What is Occupational Therapy?
As stated on the American Occupational Therapy Association website, occupational therapy helps people “participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).” Pediatric occupational therapy is aimed to help infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents participate in their daily occupations, such as play, social interaction, school, community outings, and self-care activities with a focus on the individual’s ability rather than disability.
Pediatrics Plus offers an experienced staff of licensed occupational therapists who focus on helping children achieve independence in all needed areas based on their stage of life. Occupational therapy places a focus on the job of living for each child. For infants, occupational therapy may be related to the ability to eat and begin interacting with his/her caregivers. As an infant develops into a toddler, this job develops into play with a variety of toys to include reaching, grasping, and toy manipulation skills. Along with play, children are learning how to feed themselves as well as interact with other children. As the child develops into the preschool years, their job now involves dressing, participation in grooming and hygiene activities, and playing with peers with more imagination. The preschool age child also needs pre-kindergarten skills, such as cutting, drawing, and the ability to follow multi-step directions. Within the school years, the child refines these skills while developing further within handwriting, self-care, and community activities.
- Shannon S.
Our therapists provide a comprehensive evaluation focused on current skills related to:
- Grasping patterns
- Visual motor integration
- Hand and upper body use
- Manual dexterity skills
- Muscle strength through core and upper body
- Motor coordination and planning
- Visual skills
- Dressing skills
- Self-care skills related to grooming and hygiene
- Feeding skills (both ability to feed self and sensory based feeding difficulties)
- Sensory processing abilities
- Ability to engage in social participation
- Ability to function independently within the community
From the evaluation process, an individualized treatment plan is developed. Our highly trained therapists will implement each plan to include but not limited to the following treatment techniques:
- Fine Motor Skill Development
- Self-Care Skills
- Handwriting Without Tears
- Core and Upper Body Strengthening
- Sensory Processing
- SOS Approach to Feeding
- Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)
- Therapeutic Listening
- Therapressure Protocol
- Brain Gym
- Astronaut Training
- Visual Schedules
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
At Pediatrics Plus, it is very important to us that our therapists are trained in the latest and most evidence-based treatment strategies that will impact and provide results for your child and family. Our team of occupational therapists has individuals certified in the above-mentioned areas to ensure that your child receives excellence in their therapeutic services. Pediatrics Plus has therapists who are proficient in the diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder following their Level 1 Mentorship at the Sensory Therapies and Research Center (STAR) under Dr. Lucy Jane Miller. Furthermore, we have teams of therapists at each location that have completed Basic and Advanced Courses within Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding (SOS) to address sensory-based feeding disorders. All teams have a large percentage of OTs trained in iLs for implementation during clinic based therapy services. Teams are also available with specialized training in Handwriting Without Tears and Vision/Vestibular Integration. Individual therapists on staff have advanced training within approaches to therapy within Autism Spectrum Disorder, splinting fabrication and usage, infant feeding and treatment, and vision.
- Lauren K.
My child was recommended to have a therapy evaluation. Now what?
Contact Pediatrics Plus and tell us that you need to make a referral for your child to receive therapy. We will take in all pertinent information for your child and then contact your pediatrician’s office for a prescription for the evaluation. We will verify your funding source for eligibility and coverage of therapy evaluations. If you have TEFRA, AR Medicaid, SSI or AR Kids A, therapy evaluations are covered. If your funding is through AR Kids B, insurance, or Early Intervention, a representative from the Pediatrics Plus team will contact you to explain your benefits and provide additional funding options for you if needed. When we have received the prescription and approved funding, the referral manager or a therapist will then contact you to schedule the evaluation.
Why do you contact my insurance company to verify benefits?
Pediatrics Plus is committed to providing the best care for all families, and this includes being sure that your family is not put under financial stress due to receiving therapy for your child. We want all families to be aware of any out-of-pocket costs that may occur before services are rendered. We will do everything possible to provide additional funding options for you if your insurance company does not cover the therapy that your child needs.
My child qualifies for therapy. Now what?
After your therapist performs the evaluation, they have one week to turn the report into our administration office. If your child qualifies for therapy, we will send a copy of the report to you in the mail, as well as to your pediatrician for a prescription for treatment. If you have TEFRA, AR Medicaid, SSI or AR Kids A, recommended therapy sessions are covered. If your child has insurance or Early Intervention, we will then go through the steps to ensure proper funding for therapy services. This may mean several phone calls between you and our office; please remember that the prompt return of calls will ensure that your child’s services are started as soon as possible. After we have approved funding and received a new prescription for treatment, a therapist will contact you to set up the therapy sessions. Please note that the therapist who performed your child’s evaluation may or may not be the same therapist that will provide treatment.
My child qualified for therapy, and it has not started yet. What do I do?
Sometimes it can take up to 3-4 weeks after your child has been evaluated for therapy sessions to begin. The best way to keep this process moving is to stay in contact with our office. We are always happy to address any concerns or answer any questions that you may have.
How often will my child receive therapy?
The amount of therapy that your child will receive is based on your child’s specific needs that are determined by the evaluating therapist. The therapist will include recommendations for therapy in your child’s report; this report will also include specific goals that your child will be working towards during therapy sessions.
My child did not qualify for therapy but was recommended to be re-evaluated. What do I do?
If a child does not qualify for therapy services at the time of the initial evaluation, the therapist may recommend the child return in 3-9 months to be re-evaluated. If your child receives these recommendations and your pediatrician is in agreement, we will contact you at the recommended re-evaluation date to see if you feel that the re-evaluation is necessary. In order for us to perform the re-evaluation, we will have to request a new prescription from your pediatrician’s office. However, if at any time you feel that your child needs to be re-evaluated, please contact our office and we will be happy to assist you.