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what to expect during an ot evaluation

Whether your child has already been referred to an occupational therapist (OT) or you’re simply wondering if this would be a helpful route, there are a few things to know going into an occupational therapy evaluation. Occupational therapists are concerned about an individual’s level of participation in daily activities that are important to him or her. For many children and their families, this means that an OT will be curious about a child’s skills related to self-help, play, peer relationships, academics, and self–regulation. An occupational therapist will want to know what is important to you and set attainable goals that reflect priorities of the child and the family. Not all practitioners will gather this information exactly the same way but the general components of an Occupational Therapy evaluation will include background and developmental information, interview with parents or caregivers, assessment and observations directly with the child, and finally a comprehensive report that summarizes information gathered and sets goals for therapy based on those results

Once the OT has gathered necessary information from you, she will spend time with your child. This time is focused on building rapport, utilizing standardized assessments to identify developmental skill levels, and completing clinical observations that inform her of your child’s motor and sensory development, self-regulation abilities, and executive functioning skills. Specific skills that may be assessed include:

Visual motor and visual perceptual skills
Fine motor development related to dexterity, strength, grasp efficiency, range of motion, and bilateral use (how well the hands work together)
Gross motor strength, endurance, and coordination
Motor planning abilities
Self-help skills related to dressing, grooming, and feeding

Executive functioning skills related to attention, organization, flexibility, etc.
Self-regulation (how a child calms themselves or adapts to their environment)
Sensory processing abilities (how a child processes what he sees, hears, feels, etc. and produces an appropriate response)