10 years ago, Kerry Evetts realised the need for a paediatric OT practice in Ballito and founded Kerry Evetts Occupational Therapy, which focused on treating children using a Sensory Integrative approach. The business grew significantly and within a few years, Kerry employed additional therapists to meet the demand. Realising her true passion lay in working with children on the Autism Spectrum, Kerry moved to Eden Health in January 2018 and working alongside the Autism Project began treating these special individuals exclusively. At the same time, Evetts and Dearling Occupational Therapists was founded, with Ashley Dearling at the helm, to provide ongoing Occupational Therapy to infants, children, adolescents and adults.
Today, Evetts and Dearling Occupational Therapists, based in the heart of Ballito, provides both school based Occupational Therapy at local schools, and practice based sessions. Whilst we predominantly treat children with a wide variety of difficulties, we also offer Occupational Therapy services to adolescents and adults with sensory and mental health challenges. At Evetts and Dearling Occupational Therapists, we strive to practice Evidence Based Occupational Therapy and regularly attend courses, conferences and workshops to ensure that we provide up-to-date and relevant “best practice” therapy. Parents, teachers, and important role players, are regarded as crucial members of each client’s therapy team, and our therapists work closely with them to ensure each client achieves his/her goals. As a team, we believe good results are achieved by having boundless enthusiasm, positivity and patience, and we strive to ensure that each client experiences this. Our objective is that each client leaves the session feeling capable, competent, positive and happy.
In the end, it’s not about what we say about ourselves, it is what our clients think of, and say about us. Our testimonials speak for themselves – please read them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Occupational Therapy is an allied health care profession that aims to assist people in engaging optimally in their occupations, and uses meaningful and purposeful activities to enable each person to achieve their full potential. Occupational Therapy with children aims at establishing why a child is having difficulty playing, learning, socialising, or engaging in their self-care activities and addresses these difficulties through play (which makes it meaningful, purposeful and fun for them). Indirectly Occupational Therapy assists in improving their self-esteem and confidence, social skills and belief in their ability because, as their skills improve, they realise that they are capable of more than they thought possible.
Generally, children are referred for Occupational Therapy by a teacher, therapist or doctor who may have identified a difficulty, or cluster of difficulties in a particular area of their development. This may include, but not be limited to, a delay in meeting their gross motor milestones, struggling to cope with fine motor activities in the classroom, appearing clumsy or accident prone, having difficulty concentrating or coping in a multi-sensory environment or present with problematic behavior. In many cases, a parent or a family member may notice a behavior that they think may be inappropriate or unusual (and not how their friends’ child or a sibling is responding) or see that their child is struggling with a particular task (e.g. dressing him/herself, running without falling over, assembling puzzles, drawing, colouring and cutting) and then may make contact with an Occupational Therapist for an assessment to explore this further. In some cases, the referral is made after a parent discusses their concerns with a family doctor who may refer the family to an Occupational Therapist.
An Occupational Therapy assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s sensory processing, postural control, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual perception and activities of daily living. We use a variety of standardized and non-standardized assessments which are selected based on age and the reason for referral, in order to identify a child’s unique strengths as well as the areas requiring intervention. The first 30 minutes of the assessment is usually spent in a parent interview where pertinent background information regarding birth, medical, social, family and scholastic history is obtained, after which the remaining 1 ½ hours is spent engaging with, getting to know, and assessing the child. A classroom observation is also recommended in order for the therapist to gain a better understanding of the child’s performance and engagement in the classroom.
The areas addressed in a child’s Occupational Therapy treatment sessions will depend on the areas of difficulty identified in the Occupational Therapy assessment as therapy sessions are tailored to their unique needs. Our Occupational Therapists are skilled at using each child’s passions and areas of strength, to address those areas that require development whilst ensuring that they also experience success. Some of the areas that may be addressed during a child’s sessions include: Sensory processing, postural control, shoulder girdle stability, bilateral integration and mid line crossing, motor planning, gross motor skills, fine motor skills (pencil grip and control, colouring, cutting and handwriting), visual perception and Activities of Daily Living (dressing, feeding, grooming etc.)
Whilst a person can commence Occupational Therapy at any age, the younger one starts, the better. In the first five years of life, a child’s brain develops exponentially and faster than at any other time in their life. This is because a child’s early experiences – the things they see, hear, touch, smell and taste – stimulates their brain, creating millions of connections, all of which contribute to their learning, growth and development. A young child’s brain is “neuroplastic”, which means that it can be moulded and changed, and as a result children who start therapy at a young age show the greatest gains, need less therapy and are discharged faster. This is why Bill Gates said, “The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out.” This does not mean that OT is not beneficial for older children, it is, however more frequent therapy sessions may be required for the same progress to be made.
Each case is different, however children who attend Occupational Therapy at our practice generally attend one or two 30 minute or 45-minute session/s weekly. This will depend on each child’s age and the areas of difficulty that need to be worked on in therapy. Following the Occupational Therapy assessment,the therapist will recommend often a child will need to attend, and will estimate how long therapy will be required. High intensity, high frequency Occupational Therapy does however produce the best results, and this is why our therapists may recommend “block therapy” (3-5 sessions per a week for a week or two) during school holidays to give progress a boost.