How to Find an Occupational Therapist for your Child


Stop Negotiating With Your Kids Over DessertAfter you discover that your child needs help from an occupational therapist, following these steps will help you navigate the path to finding help.

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You will want to locate and contact several therapists to find one that is best suited for your child.  The best way to locate therapists is by speaking with other families and asking for recommendations.

You can also find therapists by searching the internet, and contacting pediatricians, daycare providers, and other professionals in your community who work with children. When you call a hospital or clinic, you can ask to speak with one of their therapists. When you call private therapists, you will have direct contact with them.

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When Speaking with a Therapist:

    • Tell him/her that you are looking for a therapist to work with your child and then tell him/her the concerns you have for your child.
    • Ask the therapist if s/he has experience working with children similar to your child (does s/he have any special training in the area of your child’s difficulty; i.e. feeding)
    • Does s/he accept health insurance, Medicaid, and/or private pay
    • Where does s/he provide the OT services (at a clinic, hospital, child’s home, daycare, etc.)
    • Does s/he have availability now, or is there a waiting list (other children ahead of your child waiting for OT); and could you and your child visit the therapist’s clinic/setting or meet the therapist before initiating the paperwork.

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Choose your top two or three therapists. Choosing your most-preferred therapist may depend upon:

  • Location of the hospital or clinic
  • Rapport
  • Connection between you and the therapistTherapist’s experience with children like yours, your work schedule, finances, etc.
  • Therapist’s experience with children like yours
  • Your work schedule
  • Finances, etc.

If you live in a large city, you will have many therapists from which to choose your most preferred; conversely, if you live in a rural area, you may have very few or only one therapist from which to choose.

Select the therapist with whom you want your child to work. Call the therapist, or office staff, and tell her/him that you want to start the process for having your child receive services. The therapist, or the office staff will help you through the steps.

Start the Paperwork

Filling Out Paperwork at Occupational Therapist OfficeThe method by which you’re paying for OT services defines what paperwork and what steps you must follow. If you are using health insurance or Medicaid, there are particular steps you and the therapist/office must perform; for example, you must first acquire a prescription from your child’s doctor for an OT evaluation.

Once the prescription is received, then the therapist/office schedules an evaluation.

Evaluations take about 60 minutes to perform.

The therapist will take one to several weeks to write up the evaluation report. Your child’s doctor must approve and sign the evaluation report.

Then the report is sent to the insurance company to authorize. Finally, your child is scheduled for their on-going therapy sessions. This entire process can take from 4 weeks to several months.

If you are paying out-of-pocket for services, this process is much faster, and you and the therapist have more flexibility with the evaluation, paperwork, and therapy for your child.


Stop Negotiating With Your Kids Over DessertThe information on this website is designed for educational and/or entertainment purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns regarding your child’s condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses.