Frequently asked questions
How can I prepare for my child’s initial visit?
Often we will speak with you by phone prior to the initial visit to prepare for your child's evaluation or screening. If there are previous reports or written information available, please send them for our review when you return the New Patient Information Packet. We request that you complete and return the detailed parent information packet and online Sensory Profile at least 3 days prior to the initial evaluation, screening or treatment session. By taking the time to complete this material before the initial visit, your therapist’s understanding of your child during the first visit will be greatly enhanced. It will also help you formulate thoughts regarding your concerns about your child's strengths and weaknesses.
What happens during the initial visit?
On the day of the appointed first visit, you and your child will enter our parent and child- friendly waiting area. Please make yourself comfortable until your therapist greets you. You will then go to a private room where the therapist will begin getting to know you and your child. If your child is school age, you may opt to remain in the waiting area while the therapist is meeting with your child.
Assessment with children often looks like play. Young children often do not realize that they are being evaluated and many leave the session asking when they can come back and play. The first sessions(s) are designed to assess your child's level of functioning and to determine factors that may interfere with age appropriate skill acquisition. Generally the sessions are about 1-2 hours and combine structured and unstructured activities. At the end of the session the therapist will make recommendations, and if therapy is indicated, you can set goals that reflect your priorities for your child.
What specific skills will you assess?
Depending on the reason your child was referred, we might evaluate:
Postural control and core strength
Fine motor skills including dexterity, grasp, coloring, and cutting
Gross motor skills, strength, endurance, and coordination
Self-help skills, such as dressing, grooming, toileting and feeding
Sensory processing (how your child processes sound, sight, touch, movement, and other sensations, and responds to them)
Activities of Daily living
Speech, language and oral motor skills
What is the difference between an “Evaluation” and a “Screening”?
A screening is conducted over 1-1½ hours depending on your child’s age, directly targets your areas of concern, and includes limited standardized testing. Specific tests are selected to meet your child’s unique needs. The follow-up consists of a phone call or in-person meeting to discuss our recommendations and establish goals, but does not include a written report.
An evaluation is more comprehensive. It requires two hours and examines your child’s postural control, gross and fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination and sensory processing. Specific tests are selected to meet your child’s individual needs. In approximately 6 weeks, you will receive a comprehensive report that summarizes the information gathered, an analysis of the testing data, recommendations for home and/or school and goals for occupational therapy, if recommended.
Am I allowed to sit in the room during an evaluation or screening?
You are the parent, and you know best how your child will function in a testing situation. You are always welcome to accompany your child into the testing rooms. With younger children we encourage you to sit in to minimize separation issues. We are especially happy to have you in the testing room if your child will pay full attention to the examiner and follow his/her instructions. We ask that you sit as quietly as possible so the examiner can develop rapport with your child and begin building a therapeutic relationship. You can leave the room at your discretion, if you feel you are a distraction to your child.
Many rooms have one-way mirrors, so that you can observe the assessment if that is your preference, or you can relax in the waiting room. In either case, we will leave a few minutes to spend with you after the session. We do not like to discuss children in front of them, so if the situation or timing does not permit a full discussion, please make a phone appointment before you leave the office and we will discuss the results of testing with you as soon as possible.
Our goal is to help you and your child feel as comfortable and playful as possible. While we understand that the process is stressful for all, we do our best to minimize stress and maintain open communication.