What is Occupational Therapy & 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, or 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, pediatrician) is concerned about your child’s development or they are struggling with their daily activities, Occupational Therapy sessions may be able to help them.
‘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 part of their daily life.
Things to look out for:
What kind 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
- Sensory Processing Disorders
- Fine & gross motor co-ordination
- Social skills and self-regulation
- Self-care skills
- Feeding skills
Does my child need a referral?
No, you don’t need a referral for Occupational Therapy. Please call us on 02 9913 3823 to organise your child’s Initial appointment (alternatively, you can email us to organise a convenient call time).
You can share your concerns about your child’s development and we’ll explain the next steps and book a session time for you.
What happens before and during the initial session?
After we’ve organised your child’s initial appointment time, we’ll email you a confirmation letter and directions to our clinic. We will also advise you of the necessary documents to complete prior to the appointment. This will enable us to learn more about your child before their appointment.
If you have any other documents that may assist us in getting to know your child, please send them in as well.
ON THE DAY
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 a few 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 appointment it is preferred that you can stay with your child without any other siblings present.
At the end of your child’s Initial appointment, you’ll be able to book in further sessions 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.
What happens during OT sessions?
At your child’s first OT session, 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 one of our group programmes to help reach their goals.
How much do sessions cost?
Initial Consultation: The cost of an Initial Consultation varies depending on your child’s needs. During our intake phone call we will discuss the different treatment options for your child and associated costs with you.
One-on-one sessions: Session fees vary depending on the length of your child’s session.
How long will my child need OT 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 sessions go for?
Our Occupational Therapy sessions are either 45 mins or 1 hour, depending on your child’s needs. An initial consultation may be 90 minutes.
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 you registered for NDIS funding?
We are registered providers with NDIS.
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 Care Plan and referral from your child’s GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist. The Mental Health Care Plan provides six partially-subsidised OT session (per calendar year) with the option of four additional sessions following a review by their referring doctor. OTs need specific experience to see children under the Mental Health Care Plan. If your child has a Mental Health Care Plan, please let us know when making their initial booking.
Please note, there are additional Medicare plans available for children with autism spectrum disorders and physical disabilities.