Seeking an Occupational Therapist at Kaiser

Our experience with OT is that OT may be a good fit for your kiddo. OT will likely provide "heavy work" exercises and other ways for kiddo to move her body in specific ways that can help with these types of behavior issues. Unfortunately, Kaiser is not great for this; their OT department is knowledgeable but seems to be more medically focused as opposed to behavioral, and what you might really need is for someone to observe your kiddo at preschool and Kaiser can't do that. You might find it more helpful to pay a private OT out-of-pocket for a couple of hours if possible since you'll be able to get more effective support. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

4yr old needs an occupational therapist

May 2009

My 4 year old is having trouble with impulse control and aggression. He also has some sensory issues and poor fine motor skills for his age. It has been recommended that he see an occupational therapist and unfortunately Kaiser doesn't have one (and probably wouldn't pay for it anyway). I have asked the school district to evaluate him, but they cannot as he has no verbal/language issues. So I am hoping for OT recommendations, preferably inexpensive or who work on a sliding scale as we don't have the money to spend on this at all and will have to scrounge as it is. Thank you for your help.

Eh? Kaiser has a number of pediatric OTs. My 5-year-old daughter got an evaluation and home therapy program for mild fine motor issues not too long ago. If the person recommending OT services to you is recommending them for something that Kaiser OTs don't claim to do then that's different, but they definitely have pedi OTs. You just need a referral from her pedi for an evaluation and then they take it from there.

The school district should evaluate your son upon your written request whether or not he has verbal/language issues. Impulse control, aggression and fine motor delays will definitely impact his ability to succeed in school. They have sixty days to complete the evaluation upon receipt of a written request from you. DREDF (Disability Rights Education Defense Fund)may be able to help. They can be reached at: 800-348-4232. My understanding is that Kaiser provides OT for rehab only. Samuel Merritt College in Oakland offers free pediatric OT with student clinicians: Good luck - Jan

Please don't give up too soon on getting help through public services. The school district might have pushed you away, because at first sight your son might not qualify. Typically, if a child won't qualify for cognitive or speech therapy, they will be sent away. However, please send a 'request for a comprehensive assessment' in writing to the Special Education Director of your school district. This will trigger a process within a set time line set by law. List all the issues your son is dealing with, and how they (might) interfere with his success in a regular classroom, giving examples of current issues in his daily activities. If he is ''is having trouble with impulse control and aggression. He also has some sensory issues and poor fine motor skills'', there is something going on, that probably should be addressed, and he should get some help. Who suggested he should get OT? Can those people give you a report that would substantiate your case?

What the school district typically does, is an evaluation to qualify for a so called IEP (individual education plan). Your son might not qualify for this indeed, so I suggest, you also ask for a 504 assessment. Your child would qualify if he had a 'disability', which could be physical or mental that limits him from major life activities. Now 'disability' is a broad term and includes learning disabilities, which may very well, what your son is already experiencing, or would experience in school. The key is, you have to be able to make a case about how your son will not be able to follow a regular school curriculum without intervention.

The school district is actually obligated to help you put this in writing after your verbal request. Since they already rejected you, you may not want to do this. If this all overwhelms you, I suggest you call DREDF for help. Hope you will get good help.