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The process of booking your child in for occupational therapy

If you and your child have never seen an occupational therapist before you may have questions. This blog is designed to help you have a clearer understanding of what an occupational therapist does and how to book in to see one. Read on for frequently asked questions regarding occupational therapy for kids.

What is an occupational therapist?

Occupational therapists are health professionals who aim to improve the wellbeing of clients through enhancing their ability to function in their day-to-day lives. Occupational therapists work with both mental and physical health issues that limit people’s abilities to fulfil their roles (e.g., student, friend, daughter, soccer player etc.). Conditions occupational therapists may assist with include autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, sensory processing difficulties and developmental delays.

By engaging with an occupational therapist, your child may build their capacity to engage in school, home, and social environments. Occupational therapists work with individuals of all ages. At Young Minds we have occupational therapists who have particular experience and training working with children and mental health.

Do you need a referral to see an occupational therapist?

You do not need a referral to bring your child to see an occupational therapist. If you do not have a referral, you may be able to reduce the cost of sessions if you have private health that covers occupational therapy for your child. Seeking a referral from a GP or paediatrician may also assist with subsidising the cost of sessions.

GPs or paediatricians can refer to occupational therapists under a Chronic Disease Management Plan, which may enable up to five occupational therapy sessions per calendar year with some Medicare rebate. Some occupational therapists have completed specific training and experience in mental health and can be seen under a Mental Health Care Plan referral. Occupational therapy may also be funded under NDIS depending on your young person’s plan.

What should I consider when booking an appointment in with an occupational therapist?

When booking your child in for an occupational therapy appointment you want to ensure you are selecting an occupational therapist who has relevant experience in the age-group and presenting problem your child is experiencing. Read about our occupational therapists here. It’s important for your child to feel comfortable and motivated when they engage in therapy, so finding the right fit in therapist is important.

When booking in you may also consider the timing of the appointment. Ideally, it is helpful to book your child in with the occupational therapist during a time of day where they have the energy to engage and focus as much as possible.

What should I do before the appointment?

Your occupational therapist will guide you through what to expect from therapy during your first session, but some of the preparation below can also help.

  • Think through and articulate what your child’s difficulties in functioning are. Having a clear description of these challenges will help your occupational therapist to develop a clear understanding of the situation so they can formulate a tailored plan for therapy.
  • Identify goals for therapy. Having in your mind some clear, tangible goals can be a good starting place for therapy. You could talk to your child about goals they have too. For example, becoming more independent in an area of functioning they find difficult may be an appropriate goal.
  • Consider who may need to be involved in the process. If your child is struggling with their functioning at school, or between separate households, then it may be worth considering these factors. Either yourself or the occupational therapist may connect with these other supports to make therapy maximally effective.
  • Gather any information you may want to provide to the occupational therapist (e.g., prior reports or assessments from health professionals or teachers).
  • Explain to your child what an occupational therapist is. The occupational therapist will also assist in this explanation, but even a simple description like, “we’re going to see someone who will help you learn to do things by yourself more easily” may give your child some idea of what to expect. Reassure your child that the occupational therapist is there to help them and will get to know them and work with them over time.


Seeing an occupational therapist may benefit your child by helping them improve their physical, social, and emotional functioning. Occupational therapists are university-trained health professionals. Depending on your child’s situation they may be eligible to see an occupational therapist under Medicare, private health, or NDIS funding. When booking in with an occupational therapist consider what time of day your child is most likely to engage well. Thinking about goals for therapy and bringing in relevant information about your child’s functioning can assist in the intake occupational therapy session. If you believe your child may benefit from occupational therapy for kids, please call us on (07) 3857 0074 or contact us online or by email (

“Do you need a referral to see an occupational therapist?

What is OT for kids?

OT Therapy for kids”