10 Tips for A Successful First Occupational Therapy Visit for You and Your Child

Is it your child’s first time to start a clinic-based paediatric occupational therapy?

Are you wondering what you need to do, bring or prepare?

I know you have a bunch of questions and you have no idea what will it be like. But you don’t have to worry, we have you covered.

Here are 10 Tips for a successful first occupational therapy visit for you and your child:

  • Be prepared to answer questions about your child.

Occupational Therapists (OTs) will ask you a lot of questions about your child. For example, “What are his like and dislikes?”,  “What are his challenges and fears?” or any relevant information about your child’s developmental history, medications or experiences with past therapists and/or doctors. Clinics usually have you fill out a welcome packet of some sort regarding your child’s medical and developmental history prior having your first appointment, to give you expectations. However, the OT will also want to get that information and confirmation from you directly during the first or second session. It will really help OTs to get a personal view from the parent for them to formulate a program or sensory diet perfect for your child.

  • Be prepared to answer questions about what kinds of goals you would like your child to work on and achieve while in therapy.

Ok, let’s get this straight. OTs are experts when it comes to the clinical part of the treatment. They have the training and ability to evaluate children and determine where they are struggling and how they can go about helping with that. However, it is the parent, who is the expert when it comes to your child. The parent is the one caring, raising and mostly the person who they interact everyday. With that in mind, it is the parent that provides input to help guide and shape their children’s treatment plan. Take some time to think about that before the first visit.

  • Bring Socks.

Most clinics will have your child take off his shoes before they play on the mats.

  • Let your child wear something comfortable clothes for playing.

Most OT rooms are indoor playgrounds. Depending on the therapy goals, your child might play on slides, swings, rock walls, scooter boards and more. SO dress them in comfortable clothes to allow them to enjoy playing whilst doing therapy.

  • Don’t give your child a big meal before coming to play.

We don’t want their tummies to be upset while playing.

  • Call and Reschedule if you can’t visit.

If your child is feeling unwell or is sick or there is an emergency that will hinder you and your child to attend the session, it is ok to miss it. Just call and reschedule the appointment. We can’t control these kinds of circumstances. Also, there are also clinics that charges “no-attendance” fees so it is ethical to inform them.

  • Bring a notebook.

OTs give suggestions, activities to do at home and lots of information to remember. So it is advisable to bring a notebook or something to write with to put these so that you won’t forget or miss a thing.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

It is a team effort between you, your child and the OT. This therapy thing should not be a one sided deal, so go ask questions. It’s okay to ask the OT why they are doing a certain activity with your child and do it nicely. It is also ok to ask any clarifications you have if you don’t understand what the OT is saying (they might use some jargons or too fast). OTs welcome any questions you have.

  • Don’t talk too much during therapy sessions.

It is ok to ask questions but don’t do it during your child’s session because it is distracting. Save your questions until the session is finished. It also gives the OT time to answer your questions correctly.

  • Be willing to ask your OT about finding additional resources to help support your child’s progress.

Every bit of information or help in supporting your child’s progress counts. It may be a website, a toy, book or a community. It goes a long way.

Also, choosing the right Occupational Therapy clinic and OTs does make it easier for you and your child. So if you are looking for a passionate, committed, family centred, fun and that goes above and beyond OT you can call Happy Dots Occupational Therapy for Children on (02) 4959 8920 to book.

Happy Dots is a privately owned clinic located in Cardiff, Singleton, & Williamtown, which offers a friendly, professional and sensory based approach for children of varying conditions, aged between 2-18 years of age. We strive for sensory & play based therapy that is FUN!

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