what to expect in an occupational therapy evaluation

What To Expect In A Pediatric Occupational Therapy Evaluation

Whether your child has already been referred to an occupational therapist (OT) or you’re simply wondering if this would be a helpful route, there are a few things to know going into an occupational therapy evaluation. Occupational therapists are concerned about an individual’s level of participation in daily activities that are important to him or her. For many children and their families, this means that an OT will be curious about a child’s skills related to self-help, play, peer relationships, academics, and self–regulation. An occupational therapist will want to know what is important to you and set attainable goals that reflect priorities of the child and the family. Not all practitioners will gather this information exactly the same way but the general components of an Occupational Therapy evaluation will include background and developmental information, interview with parents or caregivers, assessment and observations directly with the child, and finally a comprehensive report that summarizes information gathered and sets goals for therapy based on those results.

Background and Developmental Information

Many therapists will request information on birth and developmental history prior to meeting for the first time. If youwhat to expact in an occupational therapy evaluation are able to provide other records that you believe would be helpful, such as reports from previous assessments, teacher summaries, or other pertinent medical history, include these in the evaluation process to generate a complete picture.

Caregiver Interview

Interview with the parent or primary caregiver is an extremely important component of the evaluation process. No one knows your child better than you. The information you provide is vital for identifying priorities and setting realistic goals that will make a difference in your child’s life. The occupational therapist will guide the conversation by asking about your main concerns and what you hope to accomplish through occupational therapy. Depending on the issues you identify, she will want to know more about your child’s adaptive behavior habits such as level of independence with self-care, skill level with fine and gross motor tasks, social and play skills, self-regulation abilities, and executive functioning. The information you provide will allow the therapist to choose the most appropriate assessment tools in the next portion of the evaluation.

Assessment and Observation with the Child

Once the OT has gathered necessary information from you, she will spend time with your child. This time is focused on building rapport, utilizing standardized assessments to identify developmental skill levels, and completing clinical observations that inform her of your child’s motor and sensory development, self-regulation abilities, and executive functioning skills. Specific skills that may be assessed include:

  • Visual motor and visual perceptual skills
  • Fine motor development related to dexterity, strength, grasp efficiency, range of motion, and bilateral use (how well the hands work together)
  • Gross motor strength, endurance, and coordination
  • Motor planning abilities
  • Self-help skills related to dressing, grooming, and feeding
  • Executive functioning skills related to attention, organization, flexibility, etc.
  • Self-regulation (how a child calms themselves or adapts to their environment)
  • Sensory processing abilities (how a child processes what he sees, hears, feels, etc. and produces an appropriate response)

Evaluation Report

The final piece of the evaluation process is reviewing the report, which summarizes all information gathered, the clinical impressions of the therapist, and treatment goals that address identified concerns while utilizing a child and family’s strengths. Often this report will also include general recommendations and a time frame for the treatment plan before a reassessment is warranted.

NSPT offers occupational therapy services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy: The Benefits in a School Setting

Occupational Therapy, as a profession, focuses on promoting participation and completion of daily activities, whether they be work, leisure or self-care activities. Occupational therapy in a pediatric sense focuses on promoting developmental milestones, social and emotional well-being and independence in everyday tasks, whether it be at home or in the school.Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists are also part of the educational system in the school setting, working in collaboration with educators and other therapy services. Their work allows children to develop the skills needed to perform to their best potential in their academic settings. Occupational therapists, and occupational therapy assistants, help a child in establishing academic and non-academic skills, including critical thinking skills, flexibility, self-regulation, social-emotional well-being, social skills, participation in sports and at recess, self-help skills and more. These skills are crucial as children spend a majority of their life in the roles of student, peer and friend.

Throughout the school year, children are screened and assessed in their natural environments to promote overall academic wellness. When educationally necessary, therapy services are set forth through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or through a 504, both of which are funded and administered by the state. OTs in this setting have specific knowledge and expertise to appropriately address a child’s needs within the realm of his/her IEP or 504 plan.

Occupational Therapists are trained to:

  • Observe a student in his/her setting and facilitate the student’s full participation.
  • Provide assistive technology as needed to promote academic and social performance.
  • Reduce barriers within the classroom to facilitate full access to the classroom and supplies.
  • Identify short-term and long-term goals for academic outcomes.
  • Provide suggestions for alternative and supported assessment methods, including homework completion and testing.
  • Promoting overall motor, social and emotional development.
  • Developing age-appropriate executive functioning skills, including increasing attention, problem-solving skills, and memory.

The idea of therapy services in the school setting may be daunting but rest assured, these services are individualized to allow children to thrive and perform to the best of their potential.

free occupational therapy consultation

NSPT offers Occupational Therapy services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!