What is Occupational Therapy in the Early Intervention Therapy Program?

Occupational Therapists (OTs) in the Early Intervention Therapy Program at the BC Centre for Ability offer services to children with developmental concerns or disabilities, and their families. OT’s work collaboratively with speech-language pathologists, physiotherapists, and social workers to provide screening, assessment, and intervention services to children referred to the Early Intervention Therapy Program. Services focus on helping the child become successful in daily routines and participation in home and daily life.

Who Do We Serve?

We serve children from birth to 5 years of age who have physical, neurological, and intellectual or developmental disabilities and reside in Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver, West Vancouver or Richmond.

Why is Occupational Therapy Important?

Occupational Therapists are healthcare professionals trained to help children engage in everyday living, including play, self-help and participation in family and childcare routines.

The early years are crucial for skill development as children learn at a rapid pace and build their sense of self-worth and independence. Complex skills are built on early successes. OTs use their training in typical and atypical development and in task analysis to help parents recognize developmental red flags, identify readiness for new learning and find the best approach to build on emerging new skills. OTs help family members and others in the child’s life to understand the child’s developmental profile, and provide appropriate support and facilitate success. Using a collaborative approach, we identify family and childcare routines in which learning opportunities can be embedded and determine strategies which will best address identified goals and reflect family priorities. OTs also help to identify and understand differences in sensory processing and to modify sensory environments which children find challenging.

All BCCFA’s Occupational Therapists are licensed to practice in BC and hold either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an accredited university program. Occupational Therapists are registered with the College of Occupational Therapy BC at http://www.cotbc.org/

See the resources bar to the right for frequently asked questions.

What Do We Offer?

Occupational Therapists work with your child to assess current level of play, fine motor and self-help skills to ascertain what your child is doing independently and the barriers that are being encountered. Parent input is important as this helps put clinical observations into the context of the child’s experience and family interests. The Occupational Therapist will often demonstrate strategies when coaching caregivers which can be worked into everyday routines like playtime, outdoor fun, meal-times or bath-time.

Services focus on helping the child become successful in daily routines and participation in home and daily life. The intensity of early intervention therapy is dependent on the entire clinical picture, and changes over time in relation to your child’s current needs and abilities.

How Our Services Are Organized:

Tier I services are educational sessions on a variety of topics in response to emerging client needs. These sessions provide information and general strategies for families to try at home. Tier I services are open to all parents referred for therapy services and many are open to other caregivers.

Tier II services are specific to each child’s needs and are offered to small groups of parents on matters that match their needs and priorities or to children who would benefit from therapy group intervention to address specific goals. Tier II services are offered to families following the screening assessment.

Tier III services are specialized hands-on services to address a specific area of need. Intervention services at this level require a full assessment of the child’s skills and developmental level.

Children with very high medical needs will immediately move to Tier III on discharge from hospital and may receive direct intervention for a period of time. Children with less complex needs will be best served by the services offered in Tier I and Tier II. Families may see their child move between the services offered in Tier II and Tier III multiple times while they are with the BCCFA.

Where Are Services Delivered?

Services may be delivered in a variety of environments and may change as your child grows. Locations include the BC Centre for Ability, regional clinics, home, community settings or in daycare or preschool facilities. Decisions about where and when to deliver services are dependent on goals being addressed, the family situation and therapy team capacity.

How to Access Occupational Therapy Services:

A physician referral is not necessary to access the BC Centre for Ability Occupational Therapy services. Please complete the Parent Request for Service Form or if you are a community professional please complete the Physician and Healthcare Provider Request for Service Form found in the Resources section to the right. Parent or guardian written consent is required to speak with other professionals about your child.

If other service needs become evident, internal referrals can be made to BCCFA services to facilitate a team approach.

For More Information Contact:

Judit Spence

Director of  Physiotherapy & Acting Director of Occupational Therapy

Phone: 604-630-3018
Email:  Judit.Spence@bc-cfa.org
Fax: 604-451-5651