What should we expect when starting therapy?

Welcome to Tahoe Occupational Therapy! Thank you for trusting me with your child’s therapy needs. While this process can seem a little daunting at first, you are taking the first step towards helping your child succeed! Take a deep breath and follow me!

1. Contact Tahoe Occupational Therapy and Set Up Appointment Contact Camille Andras OTR/L by phone or email to introduce yourself and give a little info about your child. She will determine if a full evaluation is recommended. If so, you can set up an appointment for a formal evaluation at the clinic.

2. Fill Out Intake Forms Go to the “Forms” section of the www.tahoeOT.com website. Print out and complete the appropriate forms prior to your evaluation appointment. These forms will need to be completed prior to scheduling your assessment. If there is anything you would like to share with her prior to the evaluation or if there are things you would rather not say in front of your child, this is the time.

3. Talk to Your Child (and husband/wife/family members) Likely, your child already knows that he or she is having a tricky time in one way or another. If he or she is very young, very oblivious, or very out-of-control, this may not be the case. Prior to the OT evaluation you can gently discuss why you will be meeting with an OT. (I like to say that I’m in between a doctor and a teacher.) Pick a time when your child is calm and relaxed, and able to focus on the conversation. Some conversation starters are as follows:

  • “Jack, it seems like you’ve really being having a hard time with writing these days. It makes your hand hurt, it’s hard to stay in the lines, and you don’t like it very much. That is no fun at all. Your teacher/doctor told me about this person who might be able to help you out. I can’t wait to meet her.”
  • “Cindy, I notice that you love crashing on the couch and you are always giving big bear hugs to your friends at school. I know that you sometimes get in trouble when you are too rough. Also, you know how it’s been really hard to learn to ski/ride your bike/jump rope? Your teacher/doctor told me about this person who is an expert at teaching kids how to be really in control of their bodies. I can’t wait for you to meet her.”
  • To husband/wife/mother-in-law/family member/etc. “I’ve noticed that James is really having a hard time focusing at school. His teachers say that he is spacing out and doesn’t follow directions. He is really good at video games and can focus on TV with no problem. I don’t understand. I heard that an occupational therapist can often help with these sorts of issues.”

4. Evaluation Assessment will be done at the clinic and one or both parents are strongly encouraged to attend with their child. Please try to find alternative care for siblings, if possible. The appointment usually takes about 1 hour. Camille will ask pertinent questions about all aspects of your child’s functioning. For example: Self care abilities, Sleep, Eating Habits, Behavior, Likes and Dislikes. She will then assess your child’s fine motor, gross motor, and visual motor skills using fun activities. If necessary, she will use standard assessment tools to get precise developmental levels and to help determine areas of deficit. You can expect ball play, jumping, drawing, and other games. Some children can become shy, nervous, or slightly embarrassed during the evaluation, but Camille is good at making kids and parents feel at ease.

5. Identify Areas of Concern / Develop Goals Camille will use all of the information gathered throughout the evaluation process (intake forms, parent interview, assessment results) to identify the most pressing areas of concern. With your guidance, she will then develop measurable goals to work on with your child.

6. Therapy Sessions Most children will benefit greatest from establishing a weekly OT session for 60 minutes each session. During these sessions, Camille and your child will establish rapport and develop the trust needed to work on challenging issues. Camille uses a wide variety of fun, engaging activities to help your child develop new skills, self-awareness, attention, and confidence. You are encouraged to be present in each session and to be an active participant in treatment sessions. Your child will likely be given “OT Homework” to practice prior to his or her next OT session. The progress that your child makes will depend largely on how much follow through there is between sessions. Camille will help you to set up a home maintenance program once it is time to end therapy so that you will have the tools to help your child if issues arise.