When a doctor, occupational therapist or some other healthcare worker has recommended occupational therapy for your child, the doctor will write up a rehabilitation plan. The therapy can be paid by Kela or by your hometown. It is also possible to attend therapy at your own expense.
If the doctor recommends the rehabilitation to be paid by Kela, there is an application that needs to be filled and sent to Kela. You will then receive a written decision letter to start occupational therapy, after which you can call a therapist to arrange your first meeting. It would be good to inform your child before meeting a new therapist. Our website www.toiminta.net contains photographs of our therapists so that you can show your child what their therapist looks like, if you wish.
Our service manager Tytti Lattunen would be happy to answer questions about whether our therapists can take on new customers at the moment.
You can prepare for your first meeting with the therapist by thinking of your child’s interests, strengths and the things you wish to change in everyday life with them. The first meeting is often arranged at the customer’s home, but we can also meet at our office. In the start-up conversation there are often just adults present, but the child can attend as well.
We recommend that you bring along all documents related to the child’s therapy with you to the meeting: for example, the latest doctor’s statement and an assessment report from an occupational therapist, psychologist etc. We will then sign an occupational therapy agreement.
Observing activities in an everyday environment
During the first therapy sessions, the therapist will interview the adults close to the child and observe the child’s actions at home, school or daycare. Observing the everyday activities in the child’s daily environment gives valuable information for planning the therapy and helps the therapist to get to know the child.
Setting of goals and therapy plan
After the first meetings, specific goals and a plan will be made to put therapy into practice. In cooperation with the therapist, parents and the child, discussions will take place regarding which occupations, skills and abilities should be strengthened and what you want to change and achieve in the child’s life.
Together with the therapist, you will find new ways to make everyday life easier. A therapy plan document includes, for example, information about where and when the therapy takes place, how skills are to be practiced at home and in other environments and how the family and therapist maintain contact.
Therapy sessions are carried out as planned. The appointments can take place either at the family’s home, at school, in daycare, at our office or in some other environment which supports the practicing of skills and the set objectives. If necessary, teletherapy can be used as part of the therapy (remote therapy sessions via a computer or tablet).
During a therapy session, there may be just the child and a therapist present, but other adults (such as parents or a daycare worker) or other children may be present as well. Therapy may also take place in the child’s group or class as part of usual activities. Therapy sessions usually last 45–60 minutes, including sharing of information and giving advice for adults close to the child.
Homework supports the progress towards the objectives of the therapy. Homework may include exercises, games and tasks that have been done during the therapy. Homework may also comprise a task that the child will rehearse at home and the parents will keep track of (for example, riding a bike, cleaning their room or learning to tell how they feel). Homework is designed to be meaningful and motivating to the child and challenging enough. When giving homework, the therapist will take into account the needs and resources of the child and family.
Between therapy sessions, the therapist and parents stay in touch through, for example, a therapy booklet, encrypted email or SMS. For privacy reasons, we cannot discuss the content of your child’s therapy by regular email or WhatsApp. The therapist will tell you how the therapy sessions are going and what has been rehearsed. If there are any important details or changes, they will be communicated by using the agreed method and technology.
Illnesses and cancellations
Sometimes therapy may be cancelled, for example due to illness. Cancellations should be notified to the therapist by telephone (call/SMS) as soon as possible. If the therapist has to cancel the therapy session, it is a good idea to inform the child of the cancellation as soon as possible.
During therapy, it is also important that the therapist and the child’s close adults work together. Meetings to discuss matters and provide advice can be arranged as a separate visit or as part of the therapy sessions. Guidance is intended to support the child’s progress towards their personal objectives. Together with the therapist, we come up with ways to practice and strengthen the child’s skills in everyday life. The best solutions are often found through cooperation and also when taking note of the child’s insights.
At the end of a therapy period, you will have a conversation with the child’s therapist about how therapy has helped and supported the child and the family and how the child has achieved their goals. The need and motivation for further therapy will be discussed. After the conversation, the therapist writes a therapy statement document which is delivered to the family and the child’s doctor.
Applying for a new therapy period
In the same manner as before starting therapy sessions, you will meet a doctor to evaluate the continuation of occupational therapy. Meetings with an occupational therapist from a hospital or health-care center are often needed as well. It is helpful if these visits take place a month or two before the child’s occupational therapy sessions end. The child is present at these meetings with the doctor and occupational therapist.
You will need a written document from your occupational therapist for the evaluation visit with a doctor or therapist. Please ask your therapist for this therapy document well in advance.
End of therapy
A therapy period ends when the agreed upon therapy visits have been used or the given time period has elapsed (you can see the details in the rehabilitation plan made by the doctor; there can be, for example, 30 or 40 therapy sessions in a year).
If it has been assessed and agreed that the child no longer needs occupational therapy, the therapist will take this into account and prepare the child for the ending of the therapy relationship.