Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) works with you so that you are able to do the things that you want and need to do in your everyday life. 

 

In OT, you identify, practice, and enhance skills that help you perform your activities of daily living, examine and modify your environment if needed, and adapt activities to make them achievable.

 

In the realm of mental health, OT  focuses on building the skills and accessing the supports you need to manage and cope with your symptoms on a daily basis and throughout all of your life transitions.

 

In your occupational therapy treatment you might work on social skills, organization/planning strategies, attention strategies, stress management techniques, emotion regulation, and self-advocacy skills. 

The goal is for you to be able to successfully use these skills at home, at school, at work, and in the community!

Frequently asked questions

General

What is Occupational Therapy?


Occupational therapists work with people of all ages to help them participate in daily life activities or “occupations.” A pediatric occupational therapist focuses on children and their ability to participate in their environments. An occupational therapist works with the child as a whole individual and understands how his/her social-emotional, physical, cognitive, communication and adaptive behavior difficulties make it difficult for them to participate fully in their everyday-life activities. Some skill areas that pediatric occupational therapists work with include play, fine motor, handwriting, self-help, sensory processing, and visual-motor skills.




What specific areas/challenges does OT address?


  • Sensory processing
  • Fine motor
  • Gross motor
  • Visual motor
  • Self-care
  • Motor planning
  • Neuromotor
  • Regulation
  • Behavioral challenges
  • Attention
  • Social interactions
  • Communication as it relates to interactions




How do I know if my child needs Occupational Therapy?


All children develop at their own pace, however, there can be foundational problems that impact their motor development, social interactions, play, and availability for learning. You may be wondering if your child's challenges warrant consulting with a professional. These questions may help you decide: My child:

  • Has difficulty with the basics: dressing, bathing, eating, grooming, sleep, toileting, transitioning
  • Does not react typically to sounds, movement, touch, smell, taste or visual input
  • Is more challenged than peers by fine motor skills
  • Is more challenged than peers by gross motor skills
  • Is overly clumsy/ does not seem to know where his/her body is in space
  • Often leans into surfaces, people or joints/ needs to lie on the floor while playing
  • Has difficulty organizing belongings, thoughts or self
  • Has difficulty doing multi-step activities
  • Struggles to sit still and focus
  • Displays rigid or inconsistent behavior/ Is described as being “inflexible”
  • Has difficulty regulating levels of arousal, emotions or behaviors
  • Has difficulty keeping his/her mind and body calm and organized
  • Is more challenged than peers with complying with limits, when plans change or when there are unexpected changes in routines
  • Needs to be in control to the point that it affects daily functioning
  • Understands tasks, but often states, "I can't"
  • Struggles with or avoids social interactions and can't seem to make or keep friends




How long will my child need OT?


Each child is individual and their course of therapy is different. Factors determining the length of therapy can vary, but often include the number and significance of challenges that your child is experiencing, how quickly your child progresses, and the frequency of sessions scheduled (higher frequency typically yields faster progress). Although this question is difficult to answer before getting to know what each child's progress rate is, therapists will have a better gauge and can give their professional opinions after therapy has begun. We welcome open communication throughout the therapeutic process.




How long is each session?


Our sessions typically run for 50-55 minutes, allowing 5-10 minutes at the end of each session for your therapist to summarize the progress and provide suggestions for carryover at home.




What is the frequency of OT sessions?


Recommendations for the appropriate frequency of treatment sessions will be given by the treating therapist and may change over time, depending on the needs of the child and family. Although we will share our best clinical opinions, we respect and value your perspective as a parent.





Financials

Do I need a referral?


Yes, we require a written referral by a physician or certified nurse practitioner to begin occupational therapy. This helps us coordinate our services with the care plan laid out by your child’s primary care or specialty care physician. Even if another health professional recommends therapy services for your child, we must have a written referral from your primary / specialty care physician or nurse practitioner before we can schedule an appointment. Referrals can be written on a prescription form or the physician’s letterhead. Ask your physician to fax the referral to 302-376-6145.




Will my insurance cover occupational therapy?


Many insurance plans cover occupational therapy services but there may be certain conditions or limitations to coverage. It is very important that you know what your plan will cover before your child begins therapy. Call your insurance company to find out what your plan will cover. If you have secondary health insurance (if another person in your household also has insurance), be sure to check coverage under that plan as well. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Are there any exclusions or limitations to therapy coverage?

    • For example, some insurance plans will not cover services for children diagnosed with developmental delay

    • Some payers (Tricare, for example) require a new physician referral for therapy services every 12 months

    • Some payers will cover an initial therapy evaluation but will not cover ongoing treatment services until they have reviewed the plan of care and authorized a number of visits

  • Does my plan provide coverage for occupational therapy?
  • How many visits are allowed under my insurance plan?
  • If my child needs several therapies such as OT, PT, and Speech, will the same number of visits be allowed for each?
  • How much will I be expected to pay out of pocket? Examples of out of pocket costs include co-payments which are due at each visit for each therapy service, any unmet deductibles, and any co-insurance amounts.