Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions I am often asked about my Occupational Therapy service:

1) Does my child need therapy?

This is a very personal decision for you and your family.  Therapy requires a significant resource investment of time, effort and money. If you are able to commit these resources and would like ideas, advice, strategies and guidance from a specialist in this field of practice then I would be delighted to help.

I appreciate that, at times, it can feel overwhelming raising a child with additional needs and I know first-hand what a lonely, worrisome journey it can be too. I believe that parents are the key to their child’s happiness, well-being and success in life.

I bring my own personal life experiences, extensive additional professional post-graduate training, and pleasant well-equipped therapy facilities to help you in your vital role as parent.

2) The report was comprehensive, but I have questions about what to do next. Can you help?

Yes, of course.  You can schedule a follow-up telephone consultation or a face to face meeting if you prefer. Costs from £17.50.

Just let me know what will meet your needs best.

3) How much does therapy cost?

You can book 30, 45 or 60 minute sessions and the cost depends on the length of the session.

Costs are from £40.80 per session for self-funders (parents/individuals), where you or your child are attending my Therapy Studio. Costs for home or school consultations are higher to include travel time and transport costs and are subject to availability. 

There are different rates when therapy is funded by a third-party organisation. Please ask for details if this is relevant to your situation.

The fee includes all the essential ‘unseen’ components of an effective therapy session including session planning, relevant high-quality materials and equipment, note-writing, reflections etc.

Fees are reviewed annually in September.

To manage your costs, do take careful note of the cancellation policy in the terms and conditions.

4) Do you give discounts?

I do offer a small number of concessionary places for families on low incomes. Please ask for details. There may be a waiting list for this service.

Some charitable organisations will also provide a grant for Occupational Therapy. eg. The Bedgebury Foundation. Parents must apply for this.

5) What length of therapy session do I need?

Sessions can be 30 minutes, 45 minutes or 1 hour depending on your child’s age, tolerance and attention span.

Young children tend to attend for shorter sessions and older children a full hour, but this is very variable. Some young children need extra time to settle or benefit from a slower, less intensive pace.  For others, we aim to build up tolerance over time.

I appreciate that your journey time and other commitments may be factors for consideration for you too.  I can advise if you would like me to.

6) How long does a therapy programme take, I don’t know where to start?

There is no set formula and this does depend largely on the goals you have for your child and the progress we are able to achieve through the therapeutic process. 

You should commit to a minimum of 3 sessions. Therapy is a very relationship-based process and you or your child need time to get to know me.

Three sessions to begin with (ideally weekly) will give you a range of ideas to follow up on and take forwards at home. You will gain information about how to proactively work with your child; where they are up to in developmental terms and how to set ‘just right’ challenges in everyday life. We will explore and test out various strategies, resources and equipment to determine ‘what helps?’ In this way, you can avoid making costly purchases which turn out not to be suitable for your child’s needs.

You should be aware that you may not see any immediate changes in your child’s everyday performance in this short space of time.

You may decide you wish to agree further sessions, or not. The choice is yours.  

If you do not want to commit to 3 sessions, then please see question 2 as an alternative.

7) I have a specific goal in mind, how many sessions do you suggest I may need?

If you would like a therapy programme to develop a specific functional skill eg. handwriting, feeding, toileting, emotional regulation, co-operation, improved social interactions, confidence and self-esteem, sensory regulation, motor skills, working memory, attention and focus, executive functions etc. you should aim for 8-10 regular sessions (ideally fortnightly). 

Term time only or holiday only programmes are possible too.

Do be aware that short, frequent reinforcement sessions will be needed at home to build on and consolidate the skills we are working to improve. Full advice can be given on frequency etc. based on what is realistic for your child.

DO bear in mind that if your child has significant developmental or attention challenges, health issues, past trauma, lacks the motivation to address the problem, or the concerns are longstanding ones, then therapy goals and timescales must take these into account to be realistic.

8) My child has complex needs and significant delays across several areas of their development. Can you help?

Yes, of course. We will work across the key areas of skill development, based on their developmental stage and particular challenges.

You will already know that your child takes time to build a trusting relationship with others and we will need to work hard to achieve trust, co-operation and shared task engagement.  Progress will not be immediate and there will be ups and downs too, so it is important to prepare yourself for this.  

Selected sensory-enriched opportunities for growth will be provided and tailored to how your child engages and learns best, their sensory profile, their attention span etc.

Children frequently make sizeable strides through therapy and I will do my best to help your child to flourish and succeed.

9) How often should my child attend Occupational Therapy?

Some international evidence suggests that intensive blocks of twice or three times a week are the best option.

My own experience shows that this level of commitment can cause additional family strain, pressure, stress, fatigue and overload. It can just be too intensive for many of the children I see. This can be counter-productive to progress and success.

Also, for children with complex developmental needs skill acquisition cannot always be ‘speeded up’ in this way, so I do not personally tend to recommend this approach.

Typically, parents choose: 

  • weekly sessions to work on a relatively clear, short term goal, or where your child is very distressed or in crisis and you need the additional professional support to help manage and reduce this at a difficult time
  • fortnightly sessions to work with me on defined areas of learning and skill development; putting new and emerging skills into place with practice and reinforcement at home between sessions
  • monthly sessions to help problem-solve, provide fresh ideas, practical suggestions and advice to supplement your own parenting work with your child at home. You provide information about specific issues of concern in advance of the session and I plan accordingly.
  • Ad hoc appointments can be made, subject to availability, when the gap is not more than 3 months between appointments. I am not able to judge ‘just right’ challenges for children if I don’t see them often enough.

You are welcome to let me know what will work for you and I will do my best to accommodate your wishes.

Either or both parents may attend therapy sessions with their child, or you may alternate if you prefer. 

It is best if siblings don’t attend sessions (unless they are mature enough to do so). Siblings frequently become distressed or resentful that they cannot ‘join in’. I appreciate sometimes it is unavoidable and will be flexible if needs be.

School staff and other professionals involved with your child are welcome to attend sessions by prior arrangement.

10) Will you attend EHC Planning meetings, Annual Reviews, Education Tribunals, provide written support for transport / benefits claims, write outcomes for EHC plans etc. for my child?

All of these services (and others) can be provided for children whom I know well. This means children who attend therapy at least fortnightly and have done so for at least 3 months.

Advance notice is required and is subject to availability.  

These services are chargeable based on the time involved. Please ask for details. 

I do not routinely produce Tribunal reports (this is a different specialist area).

These types of services are not available for children who have only had an assessment (and no therapy) or who have been discharged from my service.

11) Will you work with my child’s school?

The therapy service I provide is primarily designed for children and their parents, but I can undertake school observations and meet with teachers when funding arrangements are in place, subject to availability.

I can advise parents on school matters and I do work with Looked After Children (and relevant care staff) and older children who board at local independent schools. 

I do not provide regular liaison or advice to schools unless there is a clearly identified budget to fund this service provision.

Please let me know what you have in mind and I will advise whether I can help.

12) Is there a limit on the number of therapy sessions my child can have?

No. I do not set fixed discharge criteria after ‘X number of sessions’, as is often the case in NHS services. You decide how much or how little therapy suits your needs.  

Some children see me on an ongoing basis to help maximise opportunities for their development as they grow. Skills are gained and new goals are set. During sessions I can provide you with practical advice and tips on how to handle new or difficult situations or behaviours.

Through longer term therapy, and the important benefits of a trusting therapeutic relationship, children are positively enabled to make progress and achieve success in the areas where they are struggling. Small steps forward are always celebrated!

It is important to bear in mind that developmental changes take time, persistence and patience. Sadly, I do not have a magic wand!

I generally advise fortnightly sessions are optimal if you are seeking a long-term commitment and want to maintain steady progress.

13) What facilities do you have?

The AHP Therapy Studio is a newly purpose-built facility situated in a peaceful countryside setting, conveniently accessed from the Thanet Way (A299).  There is free parking which is a short walk away from the Studio itself.  There is an eco-toilet and washroom facility on site.

Please note there are steps up to the Studio – please advise if you have mobility concerns.

14) How do I book therapy sessions?

There are 2 ways to do this:

a) You can book on-line by going to: https://thealliedhealthpractice.selectandbook.com/

The instructions are quite simple to follow. If you make an error, please don’t worry – just let me know.

You are welcome to book several appointments in advance, but please do not book sessions unless you intend to use them. Repeated last minute cancellations will unfortunately result in withdrawal of the advance booking facility or, in extreme circumstances, discharge. 

b) If you would prefer me to book your appointment for you, or you can’t find a time to suit on the online system, please just e-mail me your requirements and I will see what I can do.

Do please bear in mind that your ‘ideal’ time of the day or week may already be taken by another family and so it may well be necessary for you to be flexible on this. If you are not able to be flexible, I can add you to my waiting list. I will give you an indication of when / if your preferred slot may become available and you will have first refusal.

15) In what circumstances will my child be discharged?

The following are typical scenarios for discharge form my service:

  • An assessment only service was required. Your child will be discharged at the end of the month in which the report is sent to you and/or final payment is received.
  • Your child has met the goals we agreed at the outset.
  • You let me know that you no longer wish to continue and I will discharge your child as soon as any outstanding invoices have been paid
  • Your child has not attended a therapy session for 3 months. I will generally let you know that your child is to be discharged in this instance
  • Despite trying various approaches, I am not able to establish a therapeutic rapport with your child. This will be discussed with you at the time.
  • You fail to pay your invoices, despite reminders, for services you have already received
  • You repeatedly make last minute appointment changes or cancellations (therapy requires upfront commitment from all involved)
  • We are not able to agree on realistic goals and expectations for your child’s rate of progress.

You do not need to give any reason for wanting to be discharged, but it is helpful to me if you are able to share this.

After discharge, you are welcome to return at any time in the future, subject to places being available. You do not need a referral.