The list of decisions to make when one becomes a parent can be more than a little daunting. As soon as you solve one dilemma you may find another pops up in its place! Deciding on occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, counselling, behavioral therapy or early childhood developmental therapy for your child is an important step for your family that may also raise some questions. What’s supposed to happen? How long will it take? How do I know the therapist is right for my child? We hope these 5 tips will help you rest assured that you have the information you need to get the most out of the therapeutic experience.
1. Once you have been assigned a therapist and have determined the location where therapy is to take place, you will want to consider your own expectations for services. Here are some questions to consider:
-Are the goals you’ve identified with your team during your child’s assessment still relevant?
-Do you feel confident you have a clear understanding of the type of therapy your child is to receive?
-How will you receive feedback about your child’s progress?
-Does your child have a consistent appointment time each week? And what happens during holidays?
2. You should feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and ideas with your therapist. Together, you will establish the best ways to support your child’s specific needs. If at any point you have questions or concerns, it is perfectly okay to address them directly! This is part of developing a solid therapeutic rapport with the therapist who is working with your child. Your therapist will work through scheduling and communication with you, as well as address any questions you may have about your child’s therapy.
3. It is very common to experience a variety of emotions after your child’s first therapy session. You may feel relief that you and your child are getting support and strategies. Your child could have received their first appointment at school and you may feel you want to get to know more about your therapist’s treatment style. Let your therapist know! A good therapist will welcome your honest reflections.
5. Make sure you and your child’s therapist are on the same page as far as a plan of care. The important thing to remember is that the therapist’s ultimate goal is to help your child achieve their potential in their everyday life – outside of their treatment sessions. It can be difficult to predict how long it will take a child to master a skill. Each child will respond at their own pace. And it can take time for the therapist and child to establish a warm and trusting rapport. Sometimes children return to therapy after their initial discharge as they grow or life circumstances reveal challenges in their ability to perform typical childhood tasks. Try to keep an open mind and an open line of communication.
If you have further questions about the therapies we provide or would like to talk further about ways to make the most of your child’s therapeutic journey, we encourage you to reach out to our Clinical Director Tamara Delaney, MA OTR/L at Tami@hmsystemsinc.com.