Have you thought about what happens in your child’s therapy session? As therapy sessions tend to happen every one to two weeks, it’s important for care givers to help children develop skills or change a behaviour.
To do this they need:
- ongoing input throughout the week, or weeks between sessions
- a chance to frequently practice the skill or behaviour
- opportunities to use to the skill in day-to-day life.
Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a therapist’s working life. So, in order to make the most of the sessions it is worth thinking about how you can be involved in helping your child.
Check in on your child’s goals!
Regularly talking about your child’s goals and reviewing how they are progressing is very helpful. The benefits of doing this are:
- it keeps everyone’s expectations on the same page
- it helps to highlight progress – even the small steps – that your child is making
- it helps make sure that the goals are clear and relevant to you.
Often things can change that can impact on what you are focused on or prioritising. For example, there could be changes in the child’s behaviour, the home environment, family structure, or the school environment. This can mean that the priority of the child’s goals might need to be reviewed. Making space at the start of the session to check in on the goals can help maintain the relevance of the therapy sessions and the strategies being used.
Get Involved in the session!
Talk to your therapist about how you can be involved in your child’s session. This has several benefits for reaching your child’s goals:
- You can practice the strategies with the therapist. During this time there is a chance for discussion between yourself and the therapist so you can be confident with what you are doing with your child
- You can work with the therapist on developing strategies or activities that will work within your home situation
- Your child gets familiar with doing the targeted skill with you and hearing your prompts and feedback. This familiarity will help transition the practice of skills into the home environment.
The level of your involvement will be very different depending on:
- the age of your child
- the goals being targeted
- the location of the session
- the strategies being used.
Taking it Home
How does the session relate to what happens at home? As mentioned at the start, therapy sessions are one part of your child’s week or fortnight. To make the most of what is happening during the session, think about what you can take and apply at home.
It is worth talking with your child’s therapist about:
- strategies that can be used at home on a daily basis
- using regular routines and activities to practice skills that work towards your child’s goal(s)
- talking through what worked at home (and also what didn’t work).
Remember, the most important thing to do is to communicate! The therapy sessions are more than a therapist ‘doing therapy’ with your child, they are an opportunity to work together to support your child’s development. Skills easily develop through activities and strategies that can be added into your child’s daily routine. If you are not sure of something, don’t understand an approach being used, feel that it is not quite the right goal or if things change, talk to the therapist.