Children who struggle to carry out day to day “occupations” can benefit a great deal through occupational therapy sessions. A child’s occupations may include play, self-care routines, education, and social interactions.
If your child is going for occupational therapy sessions, try to help them make the most of this time. These sessions can truly help them reach their highest potential. Here are five things that every parent can do to ensure that their child performs to their best during each occupational therapy session:
Dress for comfort
There is a great deal of active movement involved in occupational therapy sessions. Therefore, it is important to dress your child in comfortable, loose fitting clothing on the day of the therapy. This will allow your child to move freely and get the most out of therapy activities. If the child has sensory issues, remember to remove clothing tags and stay clear of stiff or scratchy fabrics as these can be a major distraction during the session.
Share the complete history
Before beginning the sessions, it is important to share the summary of your child’s history with the occupational therapist. Let the therapist know about your pregnancy details, your child’s birth and medical history, as well as previous therapy evaluations and sessions, if any. You can also share your child’s interests, likes and dislikes with your therapist which can be helpful for them during the sessions. This knowledge can be useful for the therapist in building a bond with your child and result in successful therapy sessions.
Set Goals with the therapist
Parents know exactly what activities and tasks that their child struggles with on a daily basis. Therefore, they should always be involved with setting the child’s goals for therapy. Discuss with the therapist about what is important to you as well as your child. If possible, also try to include your child’s teacher when setting therapy goals. The teacher can provide useful input related to specific skill deficits that cause barriers in the school setting. Working together is important to make the most out of occupational therapy sessions.
When your child is receiving regular therapy sessions, it is important to have an open communication with the therapist. Maintaining a communication notebook helps. Through this, parents can share any information that they think the therapist must be made aware of. It can also help the therapist understand what has been going on in the child’s life since the previous therapy session. However, it is important to remember that a therapist’s schedule is typically very busy, so there may not always be time for prompt discussion. If there is a critical issue that needs attention, it might be a good idea to schedule a phone call or meeting with the therapist.
Participate in sessions if possible
If possible, talk to your child’s therapist whether you can observe or participate in the occupational therapy treatment sessions. This will help you understand how your child responds to therapy. Let the therapist decide whether it is better for you to stay in the background and observe, or get more involved with the treatment. Also, ask the therapists whether it is ok to ask questions during or after the therapy sessions.
As a parent, you know what works best for your child. Being more involved and sharing your concerns can help the therapist understand the unique requirements of your child. This way, you can work together to make the most out of your child’s occupational therapy sessions.