Getting the most out of your child’s therapy session.

March 10, 2015


Identifying that your child needs support is a huge step.  Often times parents are overwhelmed.  No one wants to admit that their child needs help.  However, this is an important first step, and is crucial to getting your child where you want them to be and where they need to be.  Once you get past that initial evaluation and your child is in need of services, what should you expect?  Following are some ways to ensure that you and your child are getting the most out of your therapy sessions.  

Make sure your child wears comfortable clothing.  On many occasions I have had a child come in wearing skinny jeans.  Although these jeans are stylish, they are not very accommodating to moving in and out of positions, climbing, or crawling around.  Throw on some cotton clothing. This holds true for any service your child receives.  Being in comfortable clothing not only allows your child to move freely, but it also offers a sense of relaxation. 

Set some goals and make sure you share those goals with your therapist.  I have started asking families during the initial evaluation two questions.  First--What do you want to get out of therapy?  And second--Where do you see your child in 1 year (sometimes 5 years, depending upon the situation)?  Depending upon their response, I have a general idea of what needs to happen in order for us to meet those goals.  At times, their goals may require additional therapies to meet those needs.  Other times, additional testing or seeking out other professionals is necessary.  If your therapist asks you to obtain additional information from another professional, make sure you understand why.  This will ensure that the therapist's concerns are addressed if you choose to follow those recommendations.

images-15Participate in your child's therapy sessions.  This one can be kind of tricky.  Many clinic settings often have multiple therapists working with multiple children.  This can compromise privacy, and some parents aren't always comfortable with another child's parent in the treating area.  In our clinic, we try to address this in 2 ways.  First, we get permission from families who have therapy at the same time as the family who wants to be included in the session.  Secondly, we have a separate, smaller gym area that can be used when a family wants to participate.  Understanding what your therapist is addressing with your child is imperative for your child's ability to obtain those new skills.  I will note that sometimes it is important for children to attend their therapy sessions independent of the parent.  Some kids just do better when a parent isn't present. 

images-43Home activities.  If your child is receiving services, you should be provided with weekly activities to work on.  The goal of these activities isn't to give you one more thing to do during the week.  The suggestions offered by your therapists should be easily implemented throughout your day, and they should be fun!  If you are working on a skill with your child, not only should it be fun, but it should be implemented in a way where your child is successful!

Communication.  I saved the most important for last.  Communication is key.  Communication needs to occur between the family and the therapist, school personnel, other medical professionals, and independent therapists (such as home based and/or ABA therapists).  There are many factors that can affect your child's progress, and the more we know the better the recommendations we can make.  For instance, if your child woke up 5 times the night before a therapy session, chances are they may have a rough day.  If your school based therapist found a technique to elicit a specific speech sound response, your private therapist should know.  If your doctor put your child on a medication (over the counter, prescription, etc.) your entire team should know.  Often we see kids with sensitive neurological symptoms, and medications of any sort can affect their behavior, emotions, and ability to learn.  The more communication you have between all members of your team the better.

Finally, if you ever feel your child (or you) is not a good fit with the therapist you are working with, find another one.  It happens.  Don't feel bad about it.  Finding someone you and your child can relate to can make all the difference in the world.  


185 S. Marley Rd. New Lenox, IL 60451