Please read the information below about assessment and therapy at Skills for Kids. Then, if you would like to discuss your child’s needs, please complete and submit our Service Enquiry Form. We will then contact you to discuss possible options for your child.
Due to our wait list, we need to pause accepting referrals for occupational therapy sessions for the moment. Please compete The Service Enquiry Form if you are enquiring about:
- An occupational therapy assessment only, or
- Speech language pathology.
What is an assessment?
An assessment identifies if a child has a problem or not. WHAT skills a child is doing well and what skills a child is struggling with. But more importantly WHY a child is struggling – the underlying ‘breakdown points’. This struggle is often in spite of good parenting at home and good teaching at preschool or school. The assessment is a ‘one – off’ session in which we give your child tasks to do. We observe the quality of performance, score and interpret according to their age and the expectations of their year at preschool or school. We also gather detailed information about your child’s performance in the everyday contexts of home and preschool or school from you and your child’s teacher.
Why does my child need an assessment?
Assessment guides or directs therapy. We need to know the ‘why’ answer so we can choose the most effective strategies to increase a child’s skills and underlying abilities. We want to use your time and money wisely targeting what is critical and important, not ‘fluffing around’ on the periphery.
My child has had an assessment by a teacher or psychologist. Does my child still need an assessment with Skills for Kids?
Teachers and psychologists do terrific assessments, and in the case of psychologists the assessment can cost a lot of money. However the assessment we do is very different. So yes – your child still needs an assessment at Skills for Kids.
My child has had an assessment by an occupational therapist or speech language pathologist at another location. Does my child still need an assessment with Skills for Kids?
If the assessment is recent (within the last 6 months) and if your child’s level of function is still about the same, please forward us the assessment report. We will determine with you whether the provided information is sufficient to guide your child’s therapy with us. If sufficient – no assessment. If insufficient – we will discuss assessment options with you.
Where do Skills for Kids clinicians work?
Our occupational therapists and speech language pathologists work in the clinic at Blaxland and in a significant number of local schools.
What age does my child need to be to have an assessment?
We typically assess children from the age of 2 ½ – 18 years of age.
What areas does an occupational therapy assessment cover at Skills for Kids?
|Skills||Fine motor||Colouring, cutting, drawing|
|Handwriting||Legibility and speed|
|Writing||‘Brain to paper’ for organisation quality and quantity|
|Special provisions||For examinations e.g. extra time, rest breaks, typing|
|Personal care||Dressing, eating, toileting, hygiene|
|Gross motor||Ball skills, sport, coordination|
|Social||Making friends, keeping friends, appropriate and expected behaviours|
|Emotional||Self-regulating feelings such as anxiety, anger. Being resilient.|
|Play||Playing with imagination / in a purposeful way / cooperatively with other children|
|Underlying abilities||Physical||Hand dominance, pencil grip, finger dexterity|
|Sensory||Sensory processing (being overwhelmed by too much confusing visual distraction,, sound, movement stimuli; not coping with wearing clothes with certain textures, eating food with certain tastes, coping in noisy environments such as shopping centres, coping with hair brushing / teeth cleaning) Eye hand coordination|
|Executive functioning||Cognitive strategy use within everyday activities for Attention: staying focused, focusing without being distracted, focusing on important detail Active working memory: being able to hold in mind a number of items at the same time e.g. following instructions Planning, sequencing, problem solving, decision making|
What areas does a speech language pathology assessment cover at Skills for Kids?
|Articulation / Speech||Being able to be understood, using tongue and mouth to make and sequence sounds and words|
|Receptive language||Being able to understand what is being spoken or read in spite of level of intelligence.|
|Expressive language||Being able to communicate thoughts and feelings|
|Literacy||Being able to process language for reading, writing and spelling|
|Phonemic awareness||Being able to sequence sounds inside words for reading, writing and spelling|
|Stutter||Being able to speak without repeating sounds or words|
|Pragmatics||Being able to communicate socially e.g. conversation|
|Language stimulation||For children who are young and not yet using language to communicate|
|Selective mutism||For children who choose not to talk in certain contexts|
What levels of assessment are available at Skills for Kids?
|Short 30 minute targeted assessment with a verbal report. This assessment is only suitable if you need one specific area assessed e.g. for occupational therapy: hand dominance or pencil grip; e.g. for speech language: articulation or phonemic awareness or language stimulation|
|Comprehensive 90 minute assessment with a summary written report. This is the most common assessment and is used for children who need to have a range of skill areas and underlying abilities assessed. The report lists the main findings of the assessment with sufficient documentation of difficulties for others e.g. teacher, paediatrician and with specific information about ‘breakdown points’ to guide programming|
|Comprehensive 90 minute assessment with a detailed written report. This assessment is the same as the assessment above but the report has a more detailed explanation of functional implications, outlining how each identified difficulty impacts on participation.|
What happens after assessment?
The purpose of assessment is to identify your child’s strengths and difficulties. We do that by directly observing and interpreting your child’s performance as well as gathering information from you and teachers. After we identify your child’s specific difficulties, and the contributing causes for those difficulties, we discuss our recommendations with you. Depending on assessment findings, our recommendations may refer you to other professionals (e.g. paediatrician or psychologist) for further assessment and / or we would prescribe ongoing therapy sessions with us. These sessions are typically half an hour, on a weekly or fortnightly basis, for as long as needed.
Do I need a referral?
You do not need a referral to access our services if you are paying ‘out of your own pocket’ or if you are using a private health fund. If you have extras cover, check what rebates are provided by your fund.
Can I get Medicare rebates?
If your family doctor determines that your child is eligible for a Medicare Plan, your doctor will initiate a Medicare Plan Referral. There are three types of rebate that may be available to your child:
- Chronic Disease Management (CDM): The rebate is approximately $52 per session, for a maximum of 5 sessions per calendar year. All Skills for Kids clinicians are eligible to provide services under a CDM plan.
- Better Access to Mental Health: The rebate is approximately $52 per session, for a maximum of 6 sessions per referral and for a maximum of 10 sessions per calendar year. Many of our occupational therapists are eligible to provide services under a Better Access to Mental Health referral. If you are using a Better Access to Mental Health referral, please inform our receptionist who will advise whether the clinician your child is booked with is eligible.
- Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD): The rebate is approximately $74 per session, for a maximum of 20 sessions. All Skills for Kids’ clinicians are eligible to provide services under a PDD plan.
Skills for Kids is a registered NDIS Service Provider. What if my child is a NDIS participant?
The costs of assessment and ongoing sessions are paid by the NDIS. Our Clinical Manager, Samantha Miles, will meet with you to discuss how we can work in partnership with you and preschool /school to best meet your child’s needs. Specific documents need to be processed before we can provide any sessions to your child.
Request a confidential discussion about your child’s needs by completing and submitting our Service Enquiry Form.