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What is an Occupational Therapy Assessment?

What to expect at your child’s assessment with an Occupational Therapist

You’ve made the decision to have your child assessed by one of our Occupational Therapists at OneOnOne Children’s Therapy. For some parents at our Bondi Junction clinic,  it is a relief to start the therapy process. Other parents feel quite anxious about the results of the occupational therapy assessment, and some parents feel overwhelmed with the journey they may be starting. It is normal to feel some or all of these emotions. Chances are that you don’t know what to expect in an Occupational Therapy assessment. Let’s go through what happens in the assessment with our Occupational Therapist in our Bondi Junction clinic.

Parent Discussion

Our Occupational Therapists will be asking questions about your child’s development. This helps us understand all the components in your child’s life. We may ask information about who lives at home, what languages you speak at home, where your child goes to school or preschool. These questions because they all impact your child’s motor development. Our Occupational Therapists wants to know what concerns you.

The concerns that you raise about your child will determine how many questions our Occupational Therapists need to ask you. There is a big difference between the information for a child with handwriting concerns and a child who is diagnosed with autism.

Play based assessment

At our Bondi Junction clinic, every Occupational Therapy assessment starts with the Occupational Therapist spending time getting to know your child. Young children always start an assessment with a play activity that they prefer. Older children start with a game that they are interested in. This allows the Occupational Therapists to develop some rapport before the formal testing begins. It isn’t just playing though. During this period of time the Occupational Therapists is already beginning to make observations about your child’s motor skills. This informal step in the assessment is a valuable part of the process. Depending on the age of the child and the concerns raised by you, the parent interview and informal assessments may form the majority of the assessment.

Don’t be concerned about your child’s behavior during the Occupational Therapy assessment. Some children are so shy they hardly talk, some throw tantrums, some desperately need to go to the toilet. This happens on a regular basis. The Occupational Therapists at Bondi Junction are very experienced and will handle children’s behaviour.

Formal Assessment

The Occupational Therapist uses formal tests for older children. This allows us to breakdown many areas of development in a very specific way. It also allows our Occupational Therapists to compare your child’s performance to what is expected of most children  their age. With this information we can determine the goals and objectives for Occupational Therapy intervention. Parents are welcome to observe formal part of the Occupational Therapy assessment.

Gross Motor Skills assessment

Gross motor skills refer to the movements that your child makes with the big muscle groups. It allows kids to walk, run, jump, catch, throw, roll, crawl, sit, stand and balance. These tasks are assessed using a formal test. They are also skilfully observed in an informal manner during the assessment, The Occupational Therapist is continually looking at your child’s skills and comparing them to the average child of their age.

Fine Motor Skills Assessment

Gross motor skills refer to the movements that your child makes with the small muscle groups -usually their hands. Fine motor skills allow your child to colour, draw, cut, glue, get dressed, tie shoelaces, and do up zips and buttons. Just like the gross motor skills, they are assessed with a formal test, skilfully observing in a more informal manner.

Visual-Motor co-ordination Assessment

Visual-motor skills refer to the way your child’s co-ordinates what they see with what hey do. It co-odintes their vision with their gross and fine motor skills. The Occupational Therapist uses formal tests and/or informal observation. The younger the child, then the more informal the assessment is. School aged children have formal tests as part go their assessment.

Handwriting assessment

School ages children, and children about to start school, usually have a handwriting assessment. The Occupational Therapist looks at  pre-writing shapes such as lines, curves, circles and squares. They look at your child’s ability to write words and numbers and sentences. They look at your child’s ability to write longer texts if they are old enough.

Sensory processing assessment

The Occupational Therapist looks at how your child processes sensory information. This covers the senses of:

  • touch
  • sight
  • hearing
  • taste
  • smell
  • proprioception  body awareness)
  • vestibular awareness (body balance and position in space).

Difficulties with sensory processing impact a child’s ability to participate in general activities. It can be the cause of behavioural challenges. You and your child’s teacher fill in a sensory processing form  such as the Sensory Profile. When the Occupational Therapist understands how your child’s sensory processing impacts their life it influences the treatment plan they they choose.

What happens after the assessment?

Our Occupational Therapist will always give you some immediate feedback about the assessment at the end of the consultation. The younger the child is, the easier this is to do. When children are older, we often have to spend time analysing test results before we can give specific feedback. You will  leave the assessment with some idea about what our recommendations are.

Assessment report from the Occupational Therapist

A written report is provided from the assessments and you will receive this within 10 working days. In the written report, your child’s Occupational Therapist will very clearly outline the recommendations, goals and objectives.

How do I book an assessment with your Occupational Therapist

Our Occupational Therapists are available  to answer all of your questions. Please ring us at our Bondi Junction clinic, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, on (02) 8065 7837, or email us at info@oneononechildren.com.au. We would love to go through the Occupational Therapy assessment process so we can help your child.

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