Occupational Therapy / Physical Therapy / Therapeutic Recreation

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    The Division of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy at Cincinnati Children’s provides patients and families with answers to frequently asked questions:

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    + Why has my doctor ordered occupational therapy or physical therapy services?

    Your child’s physician has requested an evaluation to determine if therapy services could improve her abilities. Occupational therapy and physical therapy make it possible for children with injuries or physical and developmental challenges to function as well as possible in day-to-day activities and live their lives to the fullest potential. 

    + Do I need a written and signed referral for therapy services?

    Yes, we require a written referral by a physician or certified nurse practitioner to begin therapy. This helps us coordinate our services with the care plan laid out by your child’s primary care or specialty care physician. Even if another health professional recommends therapy services for your child, we must have a written referral from your primary / specialty care physician or nurse practitioner before we can schedule an appointment. Referrals can be written on a prescription form or the physician’s letterhead. Ask your physician to fax the referral to 513-803-1111.

    + What can I expect from an evaluation?

    In the initial evaluation, the therapist will perform an assessment to identify how we can best meet your and your physician’s concerns. The therapist will then discuss the results with you and review the recommended treatment options. If the therapist recommends physical or occupational therapy, you will be given instructions about how to schedule appointments. We will also communicate our findings with your child’s referring physician or certified nurse practitioner. 

    + How can I prepare my child for his first therapy visit?

    We know that your child may feel anxious about their visit, so we will do everything we can to help him to feel comfortable from the moment he arrives. Our therapy areas are child-friendly--bright, colorful spaces filled with toys and games. If your child is young, telling him that there will be “no ouchies” or “boo boos” may help. For an older child, you might explain that there will be no shots.

    + Do I need to be present for my child’s therapy session?

    A parent or legal guardian must be present at your child’s initial therapy evaluation; this is important so that you can give consent for your child to be treated. Being present at the evaluation will give the therapist a chance to speak with you about your concerns and goals for your child.

    The most important thing you can do for your child is to make sure a parent or caregiver attends every therapy session, even if your child is a teenager. One of our primary goals is to give your entire family skills and knowledge to help your child gain the greatest benefit from therapy.

    If absolutely necessary, teens may attend their therapy sessions without their legal guardian present, provided they are responsible young adults and the therapist is in agreement. 

    + May I bring other children to my child’s therapy session?

    Your child and you will benefit most from the therapy session if you are not distracted by caring for other children. If you must bring other children, we ask that you supervise them closely at all times. Please bring toys or books to keep them busy; they are not permitted to play on therapy equipment or with toys used in therapy.

    + Will the therapist who evaluates my child also treat my child?

    The treating therapist and the evaluating therapist may or may not be the same person. This depends on your availability for scheduling, your location preference and the evaluating therapist’s schedule.  

    + How long will my child be seen for therapy?

    The purpose of therapy is to help your child become as independent as possible in normal daily activities. The time varies depending on your child’s condition, her age and a wide range of other factors. Soon after your child starts therapy, your therapist will talk with you about how many therapy sessions she will need, and for how long therapy will last.

    Guidelines for determining frequency of therapy service are used to help decide how often and for how long your child could benefit from therapy. We believe in ongoing communication with a child’s family, physicians and teachers to ensure appropriate treatment.  Our therapists will work with you to develop the most appropriate and effective plan of care for your child. From the day your child enters therapy, our primary goal is to help your entire family develop the skills and knowledge to help your child continue to thrive after the course of treatment ends.

    + Where can my child receive therapy?

    We offer outpatient occupational therapy and physical therapy services at most Cincinnati Children’s locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.

    See a list of these locations.

    Some specialty services may not be offered at all locations. For further details, consult the Programs and Services directory or you can ask the evaluating therapist or a member of our scheduling team.

    + When are therapy sessions available?

    Depending on the location, treatment times are available as early as 7 am and as late as 7 pm. Some locations also offer appointments on Saturday. Keep in mind that therapy services are in high demand during peak hours after school. The more flexible you can be regarding location and times, the sooner your child can receive services. 

    + How do I pay for therapy services?

    It is your responsibility to determine how you or your insurer will pay for treatment services before your child starts therapy. Occupational therapy and physical therapy are generally covered under most insurance policies. At the time of your appointment, you will be asked to pay any co-payment required by your insurance.

    If you have questions about insurance coverage or payment for services, you may call one of our Financial Service Representatives at 513-636-4651, option 2.

    Learn more about insurance coverage or payment for services

    + Can I take photographs or videotape my child’s therapy session?

    Please ask before taking a photo or recording. You may be asked to wait until a task is finished, or to assure that no other patients are in the area, or to allow the therapist to step out of the picture.  Photos and videos of therapy should not be posted on social media sites such as Facebook.

    + Will I be able to talk to the therapist privately without my child being present?

    Let your child’s therapist know before the session begins if you would like to speak privately so that she can plan the session accordingly. If your child cannot be left alone, consider bringing another adult or older child with you. You may also wish to discuss options such as scheduling a phone call, or communicating with the therapist via secure email.

  • Our therapists are experts in a variety of therapeutic interventions, allowing them to customize treatment for each child’s special needs.

    Our therapists are experts in a variety of therapeutic interventions.

    Our therapists are experts in a variety of therapeutic interventions, allowing them to customize treatment for each child’s special needs.

    Our therapists are experts in a variety of therapeutic interventions, allowing them to customize treatment for each child’s special needs.