The simple answer is, “No.”
However, children are often referred by a Paediatrician, Health Professional or Educator.
Firstly, if the child is Pre-School age or younger, it is recommended that a Paediatrician or Specialist should be consulted prior to exploring the option of Occupational Therapy using Sensory Integration. For older children, discussing with their teacher about their ability to stay focused, learn, engage in play inside and out of the classroom, understand concepts of learning, motivation, behaviour and overall level of confidence are always good indicators of possible SI issues.
Once it has been established that there may be some underlying factors contributing to these difficulties, apart from the obvious, it is recommended that a Paediatric Occupational Therapist specialising in Sensory Integration be contacted in order to discuss the processes involved in determining whether or not your child has SI issues. This process is generic to all children who are referred for possible SI evaluation, and includes:
- Initial assessment appointment – This process usually involves 1 –2 sessions using standardised assessment tools and clinical observations.
- Parent and teacher questionnaires – forms for parents and teachers / childcare to complete to provide comprehensive and subjective information to support assessment findings, and to highlight areas of strength and weakness.
- Assessment report – includes the compilation of all subjective and assessment data, providing recommendations for referral to other professionals if needed, comprehensive home programs and suggestions for school / kindy / childcare.
- Sensory Integration Therapy (if appropriate) – weekly sessions in an OT clinic using age appropriate and challenging activities to promote Sensory Integration. A principle of this therapy is that ‘a child must be motivated and enjoy the therapy in order to elicit the adaptive responses crucial to improving Sensory Integration.’ Parents are encouraged to attend therapy sessions in order to receive ‘training’ in the level and type of stimulation they can provide their child with, in order to support the changes being made in therapy.
- Review – the effects of SI therapy are lasting. Initial improvements are often met with a period of instability and slight regression; however, the dips are smaller than the overall gains. 6 – 12 months after therapy is an appropriate time to review development and assess current level of functioning.
Depending on your level of cover, Occupational Therapy is covered. It is best to contact your specific health fund and ask what your rebate will be. The health fund rebate codes are:
- OT Initial Consult: 100 (for an Assessment)
- OT Treatment (individual): 200 (for general OT sessions)
- OT Treatment (group): 300
There are numerous Government funds available if your child fits the criteria. Depending on your child’s developmental needs, your GP or Paediatrician usually suggests which funding your child may be eligible to access. The most common ones are:
- CDM (Chronic Disease Management) or EPC (Enhanced Primary Care Plan):
Code 10958 / 5 sessions per year / rebate of $54.60
- FPS (Focused Psychological Strategies) or MHCP (Mental Health Care Plan):
Code: 80135 / 10 sessions per year / rebate $77.10
Code: 80136 / 10 sessions per year / rebate $77.10 (teletherapy)
- A135 (Helping Children with Autism):
Code 82010 / Initial Assessments under an Autism Referral / rebate $77.10
Code 82025 / 20 sessions per lifetime/ rebate $77.10
- National Disability Insurance Scheme:
Providing support for people with permanent disability. Please refer to: www.ndis.com.au to find out if you are an eligible participant.
ASSESSMENTS AT OTFC GROUP
Depending on your child’s age and developmental issues, the OTFC Assessment Team can choose from one or a combination of the following OTFC Assessment Tools such as: The Millers Assessment for Pre-Schoolers, Sensory Integration and Praxis Test, Beery (visual perceptual, motor & VMI), Bruininks Oseretsky Test of motor Proficiency, Ayres Clinical Observations, PEERAMID II, PEEX II, PDMS II, Bonney and Perks Handwriting speed test, Threshold speed of visual and auditory processing, Motivation Assessment Scale, Winnie Dunn sensory Profile, Sensory Processing Measure.
All parents receive a parent/caregiver questionnaire to complete prior to attending for an initial consultation/assessment. This information is important to return to OTFC prior to the date of your Assessment. Not only does it provide relevant developmental history and current functioning skill level, but it also assists in determining if the correct assessment has been booked in.
A copy of all other reports your child has had from other allied health professionals or specialists is also required.
All this information is used to help paint a complete picture of your child and how they behave and play in different settings.
Please bring all other equipment (such as reading glasses, hearing aids) that your child would normally need to ensure they are comfortable and if they are on regular medication, they continue to take it on the day of the Assessment.
Depending on the age of your child and what Assessment Tool is used, the cost of the Assessment will vary. Please call the OTFC Admin Team to obtain an accurate fee figure.
Depending on your child’s age, diagnosis and or concerns and what Assessment you have been booked in for, the Assessment Consultation usually takes place over one or two sessions. The Assessor will spend time with you clarifying any matters from the paperwork they have and will then get into “playing some games” with your child.
Parent involvement is encouraged in the Assessment Consultation, however, if the Assessor feels at any time your presence is disabling your child performing optimally, you may be requested to sit in the waiting room.
If all requested paperwork has been forwarded to the clinic prior to your appointment, the Assessor will have spent time reading all the reports and questionnaires so that when you arrive the time can be spent optimally. Please ensure you are on time for your appointments.
Depending on the age of your child, if your child has a diagnosis of any kind and which Assessment Tool is used, the length of an Assessment Consult can vary.
As a guide:
- If your child is under 5 years and 8 months and a standardised assessment can be used, the consult will be 1.5 hours.
- For children 5 years and 9 months, the Assessment Consult is divided into 2 sessions (allow up to 1.5 hours for each session)
- For children 12+ years, the Assessment consult is divided into 2 sessions (allow up to 1.5 hours for each session).
- Semi-formal assessments with developmental issues (ASD, chromosomal, global Developmental Delay) they will participate in a semi-formal assessment (allow up to 1.5 hours).
Often language and maturity level are a determining factor and it is important that parents/caregivers provide us with as much information as possible to assist in making that an effective process.
OTFC Group Assessment Reports include the compilation of all relevant subjective and objective assessment data, providing recommendations to other professionals if needed and comprehensive home programs. All reports are unique to the individual and not computer generated. A report is usually emailed electronically within 14 days to the family with referring Doctors copied in. We do not email to other health professionals or specialists for privacy reasons unless specific instruction to do so is given.
THERAPY AT OTFC GROUP
Dino Mennillo (Clinical Director), Michael Crisci (Clinical Manager), Mickaylah O’Donoghue (Team Leader) and Olivia Zoia (Team Leader) Eleanor White and Tim Richens perform all the Assessments at OTFC Group. All Assessors continue to do therapy sessions whilst Dino spends most of his time assessing, consulting, educating and supervising the OTFC Team. OTFC Group has a team of exceptionally qualified and talented Occupational Therapists who provide therapy to our clients from Monday to Friday (including Saturday for Waymouth Street). Our assessment team will allocate the child to the most appropriate therapist in order to maximise therapist/child relationship, to optimise therapeutic outcomes.
Each OT session is booked in one-hour slots and therapy usually lasts 50 minutes comprising of 1:1 time between your child and the OT as well as providing feedback to the family. This does not take into consideration the time it takes for the OT to plan for the session and write notes following the session, administration time to comply with legislation for those accessing Government Funds as well as any other correspondence to other health professionals or teachers.
At the outset of your child’s ‘block’ of therapy, a set of goals will be set by your therapist in collaboration with you. These goals will underpin the choices the therapist makes to focus on during each session. Depending on your child’s needs you will have between 5 and 20 weekly sessions (at which point, a break from OT is usually suggested). A break is needed to gauge how your child performs without OT intervention and to monitor their progress. Decisions regarding further OT will be suggested by the OT if required otherwise an appointment for a review will be suggested in 12 months’ time.
The fee structure at OTFC Group is split into the following categories: Private and NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). Depending on which category you fit under will determine the fee structure. Please discuss what options are available with the Client Services Team.
You are encouraged to attend with your child during a therapy session, however depending on each unique circumstance there may be times where the treating therapist may request that you remain in the waiting room.
Depending on the recommendations of the report and your child’s treating therapist as well as with your input, a discussion will take place about the level of involvement you would like the OT to have with the Teacher/Employer.
Given the current climate and where individual therapy at one of the practices may be limited, opportunities to be a part of some of the online programs or individual teletherapy sessions offered at the OTFC Group is an option. This would mean that a therapist would connect via zoom or Microsoft teams to carry out the sessions with a parent or carer supporting their child to engage in activities directed by the treating therapist online. The IT requirements for this are the following: access to the internet, a space for the child to work in, a device that has a camera and microphone and the app downloaded. The OT sends you an invite via email with the link attached and all you do is click on the link at the designated time to start the session.
If 1:1 teletherapy sessions are not achievable, we also have an Interactive Home Program or Home Therapy Program that could be implemented.
To assist with teletherapy sessions, the OTFC Group has introduced OT Therapy Boxes to assist in participating in the online therapy programs. These can be purchased online via our website and picked up from the OTFC clinic.
If a parent, carer or client is interested in discussing these options further, our admin team would be happy to answer any questions.
NDIS Clients - OTFC Group is an NDIS registered provider.
Before your first appointment:
- a copy of NDIS plan (service dates and goals)
- parent to provide consent to NDIA for OTFC Group Staff to discuss NDIS plan
- Service Agreement to be completed on first visit of therapy block
- Service booking (do be done by Admin Staff portal only)
There are different ways to pay for your supports:
- Portal Managed – the NDIA manages your funds – OTFC Group sends invoices through the portal to the NDIA and they reimburse OTFC within 7 days. You the participant are required to sign for your visit at each appointment.
- Agency Managed – you use a Plan Management Provider – OTFC Group sends invoices to your plan manager and they pay the invoice on your behalf – these invoices are to be paid within 7 days.
- Self Managed – OTFC Group requires payment on the day for those clients that are self managed and then you the participant can claim back from the NDIS portal.