The purpose of an occupational therapy assessment is to help the child or young person to achieve or maintain their maximum level of independence and to develop practical life skills so that he/she can participate to his/her full potential in all environments. This occurs in partnership with the child’s family or teacher, within the child’s home or school community.

Occupational therapy helps children participate in their everyday lives and occupations to the best of their ability. A child’s occupations are the daily and meaningful activities that they need or want to do.

A child’s occupations include play and learning, exploration of the environment, self-care (i.e. dressing, eating, toileting etc.) and school work (i.e. handwriting, organising school work, cutting & drawing and PE).


Assessments can explore the following areas:

  • Sensory issues e.g. child carrying out excessive spinning or avoiding touch.
  • Self-care and functional skills such as feeding, toileting and dressing.
  • Fine motor skills in relation to handwriting and using a knife and fork.
  • Gross motor skills in relation to riding a bike, sitting posture.
  • Visual perceptual skills in relation to handwriting and other functional tasks.
  • Organisation and planning.

Assessments may include the following:

  • Parent/teacher/child questionnaires
  • Interviews with key people e.g. parents/carers, teacher other professionals
  • Direct interaction with the child, using clinical observations
  • Standardised tests where appropriate

All assessments result in a detailed report with recommendations. If appropriate, bespoke, written advice will be provided to contribute to the remediation of the areas of difficulty identified.

Other Assessments
Following an assessment with O.T., other assessments may be recommended to examine other possible concerns. These assessments may include:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder assessment with Clinical Psychologist
  • ADHD assessment
  • Educational Psychology assessment
  • Speech and Language assessment
  • Beery test Visual-motor Integration assessment
  • General gross and fine motor assessment etc.

It is important to note here, that Occupational Therapists do not provide formal diagnosis. This needs to be obtained from a Clinical Psychologist. If you require a formal diagnosis to access services and supports, I advise that it is best to get the assessment done with your Clinical Psychologist first. The aim of the assessment is to provide a definitive diagnostic opinion.

Prior to the Assessment
Information gathering from parents and/or carers and others who know the child may take place via the following forms:

  • Parental questionnaire including a detailed developmental history
  • Questionnaires and rating scales from other settings – usually school/nursery/college. These will need to be completed and returned to the Centre prior to the appointment. For example, Shortened Sensory Profile etc. (too many to list all)

What Happens After the Assessment?

A detailed report/care plan will be prepared summarising the child’s developmental history and describing their current presentation in each of the key areas, along with the diagnostic conclusion and any recommendations for treatment/management and further assessment/continuous evaluation.