What is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist?
A Paediatric Occupational Therapist is a health care professional who works closely with children experiencing difficulties in their everyday life which may impact on their learning and development. They develop programs to help children improve their skills, independence and promote confidence in a positive and fun environment. They use assessment tools, treatment plans and evaluation in their interventions and work closely with families, teachers and other health care professionals involved in the child's life.
How do I know if my child needs Occupational Therapy?
If you feel that your child is not making their milestones or if you have any concerns about their development, you should make an enquiry with an Occupational Therapist. General Practitioners, Speech Pathologists, Paediatricians, Teachers, Early Learning Centre staff and other Allied Health Professionals also refer children to Occupational Therapists.
Some common areas of difficulty:
How long does my child need Occupational Therapy for?
There is no set time frame for seeing an Occupational Therapist. We can advise once the initial assessment has been conducted but generally we see children up until they have achieved their goals. Every child is different and achieves their goals within different timeframes. A child's progress is monitored and reviewed regularly and frequent discussions with parents and teachers are conducted to track progress.
What is the process once a referral or an appointment has been made?
Prior to the initial assessment, a phone conversation between the parent and therapist will occur and parent and teacher questionnaires will be sent out. The therapist will request any relevant reports from other health professionals and teachers and work samples may also be gathered. The assessment is conducted either at the clinic, school or home and takes approximately 1.5 hours. A formal report and recommendations, based on the assessment results and clinical observations are provided within 10 days of the assessment. If therapy is recommended and parents want to persue, then a suitable time will be organised with the parent. If the therapy sessions are to take place within the child's school then a time is organised with the teacher. Goals are established in collaboration with parents prior to the first therapy session. A home program is provided to parents to support therapy and teachers are advised about classroom strategies and resources that will help support the child within the classroom. Regular discussions and reviews will be conducted with parents and teachers to monitor progress.
Do I need a referral to see an Occupational Therapist?
A formal or medical referral is not required to see an Occupational Therapist. Simply contact us to make an enquiry or an appointment.
Can Occupational Therapy sessions be claimed?
5 Sessions can be claimed through Medicare with a form from your GP and up to 10 sessions with a specific diagnosis. Sessions may also be claimed through Private Health Funds depending on the level of cover that you have. Kids First Occupational Therapy are also registered with government funding schemes such as Better Start and Helping Children with Autism.
What are Gross Motor Skills?
Gross motor skills require the use of larger muscle groups to perform activities such as hopping, skipping, riding a bike, sports, ball skills and balance. Children need strength, coordination and planning skills in order to carry out such activities successfully.
What are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine motor skills require the use of smaller muscle groups in the hands to perform activities such as drawing, colouring, handwriting, cutting, beading, zips, buttons, shoelaces and using a knife and fork. Children require finger strength, control and dexterity in order to carry out such activities successfully.
What is Sensory Processing?
Sensory processing is the process within the brain that organises sensation from the body and the environment. If this process is occurring normally then we can use our bodies effectively and efficiently in an organised way. Children with sensory processing difficulties may misinterpret sensory information, such as touch, smell, movement or sound. They can feel overwhelmed by sensory information or often avoid or seek out certain sensory experiences. They may also present with motor skill problems and react with strong emotional behaviours.
What are Visual Perceptual Skills?
Visual Perception is the ability to interpret visual information, organise and then use it efficiently to complete activities. If a child has poor visual perceptual skills they may find the following activities challenging:
How do I know if my child has low muscle Tone?
Muscle tone is the amount of tension in the muscle when at rest. Muscle tone plays a key role in assisting us to maintain an upright posture, controlling movement and endurance.Children who have low muscle tone have less tension in their muscles which means they have to work harder to perform activities. Even holding themselves up is hard as their muscles have to work against normal gravity. This results in a child tiring more easily and they may appear to be ?floppy? or ?double jointed?. Common signs of a child with low muscle tone are: