What To Expect at a Pediatric Occupational Therapy Evaluation

PT uses pediatric therapy band with young child.

An evaluation by a pediatric occupational therapist typically includes an interview with parents or caregivers, observation of the child during play and communication, as well as a formal assessment of the child’s skills. During the evaluation, therapists are looking for signs that a child may need help in any of the areas mentioned above.

Following the evaluation, a written report is typically provided that outlines all of the findings and any recommendations for therapy. The therapist will also provide a summary of the child’s strengths and areas that may benefit from intervention. This report can be shared with other professionals who are helping support the family and the child.


Who is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist?

Pediatric Occupational Therapists (OTs) are health care professionals trained to assess and treat children with developmental delays, sensory processing difficulties, and other conditions. They are specially trained in the areas of fine motor skills, sensory processing, motor development, coordination, play skills, and self-care skills. In addition, they provide support to families and caregivers of children with special needs.

Principles Guiding the Operation of Pediatric Occupational Therapists

Speech therapist working with a young child.
Speech therapist working with a young child.

A pediatric occupational therapist employs a variety of principles and approaches to help children reach their potential. These include:

Utilizing a family-centered approach:

A pediatric occupational therapist takes the family’s values and preferences into account when providing interventions. This approach helps ensure that the child’s needs are met in a way that respects and honors their family.

Working to create an environment that is conducive to learning

A pediatric occupational therapist creates an inclusive and safe environment for the child to learn. This could include setting up a structured classroom, providing adaptive equipment, and other supports to ensure the child is set up for success.

Modifying activities to meet the needs of the child:

A pediatric occupational therapist is skilled in modifying activities to fit the individual needs of a child. This can include activities of daily living, such as dressing, as well as academic tasks like handwriting.

Educating the child and family on strategies to support the child

A pediatric occupational therapist can often provide tips and strategies to help a child be successful in their everyday activities.

Reasons for Pediatric OT Evaluation: Why would a child need an OT evaluation?

Here are certain situations that could call for a pediatric occupational therapy evaluation:

Developmental delays: 

A pediatric occupational therapist can assess a child’s development and provide strategies to help them achieve important milestones, including fine and gross motor skills, self-care tasks, social interaction, language development, sensory processing, and more.

Delays in school performance:

Pediatric Occupational Therapists can assess whether a child is struggling with academic tasks like handwriting, eye-hand coordination, concentration, attention, organization, or time management.

Behavioral issues: 

A pediatric occupational therapist can evaluate a child’s behavior and establish strategies to help with aggression, anxiety, restlessness in the classroom, or difficulty following instructions.

Sensory processing difficulties and low cognitive skills:

A pediatric occupational therapist can evaluate if a child is having difficulty with sensory processing and develop strategies to help the child cope with everyday tasks, manage their environment, and interact with others.

Inadequate gross and fine motor skills

A pediatric occupational therapist can evaluate the gross and fine motor skills of a child and provide activities to help with coordination, balance, agility, strength, and hand-eye coordination

Requirements for Pediatric Occupational Therapy Evaluation


For a pediatric occupational therapy evaluation, the child’s parent or guardian will need to provide:

  1. Information about the child’s medical and developmental history. This can be provided by the child’s physician or other healthcare provider.
  2. A list of activities and tasks the child is having difficulty with This information can come from the parent or caregiver, teachers, and/or other professionals who have observed the child.
  3. An accurate and vivid description of any physical and/or cognitive impairments the child may have. If possible, this should be in written form.
  4. Evaluation of the child’s current level of functioning, which can come in the form of observations of the child and/or standardized tests,
  5. A review of any previous interventions or therapies from other healthcare providers, teachers, and/or other professionals who have worked with the child.
  6. An assessment of the family’s readiness to support the child; this can come in the form of a signed consent form and should include an evaluation of any environmental factors that could impact the success of interventions.

Benefits of Occupational Therapy Evaluation

Here are some of the numerous benefits of an occupational therapy evaluation:

Improved Quality of Life:

Evaluation and assessment can help identify areas where occupational therapy may be beneficial and provide the best strategies for improving a child’s quality of life.

Enhanced Motor Development:

An occupational therapy evaluation can help identify potential areas for improvement in motor development, such as hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Improved cognitive function:

Evaluations can also help identify areas of cognitive functioning that may need improvement, such as problem-solving and reasoning skills.

Improved social skills:

An occupational therapy assessment can help identify areas where social skills may need improvement, such as communication, emotion regulation, and self-esteem.

Improved attention span:

Evaluations can help identify areas where attention span needs improvement, such as sustained concentration and focusing ability.

Average Cost of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy costs can range from $30 to $400 per session on a national average. The total amount you will have to pay out-of-pocket with a suitable insurance plan, however, once your deductible is reached, will normally be between $20 and $60. Without insurance, you could have to fork down anywhere from $50 to $155 on your own, or even more, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Physical Therapy Insurance Coverage


There may be insurance companies that provide full or partial coverage of your physical therapy expenses. Talk to your insurance provider about what types of programs they offer, as well as the costs involved in these programs and how you can get them covered by your plan. Additionally, look for providers who specialize in caring for patients with similar conditions to yours, as they may have experience working with insurance companies to get reimbursement for their services. Ultimately, the best way to find an insurance company that covers physical therapy is to do your research and compare different providers based on their rates, coverage options, and track record of providing quality care.
Limitations of Physical Therapy Insurance Coverage

The first thing you should keep in mind is that your insurance company likely has a cap for how much physical therapy they will pay for before they stop covering it altogether. This means that even if your doctor has recommended that you get two or three months of physical therapy, your insurance company may only pay for a few sessions. After that point, it’s up to you to cover the cost of your continued treatment if this is what your doctor recommends.

In addition to the fact that there are limitations on the amount of time covered by insurance, it’s also important to understand that not all physical therapists accept health insurance. This means that if you’re unable to continue your physical therapy sessions with the same provider, you may be forced to find another therapist who only accepts cash payments. As you can see, there are many potential barriers that could prevent you from getting the physical therapy treatment you need, even if your doctor recommends it.

Fortunately, there is a solution that can help you overcome these barriers and get the treatment you need. You can visit a cash-pay physical therapy clinic, which offers affordable rates for all of their services, including those provided by licensed therapists. Not only will this allow you to continue your treatment with little to no interruptions, but it also gives you access to some of the best physical therapists in the industry.


Ways to Get Affordable Physical Therapy

Even if you have to pay for it yourself, there are a number of ways that you can make physical therapy more affordable. One option is to consider enrolling in one of the many insurance plans or discount programs that cover physical therapy. This can help limit your out-of-pocket costs and ensure that you receive the care that you need.

Another strategy is to compare the rates and track records of different physical therapy providers in your area. Some providers may offer more affordable rates, while others may have a better reputation for providing high-quality care. By doing your research and selecting a provider that fits your budget and needs, you can make physical therapy more accessible and affordable for you.

Whatever strategy you decide to pursue, physical therapy can be a valuable tool in helping you achieve your health and fitness goals. Whether you choose to work with an in-home provider or visit a local facility, the right physical therapist can help you optimize your body’s function and movement. So why wait?

Invest in your health by finding a quality provider today!


Other Affordable Alternatives to Physical Therapy

There are many alternative treatments and therapies that can help with pain relief and improve mobility, often at a lower cost than physical therapy. Some popular options include chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and dietary modifications. Each of these treatments has unique benefits and may be more or less effective depending on your specific condition and needs.

So, if you are looking for a cost-effective way to manage your pain and improve your mobility, consider exploring some of these alternative therapies and talking to your doctor about which may be right for you.

Call us at 419.866.0555 to schedule a consultation.
Our specialists will help you chart a course forward.

A pediatric occupational therapist helps children aged 0–21 develop and maintain the skills that are needed for successful daily activities, such as learning, self-care, play, and socializing. They use a variety of techniques to assess children’s abilities and create individualized treatment plans that are aimed at improving the child’s overall functioning and quality of life. These plans may include activities such as sensory integration, motor skill development, play therapy, cognitive-behavioral strategies, or assistive technology.

Pediatric occupational therapy typically lasts as long as needed to help the child reach their goals. Treatment will vary depending on the individual needs of each child and can range from a few weeks to a year or more.

Yes, a pediatric occupational therapist can help your child. They can assess the needs and abilities of your child, develop personalized treatment plans to address any challenges, and provide strategies to help your child reach their goals.

The cost of a pediatric occupational therapy evaluation may vary depending on the specific services provided, the setting in which they are provided (clinic or home), and the therapist’s experience. Generally, most evaluations range between $180 and $500 for an initial assessment, with subsequent visits costing less.

Most children actually find pediatric occupational therapy to be a fun and enjoyable experience. The therapist may use play-based activities, games, or art to engage the child and make them feel comfortable. These activities will be tailored to their individual needs, helping the therapist gain a better understanding of your child.

Yes, a pediatric therapist typically has special training in the areas of child development, behavior, and social skills. They will understand the unique challenges that children face and be able to adapt their therapy services to meet the individual needs of your child. They may also have additional training in areas such as play therapy, sensory integration, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

That depends on your insurance provider and the type of coverage you have. Most insurance providers will cover at least some portion of pediatric therapy services, but you should check with your provider to find out exactly what is covered before scheduling any services.