Group Therapy – How we do it right!

September 11, 2014
Group therapy - last day of summer

Group therapy - last day of summer!

For several years we moved away from group therapy in an effort to focus on our individual therapy.  This past summer we reinstated our groups, as our local school districts cut back on their offerings of extended school year (summer school).  Our concern was that our current kiddos would miss the consistency and routine that enhances their skills and development.  We are so glad we put these groups together, because the progress we have seen has been remarkable.  Here is how we do it right - group therapy style.  

Themes - we use seasons, books, or whatever is relevant to the child.  Currently we are using the book "Apple Trouble" by Ragnhild Scamell.  All of our group activities are related to the book in some way.  This can get a little tricky at times, but every therapist pulls together to make their suggestions for activities - focusing on making it as natural as possible, while targeting the needs of our clients.

Language - our entire group has a strong language component.  We provide our families with a list of questions pertaining to the story, vocabulary that is addressed, and we also have a sharing time at the end of our group.  This sharing time is an opportunity for reach child to share an item related to the story or theme. 
Water play!

Water play!

Gross motor - during group we work on age-appropriate gross motor activities.  Our focus is on balance, strength, coordination, and motor planning.  By the way, our physical therapists don't think they are creative, but look at this.  

Sensory - group therapy is an excellent opportunity to address sensory processing. We allow movement and opportunities for tactile experiences to enhance the learning process.

Crafts (fine motor) - we always have some sort of project that we complete during group.  The purpose of these projects is more about sequencing and construction (these are components of motor planning); looking at the sample, and then figuring out what they need and how to assemble the project.
Snack time isn't just for eating!

Snack time isn't just for eating!

Snack - our snack times are a blast!  In a group setting, kids are more likely to try foods they would never try at home.  Why?  Because everyone else is doing it!  I call this the "power of peers".  Not only do they have an opportunity to explore new foods, but they have opportunities to work on life skills such as scooping, pouring, spreading, cutting (yes we let them use table/plastic knives).  Snack time during our group therapy is also an excellent opportunity for us to work on manners and socialization.  

Self Cares - during group, all of our clients complete the daily routine similar to how they would in school.  We also incorporate opportunities for dressing, grooming, and hygiene.

Group therapy at Helping Hands has been a huge success!  We have amazing therapists with amazing ideas.  It takes a lot of man hours to put everything together for these groups, but it's well worth the investment based on the progress we have seen.  Click here learn more about the groups we offer.  Hope you enjoyed this little snippet of how we do it right!

Thanks for reading!  C
185 S. Marley Rd. New Lenox, IL 60451