If you were employing a tradesman like a painter in your house, would you accept the quote of the first one you see? Most people would do their research and ask around, and get several quotes and more information to help them decide on the painter that is best for them. It is the same when looking for service providers, or therapists. You have a right to ask questions and find a provider that is right for you.
Ask yourself these questions to help you decide if a provider/therapist is right for your child and family.
- Can the provider/therapist do what I want them to do?
- What are the costs of the provider/therapist’s services?
- Is the provider/therapist reliable?
- How much choice will the provider/therapist give me in the way I receive services and supports?
- Will I be respected as an individual by the provider/therapist?
- How will the provider/therapist protect my safety and well-being?
- Is it better for me to access all the services through the one service provider, or can I access the services I need through individual services?
Other questions families could ask the provider or therapist include:
- Are you/your therapists registered with your professional organisations?
- Are you registered to provide services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)?
- What experience have you had working with;
- People with this condition
- This task (e.g. wheelchair prescription, developmental play)
- This age group
- How will you provide the service – many different professionals together or only one at a time?
- Do you have a waiting list? How long do you estimate it will be until you can see my child?
- If you need help or are not sure what to do, who do you go to for support?
- Will you engage with other mainstream services, for example, work with health practitioners, work with and visit preschool/school?
- Is the therapy service to be provided in my home, at my child’s pre-school/school or at the services clinic?
- Will you set therapy goals with me and my child? How often will we review these goals? How will we know when goals have been achieved?
- Do you use evidence based interventions (treatment techniques that have been proven to work)?
Keep in mind that not all areas have providers with experience in all areas of therapy. This does not mean that they cannot be your therapist, but that they might need more support from another therapist at first.
You may want to ask the following questions regarding the service/organisation:
- What is the experience and qualifications of the therapists/workers? Do they receive regular training?
- What supervision/mentoring do the therapists/workers receive?
- If I have concerns or if I am unhappy with the service I receive, how can I provide feedback? Who do I need to speak with?
- What happens if my child is sick? What is your cancellation policy?
- What happens if my therapist/worker leaves? How long will I have to wait to have a new one allocated?
You may need to make a written agreement with your provider(s). This is called a Service Agreement. Service Agreements should be simple and set out how and when your supports will be delivered.
What is important for me and my family when choosing a provider? (expertise, availability, approach, costs, etc.).
Consider numbering these from lowest to highest priority.
Ageing, Disability & Home Care factsheet: Choosing a private Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist or Speech Pathologist for a child with a developmental disability.
Occupational Therapy Neuromuscular Interest Group (NSW)
- Choose a therapist/provider that you and your child are comfortable with so you can all work together to make therapy a success.
- If you are not happy with the progress that is being made, talk to your therapist. It is important they understand how you feel therapy is going. If you feel there is no resolution, consider choosing a different provider.