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Question
Posted by: Mommy | 2012/05/14

occupational therapist, 4 year old

Hi, I have a 4 year old, she will turn 5 in December
she wasn''t accepted into a school because they felt she is still too young. I thought they are supposed to be 5 turning 6 in grade 0. I would like to take her to see an occupational therapist or any therapist to check whether she is school ready yet or should I try another school. any advise on who I can contact?

regards

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

In South Africa, Occupational Therapists seem to be venturing into terrritories way outside their training and expertise, especially with regard to children. Far too often I hear of parents pushed by schools into taking their child to an OT for ADHD or other psycho-neurological problems, diagnosed ( as it should not be ) by a teacher, and NOT something ever needing to be treated by an OT.
Your daughter is her age. There is some minor variation in social maturity and confidence among children,, but they are not, especially if the school is any good, "too young". OT couldn't possibly help. If there were concerns that the child has serious neurological or psychological impairment, obviously she'd need a neurologist or psychologist, but not an OT.
In your situation, this is probably an entirely normal and healthy child - try another school, and if they come up with a similar dodgy diagnosis ( no teacher or OT is trained to make any proper physical or psychological diagnosis in a child or adult, for that matter )then ask them to explain it, and to give it to you in writing, with their reasoning, so you can check it with your paediatrician and lawyer.
If there are continuing mild concerns about whether yopur child is school-ready ( which is really a personal and subjective assesment, and not scientific as any school does it ) why not see a Paediatrician who is used to assessing children of all ages, and should be able to give a good expert opinion.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Grace | 2012/05/15

My sister-in-law is an Occupational Therapist. Some time ago whilst visiting relatives she mentioned to one of the parents there that she should have her child assessed as for his age, he appeared to be a bit behind in his development. The child''s father told her she does not know what she is talking about and refused to take the boy for an assessment. Two years later, this child is in a remedial class at school and is battling to keep up even in that class. His parents are tearing their hair out and cannot understand what the problem is and say that the child is just lazy and naughty! In this instance, I personally think that my sister-in-law was right in her " diagnosis"  of this child and if his parents had acted on it when she suggested it, something would''ve been done and he would not be battling the way he is. In this case, the parents are more the problem than the child is. It did not help burying their heads in the sand and denying that there is a problem. Maybe you should phone an OT and enquire whether they could assist with a school-readiness assessment.

Reply to Grace
Posted by: Karin | 2012/05/14

OMW....dont know where this negativity against OT comes from!
I am an OT myself....I do agree OT or school cant diagnose, BUT can greatly help with sensory integration and motor skills, as well as planning, exct. It depends on the reason the school gave you for not accepting your child. My son is 4 turning 5, but he has sensory and motor problems and he is struggling....he is receiving OT and ST...we will all sit together later in the year to see if he will be ready for grade R, otherwise his self esteem will grow weak and he will fall further behind....Google OTASA to find the nearest OT and ask that she is trained in sensory integration....it''s your best option. By the way...I am also taking my son for psychiatric assessment next month, just to make sure we are not missing something! Trust your mother instincts! Good luck!

Reply to Karin
Posted by: Maria | 2012/05/14

I don''t know why CS is so against OT''s, they are well trained, can make a big difference to kids who need them, and can in fact do school assessments.

Your daughter should be in Grade R (or whatever they call the grade before 1 where you live) in 2013. Did the school where you apply do any sort of assessment and give feedback? If they did assess her, did they tell you which areas of development they felt she was behind in?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/05/14

In South Africa, Occupational Therapists seem to be venturing into terrritories way outside their training and expertise, especially with regard to children. Far too often I hear of parents pushed by schools into taking their child to an OT for ADHD or other psycho-neurological problems, diagnosed ( as it should not be ) by a teacher, and NOT something ever needing to be treated by an OT.
Your daughter is her age. There is some minor variation in social maturity and confidence among children,, but they are not, especially if the school is any good, "too young". OT couldn't possibly help. If there were concerns that the child has serious neurological or psychological impairment, obviously she'd need a neurologist or psychologist, but not an OT.
In your situation, this is probably an entirely normal and healthy child - try another school, and if they come up with a similar dodgy diagnosis ( no teacher or OT is trained to make any proper physical or psychological diagnosis in a child or adult, for that matter )then ask them to explain it, and to give it to you in writing, with their reasoning, so you can check it with your paediatrician and lawyer.
If there are continuing mild concerns about whether yopur child is school-ready ( which is really a personal and subjective assesment, and not scientific as any school does it ) why not see a Paediatrician who is used to assessing children of all ages, and should be able to give a good expert opinion.

Reply to cybershrink

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