Working with an Occupational Therapist and What to Expect in an OT Session
Depending on the severity of your child’s weaknesses, your child will be scheduled for OT at least once per week. The general amount of time this schedule lasts is six months, at which time the therapist re-evaluates and/or updates your child’s progress toward previous goals and creates and/or modifies new goals.
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The amount of therapy your child receives will vary depending upon what your insurance covers. The severity of your child’s weaknesses will determine how long your child needs services: several months to several years. So you may notice that after several months, your child’s therapist will feel like family, as your child may see his/her therapist more than extended family.
Your child’s OT session activities depends upon your child’s weaknesses and what s/he needs to work on to make progress. For example, if your child has a feeding difficulty, the therapist will work on feeding skills, as well as additional areas.
Additional Areas to Help Build Your Child’s Skills for Feeding, include:
- Postural strengthening for stable sitting posture and stronger foundation for fine-motor performance
- Sensory processing and modulation (reacting to) of touching various textures
- Respiration (breathing) efficiency
- Providing you recommendations and strategies to use at home to help your child continue his/her progress outside of the therapy setting
Because play is one of the best ways for a child to learn, your child’s therapist will have your child work on skills through play.
Your child’s OT session will include play activities such as swinging on swings, doing obstacle courses, working on arts-and-crafts, playing with messy textures, role playing, and many more.
Do Parents Attend the Sessions?
If you’re interested, and your child’s therapist agrees, you can observe the sessions, and even participate in your child’s OT session. Your presence in your child’s OT session depends upon various factors including your child’s distractibility, your schedule, confidentiality of other children working in the clinic, etc.
If your child is too distracted by your presence in his/her OT session, the therapist may ask you to not be present in your child’s OT session.
Regarding a parent’s schedule, I work with some children whose parent is present at every session. I work with other children, who because of their parent’s schedule and because I work with the child at his/her daycare, I communicate with the parents via e-mail and have never met them in person. Therapists and clinics try their best to work with the child’s needs, parents’ availability, and parents’ finances.
Am I Happy With the Progress?
During your journey to finding OT for your child and working with a therapist, you will come across issues or situations not listed in this article. If you find yourself dealing with an issue or situation that you feel is not in your or your child’s best interest, talk with other parents whose child(ren) receive OT services to help you problem solve a solution. You can also consult with other professionals working with your child, requesting their suggestions and/or a solution.
Join a Community
As the saying goes, “It takes a village.” Connect with your village members (parents and professionals) so that you can build a supportive environment in which your child will make progress. This process will take much of your time and energy, however, it will be worth it once you see your child perform his/her occupations with greater skill, comfortably and confidently.
Check out the other articles in the series:
- Not sure what an Occupational Therapist does?
- Need help finding an Occupational Therapist in your area?