Frequently Asked QuestionsA list of questions we commonly receive.
Will insurance cover the cost of the evaluation and/or treatment?
While we are not in network with any insurance companies, we do have a billing partner who will call your insurance company to gather information about your insurance benefits. They will contact you to explain your benefits and the billing process in more detail ahead of your first appointment. Our billing department will also obtain any necessary authorizations so that your child can be evaluated or receive ongoing therapy at our practice. Finally, each time your child is seen at our office they will submit claims electronically on your behalf. Any balance on your account will not be collected until after insurance processes each claim.
How do I know if my child needs an evaluation?
We typically receive referrals from pediatricians, teachers, and other healthcare professionals (speech language pathologists, psychologists, etc.). When parents call, we schedule approximately 20-30 minutes to talk about the reason for the referral as well as gather information about a child’s strengths and challenges. At that point, if we feel an evaluation is warranted, we will make a specific recommendation about the type of testing and let you know the specific cost associated with it.
How can I prepare my child for an evaluation?
Preparation for the evaluation largely depends on the child’s age and awareness about what is challenging for him/her. Elementary school aged children tend to be aware of where they are struggling. In this case, parents can explain that the evaluation will help identify why those particular activities are difficult and will help the evaluator design a program so that they become easier over time. Younger children may not have the awareness to make these connections. In this case, it is best to let children know that they will be going to a place to ‘play’ and that the evaluator will be asking them to do many different games with their big muscles and small muscles. Games will take place in a gym and at a table. Children of any age should be encouraged to try their best and follow instructions.
Will I be able to watch the evaluation?
We have an open door policy when it comes to evaluations. Parents are welcome to sit in or wait in our waiting room. The decision is at the parent’s discretion and can be made in the moment. Parents know their children best. Some children are comforted by the presence of a parent and this is not a distraction. However, some children may be anxious by having an ‘audience’ and/or may exhibit negative behaviors that may not occur in the presence of the evaluator alone. If a parent chooses to sit in the session, we ask that he/she does not jump in and help his/her child with answers or physical assistance unless directed to do so by the evaluator. It is important that we see what your child can do independently.
Therapy was recommended for my child. How long will it last?
The duration of therapy varies for every child. This largely depends on test scores, the number of areas being addressed, frequency of services, and carryover at home and school. Children also vary in their motivation to participate in therapeutic activities in the clinic, at home, and at school. The goal is always to help children move out of therapy and into age-appropriate activities with their peers as soon as possible.
What can I do to help my child at home?
In addition to providing a review of the session, therapists will always provide activities and recommendations for home programming. Communication is important so that therapists can continue to provide activities that are both therapeutic and motivating for children to do at home with their parents. Homework is never required, but most parents find that the activities are not a huge burden in terms of cost and time.
My child is struggling at school. How can we bridge the gap between therapy and school?
Per parent request (and with written permission), therapists can reach out to teachers via email or by phone. Through this ongoing communication, therapists and teachers can share information and come up with some ideas and strategies that are feasible for the classroom in order to help children experience more success. In addition, teachers may provide useful information about goal areas that can be addressed in therapy. It may be helpful to schedule a school visit so that the therapist can see the classroom first hand and observe how the child is functioning during more challenging parts of the day. This will allow the therapist to make more specific recommendations for the teaching team.
How is occupational therapy different from physical therapy?
Occupational and physical therapy are closely related for the pediatric population. Both disciplines serve to increase independence and participation and look at the whole child. Physical therapists focus on improving the musculoskeletal system so that children can engage in age-appropriate activities which promote health, wellness and socialization. Occupational therapists focus on improving function so that children can participate in activities related to school, self-care, and leisure.
My child receives therapy services through early intervention/school. How is this different than therapy in private practice?
Early intervention services and school-based therapy services fall under the educational model, whereas therapy in the private sector falls under the medical model. Therefore, educationally-based therapists are restricted to working only on goals established in the IFSP or IEP process. The goals are based on what is needed for a child to be independent in the school setting, typically fine and visual motor skills. Private therapists are free to use a variety of frames of reference to guide treatment with the goal being to improve outcomes in any area that is falling outside of the typical range.