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Does my child need a referral? Who can make a referral?

Any child, birth to kindergarten, entrance are eligible for CDS services. Referrals are usually based on a concern about a child’s development. Referrals may be made by:

  • Parents
  • Doctors
  • Head Start Programs
  • Preschools
  • Public Health
  • Human Services

Screenings, evaluations, and services are not given without consent from parents.

Reasons to Refer a Child for an Occupational Therapy Screening

Occupational therapy refers to the ability to do activities of daily living (ADL). Activities include dressing, bathing, toileting, or eating. Occupational therapists make adaptive equipment recommendations to improve the child’s development. Here are some reasons to refer a child for an Occupational Therapy (OT) screening:

  • Tactile (touching)
    • Child withdraws from or does not like being touched or displays aggressive social behavior.
    • Child does not like to stand in line or have others too close to him/her.
    • Child avoids “messy” activities like finger paint and play-dough.
  • Vestibular (balance)
    • Child is afraid of activities such as swings, merry-go-rounds, slides.
    • Child has excessive need for fast movement activities; may sing or rock self often.
    • Highly distractible, can’t pay attention.
    • Impulsive, unsafe behavior.
  • Academic (school)
    • Child has weak or unusual pencil grasp
    • Has not become either left-handed or right-handed
    • Presses too hard or too soft when writing
    • Refuses to participate in fine motor activities
  • Child has difficulty when dressing, feeding, and sleeping when compared to others his/her age.
  • Has a diagnosed physical disability that will affect his/her educational performance.
  • Child has a need for special equipment or physical changes to environment.


Reasons to Refer a Child for a Physical Therapy Screening

A child should have a physical therapy screening when s/he has trouble in any of the following areas:

Gross Motor Skill Development (making large movements)

  • Balance
    • Does the child seem clumsy? Fall often?
    • Does the child appear unsafe on a playground?
    • Does the child drop things often?
  • Strength
    • Is the child often tired during the day?
    • Is the child unable to open doors or carry books?
    • Is the child unable to sit correctly in a chair?
    • Is the child able to get up from the floor easily?
    • Does the child have poor posture?
  • Coordination
    • Is the child older than 15 months walking?
    • Does the child bump into things or trip often?

Physical Disability

Does the child have a diagnosed disability that will affect his or her education? Does the child have a need for special equipment or environment changes?

If the child needs physical therapy, it may consist of:

  • evaluation
  • exercises
  • help with walking
  • adaptive equipment recommendations
  • massage
  • heat therapy
  • cold therapy

Some physical therapy goals may overlap with occupational therapy goals. If you have any questions, call your physician.

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Table of Contents |  What is Early Intervention? | What is EPSDT?
When should I seek early intervention services? | What are CDS in Maine?
How do I find my local CDS office? | Does my child need a referral?
What happens at a screening? | What is an ECT meeting? | What is an IFSP?
What happens at a review of an IFSP? | Other Useful Links