FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does an Occupational Therapy Assessment involve?
At Toronto Children’s Therapy Center, Occupational Therapy (OT) Assessments are streamlined based on the concerns of the parents. Generally speaking an OT is able to evaluate 1 or 2 areas of concern identified by the parent within the first session. In certain cases, if there are multiple concerns that need to be evaluated a second session may be required. Common areas of concern include fine motor, printing, gross motor, or sensory.
The following is an example of the skills that an OT would evaluate in an assessment for fine motor and printing:
- Fine motor skills (hand strength, coordination, in-hand manipulation and dexterity)
- Scissor skills
- Visuo-motor integration
- Printing/writing/letter formation
- Pencil grasp
- Gross motor skills (e.g. balance, bilateral coordination, strength)
- Sensory processing concerns (e.g. tactile and auditory defensiveness, sensory seeking behaviors, attention etc.)
Each session is between 30 to 45 minutes depending on the child and areas of concern. The OT will provide the parent with verbal feedback and recommendations for treatment. Standardized assessments are scored by the Therapist after the assessment. A written report outlining the assessment results, observations, and recommendations can be provided upon request. There is an additional fee of $120 for the written report.
2. How many sessions will my child need before I see improvement?
The number of sessions varies from one child to the next depending on the severity of the concerns and the goals established for therapy. We recommend that the family commit to 6 to 8 sessions in order to see improvement. Like going to the gym, it’s difficult to see progress within the first two to three weeks.
Parents can stop the program at any time if they are not satisfied with their child’s progress.
3. What type of intervention would work best for my child, group or private sessions?
The type of intervention that a child may benefit from varies from one child to the next. Here are some benefits and disadvantage to both:
Benefits to Group:
- Social interaction with peers at the same skill level may boost your child’s self-esteem
- Groups are more economic than private therapy
- Students are frequently more motivated to participate in activities with their peers
- The printing program lesson plan is established. Individual goals are established for each child, however, the lesson plan pace is maintained based on group progress rather than individual progress.
Benefits to Private Therapy:
- The lesson plan can be individualized to each student and skill level. Therefore, if your child is able to progress at a faster pace than the established program, then the program will be modified accordingly. If your child requires extra time or assistance to consolidate a skill, the lessons can be provided at a slower pace.
- Each treatment session is specifically designed to meet all of the Occupational Therapy goals established in consultation with the parent and student.
4. Will my child be bored if he/she has to print for 45 minutes at every session?
Your child will not be expected to print for the entire session. He/she will learn how to print using various mediums such as chalkboards, Play Doh, and games, after which they will practice what they have learned with paper and pencil. They will also work on their various fine motor skills by playing fun games, exercises and fun crafts. Depending on the goals established, your child would also participate in gross motor activities that facilitate printing skills. For example, a child with poor sitting posture when writing would benefit from games and exercises that promote tummy and back strength. Our Occupational Therapists will keep the session positive and fun by catering to each child’s unique interests in order to encourage their participation throughout the session and facilitate the learning process.
Neurodiversity: an umbrella term that describes groups of people with mixed neurotypes; it describes the fact that biodiversity exists and everyone’s brains and minds operate uniquely!
Neurodivergent: describes those whose brains have specific and sometimes significant differences to what is considered within ‘typical’ parameters. These differences – which have their own unique strengths and challenges – can be experienced in ADHD, learning disabilities and Autism (to name only a few!)
Neurotypical: describes those who are not neurodivergent, or whose neurological development are within accepted and expected ‘typical’ parameters.
6. What is neurodiversity-affirming practice?
Neurodiversity-affirming practice is informed by the neurodiversity-affirming paradigm, which suggests that all brains are unique and therefore, all are equal in the worth and value they bring to the world. Differences and variations in human thinking are natural, because no two brains are the same!
When a person’s differences result in challenges in day-to-day functioning, we must take an approach that is NOT trying to change the person, but rather trying to understand and educate about their differences and finding ways to change the environment and social expectations, while building individual skills (i.e., confidence, self-efficacy and autonomy).
Neurodiversity-affirming therapy is not therapy without challenges. Rather, it is about working with you and your child to identify, explore and discover a just-right-challenge so that your child can flourish in ways that work for them.
Reference: Kornblau, B. L., & Robertson, S. M.. (2021). Guest Editorial—Special issue on occupational therapy with neurodivergent people. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75, 7503170010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2021.753001
7. How are we committed to practicing in neurodiversity-affirming ways?
Right now, TCTC is committed to updating our clinic processes through ongoing self-reflection, education and review of our welcome letters, intake forms and questionnaires. We are modifying the language and resources we use and make available on our website, to ensure they are reflective of a neurodiversity-affirming lens.
We acknowledge that to become authentically neurodiversity-affirming, we must continue to learn, grow and evolve as a team and with our clients and families. We are life-long learners too! We are committed to providing care that is respectful and empathetic and will prioritize you and your child’s autonomy in their journey with TCTC.