Q - Can my child benefit from Occupational Therapy?
A – Below is a simple checklist that may help you to identify if your child may benefit from occupational therapy services.
Sensory management and self-regulation
- Always ‘on the go’ or struggles to sit still
- Finds it hard to concentrate
- Sensitive to noise, touch, crowds
- Easily upset or overwhelmed
- Nervous or anxious
- delayed school readiness
- Struggling at / dislikes school
- Slow to develop new skills or concepts
- Poor attention and concentration
- Poor retention of information
- Aggressive or impulsive behaviour
- Difficulty controlling emotions
- Lacks confidence and self esteem
- Avoids certain activities
- Need constant reminders to get ready or organised
- Often misplaces things
- Difficulty following instructions
- Reduced problem solving skills
Fine / visual motor skills
- Struggles with fine motor activities (drawing, cutting)
- Avoids or has difficulty with puzzles
- Complains of a sore hand
- Fatigues quickly
- Poor letter formation or messy writing
- Poor pencil grasp
- Difficulty putting thoughts on paper
Gross motor skills
- Uncoordinated / clumsy (bumps into things/people)
- Poor balance
- Difficulty sitting with an upright posture
- Difficulty riding a bike or learning to swim
Self care skills
- Difficulty with feeding skills
- Difficulty dressing, toileting, using cutlery, tying shoelaces
- Difficulty getting to sleep
If you are unsure if your child would benefit from occupational therapy, you can:
Q - What do Occupational Therapist’s do?
A – Paediatric Occupational Therapists undertake a minimum of four years university training to develop specialised skills in assessing children and identifying the underlying areas that can impact on their development, behaviour, learning and performance. This includes all areas of development, play, self care or learning skills.
Paediatric OT’s use play based activities to motivate and engage children to develop a variety of skills and overcome any areas of challenge that is hindering their performance. Although therapy can look and feel like play to the child, the therapist is enhancing the child’s brain, body and skill development, which supports learning, builds self confidence and sets the foundations for success
Paediatric Occupational Therapists target the following areas:
- General development
- Emotional and self regulation skills
- Attention and memory
- Planning and organisational skills
- Sensory processing differences
- Self care skills (sleeping, dressing, toileting and feeding)
- School readiness skills
- Prewriting/Handwriting skills
- Learning and academic pursuits
- Play and social skills
- Movement and coordination skills
- Fine and gross motor skills
More information can be found on our services page.
Q - How to access Occupational Therapy?
A – If you think your child may benefit from occupational therapy, you can:
- Phone or email us for an initial phone consultation to discuss your concerns and arrange a time for an assessment. Your child does not need a formal diagnosis or a referral from a doctor to access occupational therapy.
- You may be eligible for a care plan from your doctor to access Medicare rebated therapy sessions (discuss this with your GP).
Q - What happens next?
- An assessment will be arranged at a time and place which is most suitable for you and your child, including home, school or daycare.
- The results of the assessment and our recommendations will be discussed with you at a suitable time. A block of therapy may be recommended and will focus on the goals identified.
Q - What rebates & funding options are available?
There are a variety of funding options and Medicare rebates available for eligible families.
Helping Children with Autism Program
- Empowered Kids as a Panel provider under the Helping Children with Autism program. Children can access Occupational Therapy services as part of their early intervention funding, which is up to $12 000. The funding must be spent by the child’s seventh birthday. Children must receive an eligible diagnosis before six years of age to access occupational therapy services under this funding.
For more information about the Helping Children with Autism package, visit the Department of Social Services website: https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/disability-and-carers/program-services/for-people-with-disability/early-intervention-services-for-children-with-disability
- Children may be eligible for a care plan from their GP (e.g. Enhanced Primary Care Plan) which will entitle you to claim a Medicare rebate for up to five (5) individual Allied Health services (including Occupational Therapy) per calendar year. The current Medicare Benefit rebate is $52.95.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples may be eligible to claim a Medicare rebate for up to five (5) individual services Allied Health services (including Occupational Therapy) per calendar year. This is in addition to the five (5) EPC sessions. The current Medicare Benefit rebate is $52.95.
- Children with autism or pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) may be eligible to claim a Medicare rebate for up to four (4) assessment services, and up to 20 early intervention treatment services in total per child. Discuss a referral to occupational therapy with your child’s Paediatrician. The current Medicare Benefit rebate is $74.80.
For more information regarding the Medicare rebates and care plans, visit the Department of Health website: https://www.health.gov.au/
- Occupational Therapy services are covered by many private health insurance providers. Check with your private health insurance provider for more information about claiming occupational therapy services.
- Empowered Kids will transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme as it rolls out in the Gold Coast and Northern NSW regions.
For more information about the NDIS and it’s roll out, visit the National Disability Insurance Scheme website: https://www.ndis.gov.au/