How Long Will My Child Need Occupational Therapy?

For a parent who is new to the world of pediatric therapy, there is a lot of information that can be overwhelming. Learning the ins and outs of therapy can be confusing and daunting. One of the most common questions parents ask is, “How long will my child need occupational therapy?”

To many parents’ frustration, the answer is, “It depends.” Each child is different in regards to their skill level and needs. Some children may progress quickly while others may take more time. Some children have more needs than others, which will impact the length of time that occupational therapy is needed.

An occupational therapist will evaluate your child using standardized assessments and clinical observations. The therapist will interview parents, teachers, and any other important people in your child’s life. The therapist’s goal is to look at the child as a whole and determine their needs across all environments. After the evaluation, the occupational therapist will determine the frequency of therapy needed, but it is still difficult to provide an exact duration of your child’s therapy. Your therapist will also complete progress reports and re-evaluations to report on what progress has been made, to determine if the frequency of therapy needs to increase or decrease, is there still a need for therapy, etc.

Depending on your child’s diagnosis and needs, the duration of therapy varies. For example, children with autism spectrum disorder typically require therapy for a longer duration because they often have challenges in multiple areas of their life such as self-care skills, fine motor skills, or sensory processing, rather than a child who is only focusing on handwriting.

There is no concrete answer to the question, “How long will my child need occupational therapy?” Every child responds to interventions differently and progresses at different paces. Being in constant communication with your therapist is key. Over time, your therapist will tell you whether or not more therapy will be beneficial or if it is the right time to discharge your child. It can be helpful to think of discharges as taking a break or “pause” in therapy because you never know if your child will need services again as they continue to grow and develop.

Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow.