Occupational Therapy FAQ's

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy services assist people of all ages to perform the functional tasks that normally occupy their lives. The “occupation” of childhood is to become successful at school and play, and to develop the skills necessary to become functional and independent adults. These skills include:

  • Regulation of arousal level in order to sustain attention,
  • Refinement of sensory discrimination and processing,
  • Refinement and development of motor skills,
  • Development of communication skills,
  • Appropriate social interactions,
  • Language and cognitive skills,
  • Age-appropriate self-care skills, and
  • Self-concept.

Play is the medium most often used in pediatric occupational therapy. The expectations for the level of development of any of these skills will vary depending on the child’s age. It is critical to remember that all of these skills are developing simultaneously. Impairment of one area is likely to negatively impact other developmental areas.

Could my child benefit from occupational therapy?

At every stage of growth and development there are typical skills and behaviors that are expected to be present in a useful and refined manner to allow us to perform certain functional tasks. Follow the links below to access a developmental checklist for the age range that is appropriate to your child. Check off any areas applicable to your child. If three or more areas are checked, occupational therapy services may be warranted. Contact our office for an intake and to schedule an evaluation to further determine your child’s need for services.

My child receives OT at school. Do they need additional services?

School based therapy services provide children with a tremendous advantage to address goals that relate solely to their education and the school setting. However, we believe that it is also imperative to address all other areas of development as well as to identify what factors are causing developmental delay and therefore impact the way children engage in their occupations. At Harmony Pediatric Therapy, we believe that children are an integral part of a family unit and that the family dynamic plays a significant role in our growth and development. Because all areas of development are inter-related, it is necessary to address each area to facilitate appropriate and efficient performance of all occupations. For example, when a child has difficulty with handwriting, we assess if the challenge is related to decreased motor dexterity, tone and/or strength or visual-perceptual skills. We are then able to address the root cause of challenges to remediate the underlying skill areas and to provide the necessary “building blocks” required for development.

What types of services do you provide?

We provide individual treatment sessions in a one-on-one style using a variety of treatment techniques and approaches. We believe it is essential to provide services with one therapist and one child per treatment room to allow us to adapt the environment and the task to meet the child’s specific needs. We also offer treatment groups for specific skills sets, as well as consultative services for parents, teachers caregivers and other professionals. Please refer to the tab “Our Services,” found on our main page, for additional information.

Do I need a prescription from my child’s pediatrician?

Occupational therapists are licensed by the state of New Jersey and do not require a physician’s prescription for assessment and/or intervention. If you have a prescription for services based on a medical diagnosis, it may assist you in receiving reimbursement from your insurance company.

Will you contact their teacher, speech therapist, psychologist, etc.?

Our goal is to help facilitate your child’s harmonious and successful development. Collaboration of treatment goals and consistency of expectations between therapist, child, parents and other professionals is helpful in facilitating progress. If they are receiving services from other therapists or in a school-based setting, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with those professionals. Consultation services for more in-depth treatment planning and collaboration are available and can be scheduled by contacting our office.

For how long will my child require therapy services? How often will they come to therapy?

Every child is unique, with individual qualities, needs and behaviors. Therefore, every therapy experience is unique. The one-on-one method utilized at HPT allows us to very specifically address your child’s needs in the manner best suited to them to help maximize the rate and degree of progress achieved. Consistency of services is also essential to maximizing progress. Therefore sessions are scheduled on a regular basis. Most children attend one or two 60-minute sessions per week. The therapist’s recommendation for continuation or termination of services will be based on progress towards goals and the child’s ability to meet their needs and demands.

Do you take insurance? When is payment due? What forms of payment do you accept?

Harmony Pediatric Therapy does not participate in a provider program with insurance companies. At the end of each session, we will provide you with an itemized billing receipt. This bill can then be used to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement of out of network services. We suggest you contact your insurance company to determine your out of network coverage and documentation requirements to ensure you receive appropriate reimbursement in accordance with your policy. Payment is due on the date of services. We accept cash or check.

Do most insurance companies cover occupational therapy services?

Coverage for services depends on your individual policy. Many insurance companies offer a significant percentage of reimbursement for out of network provider services. Most families we work with receive an average of 70-80% reimbursement. We suggest you contact your insurance company to determine your out of network coverage and documentation requirements to ensure you receive appropriate reimbursement in accordance with your policy.

Are parents involved in the treatment session?

Harmony Pediatric Therapy believes that children are part of a family dynamic. We use a family centered approach that allows the whole family to work together to create a well balanced environment. We strongly encourage parental involvement in the entire therapy process. Therapists will spend a few minutes at the end of each session with parents or caregivers. This provides the opportunity for therapists to collaborate with parents on an on-going basis to assess progress, review goals and to offer strategies and activities that can be used outside of the therapy sessions to maximize progress. We also recognize that families have many obligations and commitments and are often unable to be available at the end of sessions for discussion, or that parents may be interested in additional education and discussion. Consultation services for more in-depth treatment planning and collaboration are available and can be scheduled by contacting our office.

What should we expect on our first visit? How can I prepare my child?

We recognize that the process of beginning a therapy program can be overwhelming. We strive to make this process as simple and enjoyable as possible for you and your child. On your first visit, we will greet you in our comfortable, welcoming waiting area and will introduce you to our facility and our staff. We will provide you and your child with a tour of our treatment areas and offer an explanation of how the assessment will proceed. Assessments are typically conducted over the course of two 60-minute sessions. The therapist will spend approximately 45 to 50 minutes with your child to begin the assessment. At the end of the session, the remaining time will be spent with the parent to briefly discuss our preliminary observations and to review with you our office policies. The assessment will be completed during your second visit and will be followed by a family meeting to review our observations and assessment scores, to discuss potential treatment goals and strategies and to establish a treatment program, if applicable.

The therapy process can be overwhelming to children, as well. Helping them to know what to expect can help to alleviate some of their anxiety and fears. We have created an environment that is welcoming and child friendly, with colorful murals of animals and outdoor scenes and use an approach that is accepting and light-hearted. As play is the primary occupation in childhood, we often describe to children that they are coming to HPT to play with our staff, so we can teach them fun and easy ways to do things they do everyday. We strive to create an environment that fosters growth, learning and overall happiness.

Can I bring my other children to the appointment?

Siblings are always welcome in our practice. Families are invited to spend time in our waiting room or to take advantage of the shops and stores near our facility.