Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
What to Expect

What to Expect from Your First Appointment with OT/PT

Your child’s first visit with an occupational therapist (OT) or physical therapist (PT) will include a thorough evaluation. This will help the OT/PT develop an individualized treatment plan for your child.

Appointments are available at Cincinnati Children’s Burnet Campus, Liberty Campus and neighborhood locations throughout Greater Cincinnati. Our team works hard to create a fun, motivating environment for children of all ages. We incorporate play and movement to keep kids engaged in the therapy process. Visits usually last 45-60 minutes.

Before the Visit

You’ll need a referral from your provider (physician, physician assistant or advanced practice nurse) before scheduling your child’s OT or PT appointment. Learn more about the referral process and making an appointment.

  • After receiving the referral, a representative from OT/PT will contact you by phone to schedule the appointment.
  • You’ll receive an appointment confirmation from MyChart or by email. The confirmation contains information about where to check in when you arrive for your appointment.
  • If your child has been evaluated by an OT or PT at another institution, our team will want to review the summary report. You can bring the report with you, or we can request it from the institution.

On the Day of the Visit

Before You Arrive

  • Your child should wear loose, comfortable clothing and sneakers, if possible.
  • If your child uses braces, splints or assistive devices for walking, be sure to bring them.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment. Allow about 10 minutes to park and walk to our location.
  • If you are running late, contact us. We may need to reschedule if you check in more than 15 minutes after the appointment start time.

During the Visit

During the initial appointment, your child’s OT/PT will talk to you and your child about:

  • Your child’s health history (including medical history, past surgeries and other details)
  • The functional limitations your child is facing

Depending on your child’s needs, the OT or PT may measure their range of motion, muscle strength, endurance, etc.

Your Child’s Individualized Care Plan

The evaluation helps the OT or PT develop an initial plan for therapy. At the end of the session, the OT/PT will:

  • Share their observations about your child’s abilities and needs
  • Recommend a course of action, which could include additional therapy sessions, exercises to do at home and other interventions
  • Discuss next steps and explain how to schedule follow-up appointments
  • Refer you to other providers for additional care, if needed

The therapist will summarize all of this information in written form and post it to your child’s MyChart account within six days of the first appointment. The summary may include additional instructions about exercises and other therapy activities your child should do at home.

If the OT/PT Visit is Part of a Multidisciplinary Care Clinic

Some OT/PT evaluations are part of a physician-led multidisciplinary care clinic. In this situation, the OT/PT will still share their initial treatment recommendations with you at the end of the evaluation. Later, they will talk to the entire care team about their observations and recommendations. The team will develop a unified treatment plan that includes all aspects of your child’s care. The lead physician’s office will follow up with you to talk about this plan and your next steps.

Your Partner in Care

It’s natural for you and your child to feel a bit apprehensive before the first OT/PT visit, especially if you are new to OT/PT. We want to assure you that your family is in the best of hands.

Our staff of well-trained clinical experts in OT and PT are friendly, experienced and committed to using the most current science in developing an individualized care plan for your child. Your child’s OT/PT will:

  • Involve you and your child in care plan decisions every step of the way
  • Connect with your child personally and make therapy sessions as enjoyable as possible
  • Listen to your specific concerns
  • Work closely with other members of your child’s care team to help your child reach their full potential