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Occupational Therapy

Pediatric Occupational Therapists evaluate referred students, and where necessary, help them to develop, improve and practice tasks and activities of daily living both in school and at play, enabling students to become more functional, successful and independent. An important part of the treatment process is close cooperation with the parents, other therapists, class and learning support teachers.

The program involves the treatment of:

  • gross motor skills
  • fine motor skills/handwriting
  • self-help skills
  • sensory processing and integration
  • visual perception skills

You can access the online Occupational Therapy Referral Form here.

The following are the areas most often addressed in therapy sessions:

Gross Motor Skills
For good gross-motor control, we need regulated muscle tone, good posture, coordinated and fluid movement. Some children have low muscle tone, so they need to use much more effort to coordinate their movements. This may result in concentration problems, difficulties sitting still, tiring easily and poor posture whilst sitting.

Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting (including Vision)
For good fine-motor control, we need well developed and differentiated shoulder, arm, and hand movements, correct use of force and bilateral coordination. This enables us to use precise grips and use both our hands together in a skilled manner. Some children are unable to use their hands with palms facing upwards. This may result in poor handwriting, clumsy grasp and release skills, difficulties with shoe tying and buttoning. For many fine-motor skills we also need good visual-motor (hand-eye) and visual-perceptual skills in order to basic skills like cutting out a picture, hammering in a nail, or writing on lined paper.

Sensory Processing and Integration
In order to be successful in school, where cognitive and perceptual skills are most important, a child has to be well-organized and attentive. A child has to be able to carry out complex tasks in a step-by-step, logical way in order to complete assignments.

Some children have problems starting a task, because they cannot remember what the teacher told them to do. Some have difficulty putting their thoughts down in writing; they may have lots of ideas, but no structure. Without good sensory-motor development, as described above, this process is hindered and prevents the child from achieving their true potential.

Frequently asked questions

When does my child need OT?

When your child is observed to need a lot of support in any of the above areas by yourself, the teacher, or the doctor. Sometimes behavioral or emotional issues are a result of underlying deficits in self-regulation which need to be addressed.

Some children take longer to reach their “milestones” or are in certain areas “behind” their peer group. It is important for them to be given time, opportunity and experiences to enable the course of “normal” development. For example, a child is unable to write their name unless they have had opportunity to scribble, paint, color-in etc.

How do we get started?

Speak to your homeroom teacher or directly to us. We will first observe your child and if necessary recommend a doctor’s evaluation.

What happens in OT?

In order to help the child become successful and independent in all areas (self-care, school and play) we engage in many different activities designed to improve deficits. Children usually love to come to therapy sessions, Children love to swing in hammocks, make cookies, play ball games and build castles!

How long will therapy last?

This depends on the referring concerns. Some children come for only a few weeks, whereas others may be in therapy up to two years.

Meet the Therapists

Katrin Straeuli
kstraeuli@zis.ch hours of availability: Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays 

Nadine Briefer
nbriefer@zis.ch hours of availability: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

Cost Coverage

In most cases, when prescribed by a doctor, OT services are 90% covered by the child’s health insurance. Other global insurers may differ. Please speak to your therapist and/or your insurance agent.

Parents and teachers can make a request for a pre-assessment using the attached Referral Form. Discussions with the parents and teachers and classroom observations (= 2 x 45 minutes CHF 120). If necessary a pre-assessment will be done in the therapy room, and follow up recommendations to the parents and teachers (CHF 220).

If it has been determined that the child has moderate to severe difficulties the OT will recommend that the child see a pediatrician for an OT referral. In these cases the pre-assessment, further assessments and the therapy is most often covered by Swiss Health Insurance.



CHF 125/hour with child = one session

CHF 80/hour administration, meetings, assessment evaluation etc.

These services will be billed to the parent for recovery from their child’s insurance company. It is important to note that if the pre-assessment phase results in a diagnosis of a mild difficulty, strategies will be provided to the teachers and the cost of the pre-assessment may not be covered by insurance.

You can access Occupational Therapy Referral Form here.

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