Occupational Therapists have a protocol, called an evaluation, to making sure they have enough information about the child completely before developing the proper treatment plans. Gathering information about the child before therapy helps tailor the treatment plans more effectively. So what might be some things that an occupational therapist might want to know during an evaluation?
Most occupational therapists like to take down a few pieces of key information when it comes to understanding their patient. They start with things like the client’s name, date of birth, date of report, date of onset, and when they were referred. The age at which the evaluation occurs is another important factor since all of the child’s skills will be compared to the normative ranges associated with their age.
The setting is also important. Children’s behaviors and skills may be dependent on the challenges or situations they face in their environment. These environments may include community-based, outpatient, inpatient, or home-based.
An occupational therapist might record a description of the setting and may refer the parent to another type of setting to encourage growth. The therapist might encourage the sessions to take place in or outside of the home, at a clinic, at school, or in a more social setting.
Other important pieces of data that the therapist will take down or ask about regarding health concerns are any other physical or mental challenges, what other therapies they might be involved in, or any health concerns that might affect lesson planning. For example, a child with a heart problem will be asked to do less aggressive activities than a child without a cardiac concern.
Findings can be noted through a complete narrative of the assessments administered, observations of how the child might interact and their behavior after their assessments. Once the assessments are completed, the occupational therapists can then provide a qualified discussion about their findings through their observations. Each result can then draw a comparison between where the child is currently, and where the therapist would like them to be.
After gathering the findings, the next step of the evaluation is ranking order of strength and weakness. This is to show where the child might have an easier time during their intervention, or some possible challenges that the child may come across.
The intervention plan is important to see what is recommended for your child. Another important factor is finding an activity that parents can do at home that can help promote progress and supplement the time they had with the occupational therapist. Doing continued activities or exercises at home can help cement the therapy lessons and speed up progress.
Lastly, the lesson plan helps the therapist keep each child’s goals at the forefront of each activity. Each OT needs to make sure that the activities address the issues that the child is facing developmentally and work to improve those areas.