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Choosing a Therapist

Asking questions can help you make an informed decision when choosing a healthcare provider. It is important to know the answers to these questions before starting treatment with a physical, occupational, speech-language and/or food therapist so you know what to expect and what your responsibilities are. Below are some suggestions of questions, and you will most likely have more of your own. Make sure to make a list of the ones that are important to you when contacting or meeting with the provider.

Common Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Therapist

Meeting the Therapist
  • May I visit with the therapist either in person or by phone to get to know them better before we set our first appointment?
Experience
  • Do you have experience with a child whose diagnosis and abilities are like my child’s?
  • What approaches or techniques you use in your practice that have evidence to support their effectiveness?
  • What is your specific experience as a therapist?
Clinic Practices and Policies
  • Will you see my child at home, in clinic or both?
  • Do you support parents in carrying out home-based therapy as well as 1-2-3x weekly sessions with you?
  • Do you provide one-on-one therapy, and/or group therapy, depending on my child’s needs?
  • What will a specific session look like?
  • May I observe a therapy session with another child who has a similar disability/condition or goals as my child?
Roles
  • What are the responsibilities of my family throughout therapy?
  • What role do the assistants or technicians/aides play in the therapy?
  • How will you communicate and interact with the school or other services so we can coordinate care?
Assessment and Goal Setting
  • What is your process for setting goals for my child?
  • How will you assess my child before we begin therapy?
  • As my child gets older, how will their therapy change?
  • How often will you assess and communicate my child’s progress to me?
  • Will you be able to see my child as an adult?
  • Are there any specific examples of why we would terminate therapy?

Examples of Specific Therapist Types and Questions

Physical Therapists
  • Do you have equipment that I can check out?
  • Is your equipment child-sized?
  • Are you able to prescribe and do fittings for orthotics?
  • What information do you need in order to bill insurance for orthotics and are they usually covered?
  • Do you recommend adaptations to exercises and/or environment across therapy sessions, home, and school?
Occupational Therapists
  • Do you have equipment that I can check out?
  • Is your equipment child-sized?
  • Do you treat sensory processing disorder and, if so, do you prescribe a “sensory diet?”
  • Do you recommend adaptations to exercises and/or environment across therapy sessions, home, and school?
Speech-Language Therapist
  • Do you have children work with augmentative communication and what types? (i.e., buttons, switches, iPad, Picture Exchange Communication System-PECS, voice recorders/speakers)
  • Can I check out equipment?
  • Is equipment ever prescribed and covered by insurance? Please provide examples.
  • Do you collect data from each session?
  • At what point in the data/progress do you move the child forward to the next step?
  • Do you have a variety of motivators available during sessions?
Nutritionist/Food Therapist
  • Do you ever try to assist children who are g-tube fed to maintain/learn the ability to eat orally?
  • What methods do you use to help children with sensory processing disorder to try a variety of foods?
  • Do you monitor a child’s nutrient levels through lab work?
  • Do you require journaling of a child’s diet and behaviors? If so, are there tools to help us do this easily?

Resources

Services for Patients & Families in Montana (MT)

For services not listed above, browse our Services categories or search our database.

* number of provider listings may vary by how states categorize services, whether providers are listed by organization or individual, how services are organized in the state, and other factors; Nationwide (NW) providers are generally limited to web-based services, provider locator services, and organizations that serve children from across the nation.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: August 2014; last update/revision: August 2019
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Reviewer: Mindy Tueller, MS
Funding: Thanks to the 2013-14 Portal Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (URLEND) Trainee group for their effort on this project.