Is it worth seeing an Occupational Therapist (OT)?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I have to go to the BIg City with J today week. While there, I thought I'd take the opportunity to see an Occupational Therapist (OT) as there's only one locally. The one I've found and who has a space that day does not specialise in sensory issues. She tells me she will test for fine motor skills, manual dexterity, visual-spatial skill and something called visual-constructive (?) skill. It's not cheap and I wonder... is this going to tell me anything useful? As far as I can tell, J doesn't have particular difficulties with fine motor tasks but there may be things I'm not seeing. And for the rest... does it mean anything to anybody? Would make more sense to see someone who specialises in sensory stuff?
    I wonder if I'd be better off saving my money and taking J to the swimming pool in the city? :) I feel somewhat disheartened with these constant tests that almost always have the result "within normal range" and don't help in any concrete way. But I am open to persuasion!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    JMO... (of course)... But, if J had motor skills problems - even if only affecting fine motor skills - I expect you'd know something was up. And even then... I'd be wary of paying for an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation that didn't include a major sensory component. Because some of the motor skills problems are prioperceptive - the integration between senses and motor planning/execution - and if the Occupational Therapist (OT) isn't up on sensory issues, you may be told that everything is fine when in fact it is not... Plus, from what you have described of J, sensory issues at some level are definitely a possibility.

    Doesn't sound like J had major problems learning to ride a bike (classic gross-motor skill). Don't recall if you've mentioned anything about problems with buttons, tieing shoes (does he do this? if so, how hard to learn?), using cutlery (cutting with a knife, controlling quantities of food on a fork/spoon, spreading butter, etc.). All of these skills are "in relation to peers" - don't expect a 5yo to handle knife and fork like a 15yo or adult.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your views, IC. J got on a bike without training wheels at the age of three and a half and just took off - don't think he has problems with gross motor skills. Tying shoes was a bit amazing (to me) - no-one taught him as such, he just started doing it himself recently, about a month or so ago. Buttons, etc, he seems to handle okay. Knife and fork is a bit more problematic - he doesn't want to use a knife, just fork, spoon or (preferably) hands...
    Yes, my feeling is that this Occupational Therapist (OT) is probably a waste of time, really. I think J definitely has sensory issues.
  4. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Malika.....when studying Occupational Therapist (OT) sensory integration is touched on briefly.....Any Occupational Therapist (OT) in todays time and age who doesnt know a bit of sensory stuff, is worrysome......What I am trying to maybe say: This Occupational Therapist (OT) might have knowledge of sensory integration? But to be able to say that you are SI needed to have done 4 yrs postgraduate coarse in SI...the theory and practical. I am not SI qualified....BUT I have done the SI theory coarse.....and as part of my treatment to pts I asked them to fill in the Sensory profile questionaire.....I did the scoring and was able to put together a basic sensory diet that the parents could do at home and apply in class......Going through all this with my own kids, both having sensory processing dysorder....I cant really say that their qualified sensory integration Occupational Therapist (OT)'s offered much more than I allready knew....I do think it depends on the Occupational Therapist (OT) ass she young, how much experience does she have re SI...has she

    been on coarses, exct. Sorry to Occupational Therapist (OT) can be specializing in SI and give a poor
    service.....or she can not be SI specializing and give great treatment.....BUT....what is important to find out: does this Occupational Therapist (OT) have the SI questionaire and knowledge to ask the
    right questions? Does she have enough knowledge to be able to put together an sensory
    diet? Does she have the equipment to test, for example hammock, swing, balancing board, ramp exct to test for SI stuff?
    If she doesnt have all of above and she says she will not be able to test for Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), then I would say....maybe give it a skip? Or if she has little knowledge, she might be able to say
    after testingthe basics like fine motor, exct, that she thinks he might have sensory issues
    that can be causing the outfall and refer you for further SI testing at sensory Occupational Therapist (OT)?
    You did mention possible ADHD.....this kind of behaviour could easily bebecause of
    sensory seeking I do think you are right to assume your child has SI
    underlying issues.....Remember....being unable to modulate or regulate emosional
    repsonse like being overly impulsive, crying, moodswings....all of that can also have
    sensory modulation basis.....The other thing that you might need to consider: It
    sometimes takes a few sessions for an Occupational Therapist (OT) to build a propper sensory profile of a once off wont be the perfect situation....For example my little dude seemed to
    be sensory avoiding, but now as some of the other sensory sensitivities is improving....he
    seems to be sensory seeking regarding movement....
    I heard some were talking about being able to fill in a form and get a sensory profile
    done by an Occupational Therapist (OT) on the internet.....not sure if this is possible...but costs plenty. In the
    meantime, maybe get yourself the book, called The out of sinc child....this book explains
    all the aspects of SI in kids and have plenty of questionairs for the parent to find out if
    their child has difficulties in sertain areas.....then you also get the book... The out of sinc child can have fun...for some sensory diets( activities to do with the child to try and keep his sensory system in the calm-alert state). There is also a new book about Sensory Intellegence by Anamarie Lombaard, that explains all of it VERY well.
    Hope this will help a bit!
  5. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    JMO, but I would not waste my time with an Occupational Therapist (OT) who is not skilled in sensory integration.
    From the brief description you give, J has no fine or gross motor issues. If you are going to spend some money in Occupational Therapist (OT) testing, take the time to find an Occupational Therapist (OT) who has training in sensory stuff.
    You also need to keep in mind that sensory integration is a slow process and J would need regular relevant therapy. And then you would follow through at home.
    You are not in an emergency situation, you don't have to settle for somebody who likely will not be very helpful.
    I agree with lovely, buy the "out of sync child".
    Also, if you decide to try it at home, keep an open mind. A sensory diet can seem a bit useless at first. But overtime, the changes can be amazing.
    I would say save yourself the disapointment and go have fun at the pool!