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About Us

15 years ago, Kerry Evetts realised the need for a paediatric Occupational Therapy (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, which included Ashley Dearling, to meet the demand. Realising her true passion lay in working with children on the Autism Spectrum, in 2018 Kerry began treating these special individuals exclusively while Ashley Dearling took over the remaining OT business.

Today, Ashley Dearling Occupational Therapists provides both school based Occupational Therapy at local schools, and practice based sessions from our 2 practices in central Ballito and Salt Rock. Whilst we predominantly treat children with a wide variety of difficulties, we also offer OT services to adolescents and adults with sensory and mental health challenges.  At Ashley 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 is 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

What is Occupational Therapy? 2022-05-02T22:24:02+02:00

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.


How do I know if my child requires Occupational Therapy? 2022-05-02T22:06:02+02:00

Generally, a child is 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 his/her development. This may include, but not 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 presenting with problematic behaviour. In some cases, a parent or family member may notice a behaviour that 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). They 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 them to an Occupational Therapist.

What is an Occupational Therapy assessment and what does this entail? 2022-05-02T22:07:25+02:00

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. 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.

What areas are addressed in Occupational Therapy treatment? 2022-05-02T22:34:14+02:00

The areas addressed in a child’s Occupational Therapy treatment 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 problem areas that require development. Some of the areas addressed during a child’s sessions could include: sensory processing, postural control, shoulder girdle stability, bilateral integration and midline 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.)

What age should my child begin therapy? 2022-05-02T22:08:00+02:00

Whilst a child 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 its life. This is because a child’s early experiences – the things they see, hear, touch, smell and taste – stimulate 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, although more frequent therapy sessions may be required for the same progress to be made.

How often will my child have to be seen for Occupational Therapy? 2022-05-02T22:08:18+02:00

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 the 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 how often a child will need to attend, and will estimate how long therapy will be required. High intensity, high frequency Occupational Therapy does produce the best results, and this is why our therapists may recommend “Block Therapy” (3-5 sessions per a week for 1-2 weeks during school holidays) to accelerate progress.

If you have any questions, please contact us

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