Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a science-based habilitation and rehabilitation profession with the ultimate goal to maximize independence and the quality of life. Occupational therapists extensive educational background include (not limited to) anatomy & physiology, neurology, human development, other health sciences as well psychology/social conditions. They provide services to people of all ages. Occupational Therapy for Kidz specializes in working with infants and young children who have physical, developmental, behavioral and social deficits which may or may not be affecting their academics. Most common diagnosis are Sensory Processing Disorders, Autism, ADHD, Developmental Delay, Learning Disabilities, etc
2. What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Integration Disorder often times also referred to as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a disorder that describes processing in all sensations as it travels through the central nervous system. There are various types of SPD. A child may exhibit sensory discrimination issues in which they will have difficulty processing information from one or more of the five well-known "external" senses:
As well as the least known "internal" senses:
- proprioception/body awareness
- tactile/deep touch
The child can have normal sense receptors (i.e. vision and hearing are normal) but the information is processed differently in the brain. A child may present with more lower level processing issues which will manifest itself more behaviorally such as with those presenting with sensory modulation and/or self-regulation difficulties. This may be manifested (but not limited to) in a child that is anxious, fearful, impulsive, has poor response to people and difficulties engaging in their environment in a purposeful manner.
Sensory Integration therapy helps to facilitate the rewiring and/or the enhancement of the use of our neurochemistry and neuro-circuitry needed for sensations to be processed effectively through each level of the central nervous system. This can result in decreased or the elimination of distress, confusion, flight-fight responses, etc to develop a more organized central nervous system and therefore a child with more organized behaviors to efficiently acquire and utilize their developmental skills.
SPD can exist alone or it can exist with other neurobiological conditions such as Autism, PDD, attention deficit (hyperactive) disorders (ADHD), dyspraxia, dyslexia, etc.
3. How would I know if my child need therapeutic intervention?
There is always a parent's instinct that something just isn't right with their child. Maybe your infant isn't rolling, sitting, crawling or moving about with the greatest quality of motor skills. Your toddler isn't sitting long enough to play well with toys or interact well with people or he/she isn't moving enough. He/she is difficult to calm down. Your preschooler isn't scribbling, doing simple shape puzzles, may appear clumsy with little or big muscles or your school age child is having a difficult time to write, read, staying focused, moves too much, frustrates easy, have difficulty making and keeping friends, etc. You may have done your own homework by talking with your pediatrician or a teacher. You read up and did research on infant/child development. You asked many questions and then conclude that you have concerns regarding your child. Here at OT For Kidz we listen. We perform free infant screenings from birth to 12 months and/or offer consultations and then offer recommendations. If there are any significant concerns, you then have the option to pursue further services at OT For Kidz however there is never an obligation to pursue services with us. We offer various types of occupational therapy evaluations and ongoing therapy services.
4. What steps do I have to take to pursue private evaluation services?
A simple phone call will start the process. You will be given an appointment and a brief phone interview may be conducted. OT For Kidz evaluates children generally between birth to 12 years old. We offer various types of private occupational therapy evaluations which is dependent upon the age of your child and areas of concern. Depending on the results of the evaluation which include parent concerns determines if occupational therapy services are recommended. Feel free to give us a call at 718-949-5439.
5. Are their non-private options?
YES! Non-private Options are FREE!
OT For Kidz take referrals from Early Intervention (EI) agencies for ages birth to 3 years old
OT For Kidz has been awarded a contract from the NYC Department of Education to provide OT services for:
- Preschoolers (CPSE) for ages 3-5 years old
- School-age children (CSE via RSAs) for ages 5-12
Early Intervention (ages birth - 3)
Parents who are concerned about their infant or toddler may refer their child to any early intervention agency. OT For Kidz are contracted with specific EI agencies who will then walk you through the process of coordinating your child's OT evaluation through us and they will also help you obtain any other therapeutic service your child may need. If you choose an out-of-network agency we can try to accommodate your selection if you have them contact us to make the appropriate arrangements.
If your child already have an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) from an early intervention agency, you may make a request to your service coordinator to help you obtain services at OT For Kidz. A contractual process must be completed between that agency and OT For Kidz. Please take note that we must abide by your child's IFSP regarding established goal, frequency and duration of therapy sessions.
CPSE (ages 3 - 5) and CSE (ages 5-12)
Parents who are concerned about the development of their child may contact their school district to start the process. OT For Kidz is an
approved authorized provider from the Department of Education (DOE) to provide
occupational therapy services for pre-school age (ages 3-5) and school age
children (ages 6-12). We accept RSAs
(Related Service Authorization) from DOE.
RSAs are given to parents when their child has been approved for
occupational therapy services but a therapist is not available to provide these
services for the child in their school.
The parent must contact their district to start this process.
6. What should I expect during the evaluation process?
Your child should be dressed comfortably and well rested if possible. A standard evaluation may take up to 1 - 1/2 hours to conduct. However, other types of evaluations that OT For Kidz offer may take up 2-3 hours or span over a period of 2-3 days to conduct depending on the type of evaluation, concerns and the child's abilities. Our goal is that you walk away having a greater understanding of what's going on with your child, be provided with recommendations on what to do next and if necessary give you the option to have your child treated at OT For Kidz (Although there is no obligation).
7. What happens after the evaluation?
The parent always have the option to pursue occupational therapy treatment services with OT For Kidz although there is no obligation. Children requiring occupational therapy services in the state of New York generally may require a doctor's prescription. This may be mailed or faxed to us prior to initiating treatment sessions. For those evaluations authorized by the Department of Education or the Early Intervention Program, a copy of the report will be sent to these agents and then they will contact the parent(s).
8. What makes the occupational therapy treatment services different at OT For Kidz?
Whether your child is a private client or not, OT For Kidz emphasize "focused therapy" which entails not just practicing skills but treating your child at the level of processing breakdown within their central nervous system that may be hindering thatt child's optimal ability to developmentally obtain age appropriate skills. Sound therapy may be used to optimize the effectiveness of your child's therapy such as the iLs especially if auditory processing deficits are detected by an audiologist specializing in auditory processing disorders. Oculomotor, reflex integration, and other exercises may also be incorporated. Having an understanding in providing the right input, to the right deficit at the right time is crucial. For these reasons, you may immediately see the difference in how OT For Kidz conduct evaluations or treatment which is needed to establish the most appropriate intervention.
9. What are the benefits of receiving PRIVATE OT services at OT For Kidz services?
Although all OTs look at occupational performance and it's affect on functional abilities, occupational therapy services are only approved if the child's deficits are "big enough". This is greatly based on Quantitative measures (how big the problem based on normancy from standardized test) as opposed to the "Quality" of the problem (how a skill is done) and its impact on psycho-social health. Also, if services are approved either for early intervention or school-based intervention, therapy is generally limited to 1/2 hour 1-2 times a week. In some cases a child may receive as little as 1-2 hours a month. In either case, therapeutically this may not be frequent or intense enough to effectively and/or efficiently meet the needs of the child. Therapy is about changing how the brain works! Frequency, Intensity and Duration of input makes a difference!!
In addition, there may also be limitations with time, space, equipment, staff and the type of strategies that can be used to optimize your child's performance in a school or at home. Privately, OT for Kidz treatment sessions are based on the needs of the child. Therefore the number of days a week, duration of treatment session and type of intervention strategies are individualized. Parent education and parent participation in their child's progress is a crucial part in the child's progress.
10. What are the benefits of receiving OT services at OT For Kidz sensory gym as opposed to in school or in a home?
For the school-based age child, they get to spend more time in the classroom and for the child in early intervention, the parent has the option to have therapy outside the privacy of their home. Children experience therapy in an environment that is established to optimize their overall functional skills. Because here at OT For Kidz, we believe in "focus therapy" which is treating at the level of processing breakdown within the child's nervous system, it is typically reported by parents the changes they observe in their child's school performance as well as other environments including their "natural" environments such as home and/or community. Click here to review some of the parent's testimonials!
Our center was specifically designed to work with children of various ages, abilities and disabilities. Every equipment and therapeutic modality are specifically selected to address specific needs but more importantly here at OT For Kidz we have the knowledge base derived from many years of extensive training in sensory integration, a brain-based therapy, various certifications including auditory training and neurological based disorders. We continuously keep up on current research and strategies to maximize our abilities as developmental specialists. In addition, we are open and strongly support collaboration with other disciplines which includes nutritionist, pediatric audiologists, developmental optometrists, speech therapists, special educators, physical therapists, etc. OT For Kidz also has an open door policy with all other disciplines servicing the child which can be coordinated by a simple phone call.
11. What is an RSA?
RSA is a acronym that stands for Related Service Authorization. RSAs are given to parents from the district when their child who is in Kindergarten and higher grades and they have been approved for occupational therapy services but a therapist is not available to provide these services for them in their school. The parent then has the option to contact their child's district to obtain this RSA document. Once obtained, the parent will need to contact OT For Kidz to determine availability of a schedule. Schedules are based upon the availability of OT For Kidz clinician, the parent and the mandated sessions on the child's IEP and RSA. If your child is a preschooler, then you do not need an RSA, however, you must contact your child's district for them to send OT For Kidz an electronic authorization in the form of a transmittal. Once, we receive this authorization, we will contact the parent to start the process rolling. The scheduling process is all the same.
12. What are sensory systems and how do it relate to my child?
As human beings we all have internal senses (brings in information within the body) and external senses (brings in information from the environment). All senses bring information to the central nervous system (the brain & spinal cord). Always keep in mind, the brain controls all that we can and can't do. External senses are supporters of the internal senses and all must individually work well and work collaboratively together in order to acquire and optimize skills. If the central nervous system have difficulty processing info from ALL of these sensory systems the most obvious dysfunction is in the areas of behavior and social-emotional (i.e. poor interaction, eye contact, focus, impulsiveness, etc), although, it will also affect motor skills, language skills and cognitive skills. If the central nervous system have difficulty processing info from only one or some sensory systems then it affects the quality of skills in the area of sensory discrimination issues (see below). It takes a clinician with specialized training and experience in sensory integration to appropriately test, analyze and interpret results and to then determine an effective therapeutic plan of action with appropriate recommendations such what our clinicians do here at OT For Kidz.
13. What does a child look like with a sensory discrimination issue? Here are some examples:
- Difficulty with grasping skills - Difficulty Reading and Comprehension - Poor Crawling
- Difficulty writing; copying - Difficulty with Labeling forms & Memory - Clumsy Balance Issues - Difficulty forming letters/shapes - Difficulty following instructions - Difficulty with bicycling
- Difficulty with scissor skills - Slushy speech/oral motor skill - Immature reflexes
- Difficulty coordinating right and left -Weakness - Poor sitting/standing
- Poor whole body coordination - Difficulty in sequencing skills - Difficulty w/climbing
- Difficulty with construction play -Poor ball skills - Difficulty w/sports
- Hugs too hard - Moves/Plays too rough - High pain tolerance
- More, more, more....
14. Is there any research that support sensory processing disorders and SPD treatment?
The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation (SPD Foundation) amongst others helps to expand knowledge, foster awareness and promote recognition of Sensory Processing Disorder. Click Here for Research on sensory processing disorders.
15. What about Auditory Processing Disorders?
Auditory Processing is a type of processing disorder. Depending on where the breakdown is within the central nervous system will determine what type of auditory processing disorder your child may have which is determined by an audiologist specializing in auditory processing disorders. To clarify, the ears are receptors which takes in auditory information. The brainstem allows the auditory, visual and motor systems to work together. That information then travels to the various parts of the brain that is responsible for recognizing the tone of the message, decode it clearly, remember the sequence of the information and leads to understanding language. If there are auditory deficits at the peripheral, brainstem, or cortical levels, the ability to process what is heard is impaired. Because auditory must also work with other sensory systems it is very rare that an auditory processing deficit exists alone. It is generally part of a larger picture, a Sensory Processing Disorder. Click Here to read the research published in the "ADVANCE for Occupational Therapy Practioners" a professional magazine, which includes the use of sound therapy as part of the sensory integration therapy.
To learn more about the iLs (Interactive Listening System) click here.
16. Does iLs improve reading?
"We read with our ears” holds much truth, but is often ignored in reading programs. Decoding and phonemic awareness require efficient processing and storage of auditory information. iLs trains the auditory pathways for efficiency and accuracy through repeated sessions of iLs’ unique multi-sensory input. The subcortical visual motor system has direct neural connections to the auditory and vestibular systems. All three of these systems must work together for proper balance, coordination, reading and sound localization. iLs programs activate the auditory and vestibular systems along with visual tracking and visual perception exercises. In fact, ocular motor improvement ranks as one of the consistently strongest areas of change resulting from iLs programs used for reading, writing and copying skills.
17. Do you take insurance?
Although we do not take insurance, we do offer payment options for our private payers. This include discounted payment plans options. Upon request, we will also provide you with CPT codes that you may need to pursue reimbursement from your insurance company. We also accept RSAs and are approved providers under the NYS early intervention program in which then treatment is free of cost for the parent.