Top 10 Questions to Ask if Considering Working with a Pediatric Occupational Therapist

About Pediatric Occupational Therapy

A pediatric occupational therapist can be beneficial for children who are experiencing difficulty with daily activities such as self-care, play, and school work. If your child is having difficulty with fine motor skills (such as handwriting), gross motor skills (playing in the playground), sensory processing (functioning in various environments), or coordination, an occupational therapist can help.

Additionally, if your child is having difficulty with self-regulation, attention, or executive functioning (thinking), an occupational therapist can help. Children who have been diagnosed with a condition such as autism, ADHD, or developmental delay may also benefit from working with a pediatric occupational therapist.

If your child is having difficulty with activities of daily living, such as dressing, eating, or writing, an occupational therapist can help. Last, if your child is having difficulty with social interaction or play, an occupational therapist can help.

One systematic review looked at the efficacy of occupational therapy for children with Asperger’s syndrome for social skills. The studies showed that the intervention groups improved their overall social ability. This review shows that OT interventions can help children with Asperger’s syndrome in overcoming their social issues.((Romagnoli, G., Leone, A., Sansoni, J., Tofani, M., De Santis, R., Valente, D., & Galeoto, G. (2019). Occupational Therapy’s efficacy in children with Asperger’s syndrome: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. La Clinica Terapeutica, 170(5), e382-e387.)) Another systematic review looked at a variety of occupational therapy approaches for children. The evidence supports 40 of the approaches used in occupational for pediatrics. See reference for specific recommendations that are more effective.((Novak, I., & Honan, I. (2019). Effectiveness of paediatric occupational therapy for children with disabilities: A systematic review. Australian occupational therapy journal, 66(3), 258-273.))

Additional Considerations

Consult with your pediatrician or another healthcare professional to determine if working with a pediatric occupational therapist would be beneficial for your child. They will be able to provide a referral and help you to understand what to expect from this therapy.

It’s also important to keep in mind that working with a pediatric occupational therapist is a team effort that involves not only the therapist but also the child, the family and other healthcare providers. The therapist will work with you and your child to set goals, and provide strategies and tools for you to use at home to support your child’s progress.

20 Questions to Ask a Pediatric Occupational Therapist

  1. What is your experience working with children and what conditions do you typically treat?
  2. How do you assess a child’s needs and develop a treatment plan?
  3. What types of interventions do you typically use and how do you measure progress?
  4. How do you involve parents and caregivers in the treatment process?
  5. What are your availability for appointments and how often will my child need to come in for therapy?
  6. How do you communicate with other members of my child’s healthcare team?
  7. How do you plan to involve and educate me as a parent to work with my child at home?
  8. Can you provide examples of cases similar to mine that you have treated successfully in the past?
  9. How do you stay current with new research and advancements in the field?
  10. Can you provide me with references or testimonials from other parents whose children you have worked with?
  11. What is your approach to addressing behavioral concerns or challenging behaviors that may be impacting my child’s occupational performance?
  12. How do you involve the child in goal setting and treatment planning?
  13. How do you provide feedback to the child and family on their progress?
  14. How do you provide parent training and education?
  15. How do you address sensory processing concerns and how do you incorporate sensory strategies into treatment?
  16. Are there any specific treatment methods or techniques you specialize in?
  17. How do you adapt treatment for children with multiple diagnoses or complex needs?
  18. How do you work with children with limited language or communication skills?
  19. How do you work with children with varying cultural backgrounds?
  20. How do you handle emergencies or crises that may arise during therapy?