50 Questions for Parents to Ask Occupational Therapists

If your child has been referred to occupational therapy services, here are some questions to ask them. These questions are general and can be asked for any condition or diagnosis that your child may have. Having these questions answered can provide you with a good idea of what theory the OT uses, why, what interventions they use, how they evaluate its effectiveness, and most importantly, whether it is backed by research.

  1. Are these services covered by insurance? If not, why is it not covered?
  2. What services would be covered for a similar type of condition or diagnosis?
  3. How much will it cost?
  4. Is this per session?
  5. How was this price set?
  6. How long does a child typically see you for, knowing that each child may vary in progress?
  7. What special certifications or practice areas do you have?
  8. Is this certification still provided for new OTs who are interested in providing this type of intervention but are not yet certified? If not, why was it discontinued?
  9. If it certification was discontinued, why do you still practice this intervention or approach?
  10. What theory or model guides your practice?
  11. Is this theory or intervention controversial?
  12. What is the latest research on it and how can I get a copy of the literature?
  13. Outside of OT, among other disciplines, how is this theory or approach viewed?
  14. What assessment will you use and how reliable is it as a tool?
  15. Do the demographics of the assessment study include my particular child’s ethnicity, socioeconomic study, and other considerations?
  16. When was the assessment last updated for its demographics and statistics?
  17. How strong is the evidence in the research? If it is not strong, what are alternative methods that may be better?
  18. What were the limitations of the research studies?
  19. How do you measure the effectiveness of the intervention you will use?
  20. Will this approach translate to different environments outside of the gym or school?
  21. What is my role and involvement in this process?
  22. What occupations will you address?
  23. What type of activity analysis do you do?
  24. What specific body systems will you work on?
  25. How will I notice that my child is responding to therapy?
  26. What type of continuing education courses have you taken?
  27. What is the involvement of my child in the process of choosing goals and activities that are interesting to them?
  28. What type of therapy notes do you take? Will I get access to it or a copy of it?
  29. How many OTs will work with my child throughout the entire process?
  30. Are they certified in this particular intervention?
  31. What type of equipment or materials will my child work with?
  32. How is infection control addressed for the facility and equipment they interact with?
  33. Are some single-use and disposed of?
  34. Do you wear masks and other PPE?
  35. Do you have any referrals from prior clients?
  36. What will be the plan if my child does not respond to the therapy?
  37. How are play and school participation outcomes measured?
  38. What other interventions may work well in conjunction with the one you will be providing?
  39. Do you create an occupational profile? Will I be able to review it?
  40. How do you stay on top of the latest evidence-based research?
  41. What professional associations or memberships are you a part of?
  42. Can I or other family members observe therapy?
  43. If not, will you provide me with a summary of the session?
  44. How will you take into account my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
  45. Is the intervention pre-planned such as a protocol or is it different each time and dynamically based on my child’s ongoing performance?
  46. Do you mind if I verify your OT license number for the OT certification board and for the state?
  47. Will you collaborate with other professionals, e.g., speech-language pathology, psychiatrist, educators, other specialists?
  48. What kind of referrals can you make to other services for my child either after or in conjunction with occupational therapy.
  49. How has COVID-19 impacted your practice and what changes have you made for the safety of my child?
  50. Is the staff vaccinated for COVID-19, the flu, and other diseases?

Some of these questions may not apply or may already be answered. Choose the ones that stand out to you based on your’s and your child’s situation. Good luck to your family finding and working with your OT.