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Question
Posted by: Dorine | 2012/04/21

Occupational Therapy

The teachers of both my girls (aged 4 and 6 - Grade 00 and Grade 0) have both approached me to advise the girls would need occupational therapy. The school seems to be a big fan of OT and is sending about 1 child in 4 to therapy.

The reason the teacher of my youngest came up with, was that she isn''t sitting still during story time.
For my oldest, her teacher mentioned she has an awkward way of skipping and isn''t holding her pencil correctly. (Oh and she is singing to herself while twirling around)

I''m sure there is no harm in sending them to OT, but we just find ourselves in a very tight financial situation. The assessment alone is about R2000 per child...

We have also just moved from jo''burg to kzn and moved schools and houses obviously. I would be in favour of waiting a little while before rushing them into anything.

Are schools too quick in sending kids to OT? (It feels a bit like a money-making scheme to me) Will I harm my 4- and 6-year old if I wait for a little?

I would really appreciate your response as well as maybe advise on where the have an objective assessment of my children (and a second opinion).

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Occupational Therapy is an extremely minor form of health-care, and I am very suspicious of why some teachers try to promote it so hectically ( as teachers have no expertise at all in assessing the health needs of students ).
Schools should never be in the business of sendings kids for therapy, especially one of highly dubious value ( but high profitability ) in such situations. I hope there is no issue or kickbacks or other inducements for such referrals, which the Health professions Council would be interested in.
NEVER EVER EVER send a child to see an OT simply because the school or a taher recommends it - if the child has possible physical or neurological problems they should be assessed by a paediatrician, and if the paediatrician recommends it, a neurologist. If there are possible psych problems, they cshould be seen and assessed by a child psychiatrist or child pryshologist. They should see an OT ONLY if one of the medical or psych specialists specifically recommends it. And they should be referred only with really good reasons, not the sort of nonsense you quote from these odd teachers.
A child should NEVER EVER be referred for such a stupid reason as that they don't sit still during a story session - some teachers are awfully boring story tellers, and intelligent kids might not sit still while being bored.
Similary the reasons given for referring the older child are also ridiculous.
Delaying such referrals ( and delaying referral to an OT forever ) will not only do them no harm but will probably benefit their health.
Someone should formally ask the Health Professions COuncil and Carte Blanche to investigate these schools that are far too busy referring kids to OTs for daft reasons.

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/04/22

Occupational Therapy is an extremely minor form of health-care, and I am very suspicious of why some teachers try to promote it so hectically ( as teachers have no expertise at all in assessing the health needs of students ).
Schools should never be in the business of sendings kids for therapy, especially one of highly dubious value ( but high profitability ) in such situations. I hope there is no issue or kickbacks or other inducements for such referrals, which the Health professions Council would be interested in.
NEVER EVER EVER send a child to see an OT simply because the school or a taher recommends it - if the child has possible physical or neurological problems they should be assessed by a paediatrician, and if the paediatrician recommends it, a neurologist. If there are possible psych problems, they cshould be seen and assessed by a child psychiatrist or child pryshologist. They should see an OT ONLY if one of the medical or psych specialists specifically recommends it. And they should be referred only with really good reasons, not the sort of nonsense you quote from these odd teachers.
A child should NEVER EVER be referred for such a stupid reason as that they don't sit still during a story session - some teachers are awfully boring story tellers, and intelligent kids might not sit still while being bored.
Similary the reasons given for referring the older child are also ridiculous.
Delaying such referrals ( and delaying referral to an OT forever ) will not only do them no harm but will probably benefit their health.
Someone should formally ask the Health Professions COuncil and Carte Blanche to investigate these schools that are far too busy referring kids to OTs for daft reasons.

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Dorine | 2012/04/21

Hi Maria,
Thanks so much for your feedback. I have now also posted my query on the parent24 website. I''m going to google ''pencil grip exercises'' now.

Reply to Dorine
Posted by: Maria | 2012/04/21

Hi Dorine. I suggest you also post on the Parenting forum, lots of experienced moms there. I love OT''s for kids who really need them they can work magic. But yes, I believe schools are much too quick to refer kids, because it''s an easy fix and the teacher doesn''t have to work on any problems in class. Your 4 year old I would really just leave be, her behaviour sounds age appropriate to me. The 6 year old one needs to think carefully about as she is starting big school next year. However it doesn''t sound as if you have to have her assessed right now. If you google " pencil grip exercises"  you will find a lot of things you can playfully do with her at home. I honestly can''t believe they think it''s a problem that she twirls and sings to herself? Is this in conjunction with other behaviour they''re worried about, like not making eye contact or refusing to interact with the other kids? Just keep both girls as physically active as possible, let them play on jungle gyms, swing on monkey bars and ride their bicycles.

Reply to Maria

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