FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Frequently asked questions
What to expect: Your First Appointment:
Once you have made contact with us and have decided to work with us to achieve the outcomes you seek, prior to your first appointment Three Bears Therapy will send out a parent questionnaire, and sometimes a short survey for your child’s teacher or a profile to look at your child’s particular sensory needs. Gathering this information prior to the appointment is very valuable as it helps us to plan our assessment.
Your first appointment will be 90 minutes, with breaks as needed. Please bring along any information you would like to share: previous assessments, medical letters, school reports or samples of your child’s work as just a few examples. The assessment will use a visual schedule to help your child track the activities to complete and where possible take a play-based approach, incorporating some of their preferred/enjoyed games or favorite characters. This assessment can be accompanied by a full report or if you prefer a short summary with a set of goals and recommendations depending on your needs and situation.
What to expect: Ongoing Therapy sessions
Following your initial appointment, we will make recommendations as to what type of ongoing OT is required to achieve the goals you have helped to set. Occasionally, this may require further assessments or reports – but this is not always necessary. It all goes back to our philosophy – there are no template solutions at Three Bears Therapy. We tailor our plans to best fit you and your child, and to achieve our jointly set goals.
If ongoing OT is recommended, we can discuss with you how this will look, provide a quote and then book in the appointments. This may include weekly or fortnightly 60-minute sessions here at my rooms, or alternatively we are often able to visit your child’s school, childcare or home to conduct 45-minute sessions if that suits all of us best.
At Three Bears Therapy we prefer to book in appointments by school terms. As Emma maintains a small caseload this confirms your timeslot is secure for that period and ensures that the sessions and goals can be planned out in advance. We use practice management software which will send you a reminder text or email, depending on your preference prior to your appointment.
Where and when are sessions conducted?
Our practice is located in central Belconnen, in the suburb of Cook. We run our sessions out of a purpose-designed studio in our home (the home of my three bears!). It may also be beneficial to conduct sessions in your home, or at your child’s school, and this is possible.
Our standard hours of operation are currently: Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays between 9am-5pm.
One of the most important aspects of building not only an effective relationship with you and your child, but also a key ingredient to achieving the goals we set together, is clear and effective communication between us. To this end we will always stay in personal contact with you, via email, text…or the good old-fashioned phone! For children who are receiving ongoing OT we like to meet (free of charge) at the start of each term to evaluate progress and determine new goals if needed. You should feel free, of course, to contact us at any time, for any issue related to your child or our ongoing therapy.
Occupational Therapy: What do OT’s do?
Occupational therapists (OT’s) are qualified health professionals. We provide intervention and support to people of all ages and abilities and are experts at working with you and your family to help you function at the highest possible level in the tasks you need and/or want to do in your everyday life (occupations) - with the greatest amount of independence possible.
When a child has a condition or disability, they may require equipment or targeted therapy to ensure they can fully participate in their everyday activities. Other times children may only need short-term intervention to assist with acquiring a few key skills or to support parents with strategies or provide a home program to develop skills, manage challenging behaviours or address sensory needs. Play, and learning through play is a central occupation for children. That is why OT’s use a play-based approach to help develop everyday activities such as eating, dressing, participating at school, and managing siblings’ relationships and friendships.
Occupational Therapy: When should you see an OT?
If your child is having difficulty regulating their emotions or behaviour, acquiring developmentally appropriate independence skills, playing with friends or progressing their fine motor skills, for example, OT’s are here to help.
Importantly, Occupational Therapy intervention aims to not only build your child’s skills but also to help parents feel confident with strategies they can use at home to boost developmental skills or to support children when they experience big emotions or challenging behaviours. As OT’s we do not treat a symptom – we look at and work with the WHOLE child and their family. An OT assessment can help you to understand which developmental stages your child may be behind in, what underlying skills may be missing or need support, why certain behaviours might be occurring and what you can do to help your child.
Do I need a Referral?
You don’t need a specific diagnosis or a referral to make an appointment at Three Bears Therapy, but you may wish to speak with your GP or pediatrician about whether you are eligible for a Medicare rebate for occupational therapy services. Depending on your situation your child may be eligible for a Medicare Chronic Care Plan or a Mental Health Care Plan which offers rebates between $50-80 per session for 5 – 6 sessions per calendar year.
It is also worth contacting your health insurance provider as some packages partially or fully cover occupational therapy intervention. Three Bears Therapy is registered with a wide range of health insurance providers.
You do not need to have a NDIS plan to work with us at Three Bears Therapy. However if you do then we are more than happy to work with you. Currently Three Bears is only working with families who are NDIS self or plan managed. This is reflected in our lower-than-standard hourly rate.
As you will have seen through our structure, philosophies and approach at Three Bears Therapy we strongly value working in a collaborative manner. This includes parents, teachers and other care givers. As a solo practice we work hard to ensure strong communication between all other treating parties, including general practitioners, pediatricians as well as other health professionals such as physiotherapists, psychologists and speech therapists. This can take the form of emails, phone calls, letters when requested or attendance at team meetings. We are here with you along your journey, and we work with you and your child. This is a team effort – as all good therapy collaborations should be.
Do I need to attend sessions with my child?
At Three Bears Therapy we believe that it is what happens between sessions that can create the greatest change. That is why initially, we encourage parents/care givers to regularly attend sessions. This provides an opportunity to observe strategies and techniques, ask questions and gain ideas for complimentary play and activities at home. We also understand that for a range of reasons this is not always possible. When this occurs, we endeavour to: provide doable home programs, send email updates or phone calls each fortnight, meet in school holidays to discuss progress or allocate time at the end of a session to talk.
Can I bring siblings?
As a mum of three Emma understands that sometimes siblings need to come along to OT and that is no problem. We have a selection of books and toys, as well as a footpath for scooters and bikes next to our rooms and a small playground close by. If you are concerned your other child/ren may be distracting during the session, then we can discuss this in advance and come up with some strategies.
Three Bears Therapy needs to collect information about your child in order to provide a quality service. All communication and information you provide is stored securely on a cloud-based server and paper files, and only shared with your permission. Three Bears Therapy complies with state and federal privacy requirements. All record retention complies with the Information Privacy ACT 2014, the Code of Conduct of Occupational Therapy Board and Health Records Act (ACT) 1997.
Three Bears Therapy uses Power Diary practice management software to record and store information. Power Diary servers are in Australia and use robust physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect data. Power Diary also integrates with Medicare and has passed the necessary security and operational tests. Power Diary is password protected and personal information is only accessible by the therapist.
For families who choose to pay their invoices via credit card debit then Stripe is used in conjunction with Power Diary. Stripe is a platform specifically designed to be able to legally, safely and securely process credit card transactions in an online environment where the card is not (always) present.
You have the right to request access to your personal information at any time. There may be a small cost involved if you require hard copies of your information. Three Bears Therapy respects your right to decide who you want to disclose personal information to for example your general practitioner, other treating therapists or educators. Written consent will be obtained before disclosing your information. Exceptions would include complying with a court order or subpoena, child protection reporting, or when the information is necessary to obtain funding, health rebates or insurance.
Most importantly, great care is taken with all the information you provide. If you have any questions or concerns about how your information is collected and stored, please ask us.