FAQ

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What to Expect at your (POTS) Pediatric Occupational Therapy Evaluation/Screening

POTS occupational therapists are concerned about your child’s level of participation in daily activities that are important to him or her at home, in school and in the community. For many children and their families, this will include skills related to self-help, play, peer relationships, academics, and self–regulation. Your occupational therapist will want to know what is important to you and set attainable goals that reflect priorities of the child and the family. The Occupational Therapy screening or evaluation will include background and developmental information, an interview with parents or caregivers, a sensory profile and assessment and observations directly with your child. An evaluation will include a comprehensive report that summarizes the information gathered, and makes recommendations and sets goals for therapy based on those results. A screening includes a phone or in person meeting to discuss recommendations and establish goals, but does not include a written report.

Background and Developmental Information

We will request information on birth and developmental history prior to meeting your child for the first time. If you are able to provide other records that you believe would be helpful, such as reports from previous assessments, teacher summaries, or other pertinent medical history, include these when you submit your Occupational Therapy Intake Packet to help us generate a complete picture of your child.

Parent/Caregiver Interview

An interview with the parent or primary caregiver via written forms and in person is an extremely important component of the evaluation process. You are the leading expert on your child. The information you provide is vital in providing a history, identifying priorities and setting realistic goals that will make a difference in your child’s life. The occupational therapist will ask you about your main concerns and what you hope to accomplish through occupational therapy. Depending on the issues you identify, he/she will want to know more about your child’s adaptive behavior such as level of independence in self-care, proficiency in fine and gross motor tasks, behavior, social and play skills, self-regulation, and sensory processing. The information you provide will allow the therapist to choose the most appropriate assessment tools when she meets with your child.

Assessment and Observation with the Child

The therapist’s first goal is to build rapport with your child. Depending on the reasons for referral she will use standardized assessments to identify developmental skill levels, and perform clinical observations of your child’s motor and sensory development, self-regulation and activities of daily living. Specific skills that may be assessed include:
Postural control and core strength
Eye-hand coordination
Visual perception
Fine motor skills including strength dexterity, grasp, coloring, cutting, handwriting and bilateral coordination
Gross motor strength, endurance, and coordination
Motor planning
Self-help skills, such as dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting and feeding
Self-regulation (how your child calms themselves or adapts to his/her environment)
Sensory processing (how your child processes sound, sight, touch, movement, and other sensations, and responds to them)

Informing Conference

If you requested a screening, following your child’s session, either in the office or on the phone, the occupational therapist will review the results of your child’s history, testing and observations, and formulate a follow-up plan with you. Recommendations may include occupational therapy sessions, a home program, or community based programs. Goals and priorities will be established based on the child and family’s strengths, challenges and needs.

Evaluation Report

If you requested an evaluation a report will be produced, which summarizes all of the pertinent information gathered, the clinical impressions of the therapist, recommendations, and treatment goals that address identified concerns while capitalizing on the child and family’s strengths. Depending on your child’s needs, the report may include recommendations for a home program, sensory diet, after-school activities and classroom modifications
Why would I need a written report? A written report is not necessary to begin occupational therapy services at POTS. Parents may want a written report to share information with other professionals such as a pediatrician, speechtherapist or teacher. Occasionally reports are requested by insurance carriers, but most often they send questionnaires that need to be filled out. Some parents request a written report becausethey integrate information best when it is written, or want a record of their child’s performance as a barometer for change. When attempting to get occupational therapy services covered by a local board of education, ask in advance if a written report by POTS will be accepted
What type of testing takes place?
Depending on the age of the child and the presenting problems there is usually a combination of standardized testing, clinical observations, and standardized sensory processing questionnaire (GOES ON GETTING STARTED TOO)
My child was already evaluated.
Must I have another evaluation? Typically, the therapist will review any documentation on your child's situation that is available, including a previous evaluation. If the evaluation was conducted more than a year ago, another evaluation may be recommended. This will be determined by the therapist. In order to get to know your child and set treatment plans, a baseline assessment will be necessary during the first visit(s). None of our testing is painful or invasive.
Will the therapist give me some tips for me to utilize at home, a sensory diet, etc.?
The purpose of an evaluation or screening is to determine your child’s level of functioning and identify underlying skills that support or detract from his/her performance. If there is time we will be delighted to give you some tips and tricks to start working with your child at home. Home programs and sensory diets are developed over the course of the first few sessions and are updated frequently as you give us feedback about what is working for you and your child at home and in school.
Am I allowed to sit in the room during an evaluation or screening?
You are the parent, and you know best how your child will function in a testing situation. You are always welcome to accompany your child into the testing rooms. With younger children this is encouraged, as you know your child best and issues of separation can be minimized. We are especially happy to have you in the testing room if your child will pay full attention to the examiner and follow his/her instructions. We ask that you sit as quietly as possible so the examiner can develop rapport with your child and begin building a therapeutic relationship. You can leave the room at your discretion, if you feel you are a distraction to your child.
Many rooms have one-way mirrors, so that you can observe the assessment if that is your preference, or you can relax in the waiting room. In either case, we will leave a few minutes to spend with you after the session. We do not like to discuss children in front of them, so if the situation or timing does not permit a full discussion, please make a phone appointment before you leave the office and we will discuss the results of testing with you as soon as possible.
Our goal is to help you and your child feel as comfortable and playful as possible. While we understand that the process is stressful for all, we do our best to minimize stress and maintain open communication.

What happens during the initial visit?

On the day of the appointed first visit, you and your child will enter our parent and child friendly waiting area. Please make yourself comfortable until your therapist greets you. You will then go to a private room where the therapist will begin getting to know you and your child. If your child is school age, you may opt to remain in the waiting area while the therapist is meeting with your child. Assessment with children often looks like play. Young children often do not realize that they are being evaluated and many leave the session asking when they can come back and play. The first sessions(s) are designed to assess your child's level of functioning in both gross and fine motor skills, sensory processing, daily living and play skills, and to determine factors that may interfere with age appropriate skill acquisition. Generally the sessions are about 1-2 hours and combine structured and unstructured activities.

What should I tell my child to expect?

Do I need a prescription from my child's physician for occupational therapy? Occupational Therapists are licensed by the State of New Jersey and do not require written physician's prescription for assessment and treatment. A written prescription may be helpful to assist you in collecting reimbursement from your insurance carrier if you do have a medical diagnosis prior to your initial visit. Should you have a prescription, we suggest that you make a copy of the prescription and sub
mit the original to the insurance company. Save the copy for your records. The therapist can also keep a copy in your child's file. A prescription does not guarantee reimbursement.
Do you do Independent Occupational Therapy Evaluations? Yes, under certain circumstances. We reserve the right to accept or reject these requests depending on our availability and timing requirements.
Do you administer the Sensory Integration & Praxis Tests (SIPT)? Several POTS therapists are certified to administer the SIPT. We do so upon request, or when we judge that the results of testing will be critical in guiding your child’s therapy.

Scheduling

How many sessions will my child need per week?
Typically children come once or twice a week for 45 minutes, but more or less may be recommended based on the results of the evaluation or screening.
  How long will my child need OT?
I wish I could answer that question! Length of treatment depends on numerous variables including the child’s age, the child’s strengths, scope and complexity of the problem, and frequency of attendance, to name a few. In my experience I have found that when therapy is indicated twice a week, children who come twice a week generally improve MORE THAN twice as fast as children who have therapy once a week. We can not predict in advance how rapidly an individual child will respond to treatment, but as a rule of thumb, when the child is improving rapidly, that is the time to provide more therapy, rather than back off.

Do you have a waiting list?

There is high demand for therapy after school hours. Children with flexibility in their schedules can usually be accommodated more rapidly. Our office manager will work with you to find an available time slot (s). Contact us (and leave your email and daytime phone number) and we will return your call promptly. At POTS, to ensure our standard of care, we do most of our therapies on a one-to-one basis with highly skilled and experienced therapists. We are committed to providing the best treatment for your child's specific needs. Scheduling is based on the time of day the child is available, child's needs, family schedule, therapist's schedule and therapist's areas of specialization.

What are your hours of operation?

Monday through Thursday: 7:45 am - 6:30 pm
Fridays: 7:45 am-3:00 pm in the winter and 6:00 pm in the summer.
Saturdays: Closed
Sundays: 9:00 am- 12:30 pm
POTS is open 12 months a year. Summer schedules are sometimes altered to accommodate children’s camp schedules, vacation schedules and therapist vacations

What is your policy regarding attendance and cancellations?

All appointments must be cancelled 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment time or you will be charged a cancellation fee. If you do not show up for an appointment you will be billed in full for the session.
Effective care requires a commitment from the child's family and therapist. Regular attendance is crucial for therapy sessions to be meaningful and effective. Working together as a team, we can accomplish the best outcomes for your child and family. If your child is absent from therapy 25% of the time, or more, for two consecutive months, or there is an extended pattern of non-attendance, POTS may discontinue your appointed time. We encourage you to communicate frequently with your therapist in order to best accommodate your child's particular needs and to try to prevent disruptions in your child’s care.

Others

How can I get my school district to cover the services? A parent interested in attempting to get occupational therapy services covered by their school district will first have to contact their child’s case manager with their concerns. Upon approval, our office will then contact the special services department to obtain a purchase order. Once we receive the purchase order, you can schedule your child’s evaluation and/or treatment sessions.
Do you accept insurance? We are an out-of-network provider and do not accept insurance. Payment in full is due at the time services are rendered, including but not limited to evaluations, screenings, treatment sessions, and school observations.
Can I submit a claim to my insurance carrier? Yes. In order to be reimbursed, you would need to have out-of-network benefits and also have met your deductible if applicable.
How does the submission to the insurance company work? You would obtain an insurance claim form directly from your insurance carrier and complete it as directed. You would then submit the claim form along with the PAID statement/s you receive from our office to your insurance carrier. The claims address will be located on the back of your insurance card.
Do you submit insurance claims for me? No. Because we are an out-of-network provider we DO NOT submit insurance claims on behalf of our patients.
What forms of payment do you accept? Cash, credit card or check. Credit cards issued by a health spending account are also accepted.
Do I have to pay at each session if my child comes more than once a week? Payment needs to be made at the time of each session or at the beginning of the week, for all sessions that are scheduled for that week. Can you bill be weekly, monthly, etc.? We bill each session individually, but you can remit payment at the beginning of the week or month for the following week or month
Can I submit payment over the phone? Yes. If your child comes with someone other than a parent, payment can be submitted over the phone the same day as the session.
Can I keep my financial information on file for you to bill me after each session? Yes. the information can be kept securely in encrypted software, but we prefer to swipe your card at each session.

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