist who best suits your child’s needs and personality and we can send through their bio if you or your child would like to find out about them before you meet them.
ON THE DAY
The Initial Assessment will take approximately 1.5 hours. When you arrive at your chosen clinic, your child’s Occupational Therapist will come and meet you both in the waiting room. From there, they’ll welcome you into the clinic room. Your child’s OT will then run about five different tests (selected from a range of standardised and non-standardised tests around your child’s needs). For your child, this will probably just feel like doing some activities that are similar to those at school (e.g. drawing, hopping, catching a ball, writing etc.). During the Initial Assessment you can choose to stay in the room during this time, sit in our waiting room or wait elsewhere.
At the end of your child’s Initial Assessment you’ll be able to book in your child’s first session with their OT. There is also the opportunity for them to share some of their initial observations and discuss your child’s development with you. After the Initial Assessment, your child’s Occupational Therapist will evaluate all of their test results and detail them in their personalised Initial Assessment Report, which will be provided to you approximately two weeks after their Initial Assessment.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING O.T. SESSIONS?
At your child’s first OT session after their Initial Assessment, their Occupational Therapist will develop goals with you and your child that will guide their sessions. Your child’s OT sessions are tailored to these goals by using a variety of activities to build their skills in the area they are working on.
This can often involve fun activities like jumping, obstacle courses or playing games. But every activity — including the fun ones — are all helping your child develop their skills.
Your child’s Occupational Therapist may also recommend they join our group programmes to help reach their goals.
HOW MUCH DO SESSIONS COST?
Initial Assessment: The cost of your child’s Initial Assessment is a fixed fee that covers the preparation, 1.5 hour assessment session, test analysis and reporting.
One-on-one sessions: Session fees vary depending on the length of your child’s session.
Please call us on 02 9913 3823 to find out our current rates.
HOW LONG WILL MY CHILD NEED O.T. SESSIONS FOR?
Our long-term aim is for your child to not need our services, so we only ever recommend your child comes for the sessions they need.
How long we recommend your child comes for sessions will vary on their goals and how quickly they are progressing. However, the choice is always yours — you are not locked in to bringing your child for a set time as we believe you know what’s best for your family.
HOW LONG DO O.T. SESSIONS GO FOR?
Our Occupational Therapy sessions are either 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your child’s needs.
ARE SESSIONS COVERED BY PRIVATE HEALTH FUNDS?
Whether your child’s sessions with us are covered by private health insurance will depend on your provider and your level of cover. All health funds are different, however, many of them do offer cover for Occupational Therapy. We recommend you check with your private health fund about what rebates you’re entitled to.
ARE THERE MEDICARE REBATES?
Yes — there are two plans that you can potentially access under Medicare. Eligibility for these plans is determined by your doctor. A visit to your doctor is required for the plan to be written.
- Enhanced Primary Care Plan
This entitles clients to up to five treatment sessions, which can be claimed through Medicare.
- Better Access to Mental Health Plan
If your child has any mental health issues, you can request a Mental Health Plan and referral from your child’s GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist. The Mental Health Plan provides six partially-subsidised OT session (per calendar year) with the option of four additional sessions following a review by their referring doctor.If your child if eligible for a Mental Health Plan, please let us know so we can ensure they are paired with an OT with the expertise required for their sessions to be covered by the Plan.
Please note, there are additional Medicare plans available for children with autism spectrum disorders and physical disabilities.
DO YOU HAVE NDIS FUNDING?
Yes, we are registered providers with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
I’M INTERESTED IN JOINING THE TEAM. HOW DO I APPLY?
Brilliant! We’re always on the lookout for talented, passionate paediatric Occupational Therapists, as well as head office staff, to join us. Click here to find out more about working with us, our current vacancies and how to apply.