Frequently asked questions

What is the role of an Occupational Therapist (OT)?

OT addresses the underlying skills that are required for a child to participate effectively in day-to-day activities at home, school, or in the community.

These include:

  • Motor abilities (gross and fine motor skills),
  • Sensory processing and Emotional Regulation
  • Cognition - their ability to attend and focus, organisational skills – planning, sequencing and effective execution of tasks, impulse control

What is sensory processing?

Sensory processing is the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioural responses. Sensory processing difficulties exist when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Some children may be under responsive while others may be over-responsive; depending on their neurological threshold.

Everyone processes sensory input differently and that’s okay. However we need to recognize if a sensory input is negatively impacting the child’s life & causing them to have difficulties with their daily functioning.

(eg: Auditory system - Responds negatively to unexpected or loud noises)

How do I know if my child would benefit from Occupational Therapy?

Developmental, physical, sensory, attentional and/or learning challenges may impact upon a child’s ability to participate effectively in day-to-day activities. These difficulties may be seen as:

  • Poor coordination for sporting and/or playground activities
  • Clumsiness, frequently falling over/bumping into things
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulty with manipulation of objects and tools
  • Delay in achieving independence in self-care tasks (eg: dressing, toileting)
  • Difficulty with performance in the classroom (eg: distractible, unable to sit still in class)
  • Hyperactivity due to sensory seeking behaviours
  • Short attention span
  • Feeding Issues
  • Poor play skills; difficulty playing with others, limited imaginative play skills.

What happens at the initial OT assessment and consultation for my child?

The initial consultation typically lasts for 60 mins. It is recommended that the main caregiver is present with the child for this appointment. Typically we will take a short history of the child and discuss his/her current needs and challenges.

Depending on the assessment format (eg: single session Vs dynamic assessment), as well as the individual profile of the child and areas of concern identified – we will then typically administer a selection of our standardised assessments.

What are the range of standardised assessment tools you typically use?

Motor Skills Assessments:

  • Movement Assessment Battery for Children (Movement ABC)
  • Bruininks- Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT-2)
  • Bruininks (BOT-2)

Visual Perception Assessments:

  • Beery Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration (Beery VMI)

Handwriting Specific Assessments:

  • Mc Master Handwriting Assessment

Play Assessments:

  • Child Initiated Pretend Play Assessment (CHIPPA)

What is the duration and frequency of subsequent sessions for my child?

Subsequent follow-up sessions last for 60 mins and are usually scheduled 1x/2x per week, dependent on your child's needs.

Do you do school visits?

Yes, school visits are done at the request of parents and when deemed necessary by the therapist. These visits help the therapist further understand the challenges faced by the teachers and the students. The therapist then provides professional input to improve outcomes in the classroom setting.

Who is a Speech Language Pathologist?

Speech Language Pathologists evaluate and treat speech, language, social communication, fluency or voice difficulties in people of all ages to enable them to communicate to the best of their ability. Speech Language Pathologists may also work with individuals who have feeding or swallowing problems. All Speech Language Pathologists complete a university education offering speech pathology training at either an undergraduate or postgraduate level.

What is the role of a Speech Language Pathologist in a mainstream school setting?

In a school setting, Speech Language Pathologists work with school-aged children who have communication problems that affect their performance in classroom activities, social interactions, language learning, and literacy. Speech Language Pathologists have integral roles in education and assume a range of responsibilities to help children meet the school performance standards required. These responsibilities may include: (a) Identification of students at risk of speech and language difficulties; (b) assessments of students’ communication skills; (c) evaluation of assessment results; (d) development and implementation of intervention plans; and (e) collaboration with teachers and other relevant professionals.

Can I refer my child to a Speech Language Pathologist without a referral from school?

A referral to a Speech Language Pathologist is not compulsory. A self-referral is generally adequate. If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, seek advice. A Speech and Language Pathologist will be able to assess and determine whether your child will benefit from intervention, or provide you with general advice if specialist intervention is not necessary at the current time period.

For children who are learning English as a second language, many of them are put into English-speaking classrooms where they have difficulties understanding what is being taught. In these situations, these children tend to struggle to perform. Often times, this is not because the children have language-learning disabilities, but more so because they are put into these difficult learning situations where they are unable to build their underlying foundation in the English language. Under these circumstances, these children may benefit from being referred on to a Speech and Language Pathologist who could provide intervention to help them develop the language skills necessary to function successfully in class and in society.

What is the difference between tutoring and therapy?

Speech and language therapy differs from tutoring in a few key areas:

  • Speech and Language Pathologists are formally trained in the assessment and treatment of individuals with communication difficulties. Tutors may not necessarily have formal training in speech and language therapy.
  • Speech and Language Pathologists set goals and develop intervention plans that address not only academic difficulties, but also the specific needs and learning abilities of each individual. Tutors tend to focus solely on academic performance.
  • Speech and Language Pathologists will collaborate with the clients, families, teachers, and other relevant professionals to plan intervention goals and activities. Tutors typically work with the individual clients.

Will there be homework?

In order to generalise skills, children need consistent carryover of therapy goals across different settings. Speech and language therapy homework aims to reinforce the skills learnt in therapy sessions. Speech and language homework would enable parents to see the progress that their child is making as well as empower parents to be confident models/teachers.

How soon can I see results?

Each child can have a different outcome in therapy depending on the individual’s difficulties and abilities. It is important to understand that the length of time before one can see results depends on many factors such as severity of the problem, frequency of therapy, and consistency of support at home/school.

What is the enrolment procedure?

The enrolment procedure would include an initial consultation with a qualified Speech and Language Pathologist to discuss about the child’s development and any parental concerns. This is then followed by informal/formal assessments to identify the child’s current communication skills as well as to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. Following this, an assessment report documenting the findings and recommendations will be prepared. Parents will have the opportunity to discuss the results of the assessments with the Speech and Language Pathologist and decide collaboratively whether therapy is necessary.

Do I really need a report?

The assessment report will document the child’s current communication skills and individual needs. The report provides a baseline of the child’s speech and language abilities and allows parents/therapists to track the child’s progress over time. With parental consent, the assessment report can also be forwarded on to other health and educational service providers to plan for intervention and communication goals.