When a child is having some developmental challenges and needs to work with an Occupational Therapist, their parents enter a world of therapists and services that is new and unfamiliar to most of them. The process of evaluation and development of an intervention plan can be intimidating. It may be tempting for parents to rely on the therapist to “fix” the problem. However, when parents make an effort to understand their child’s diagnosis and become active participants in the intervention process, there are benefits not just for the child but for the parents and therapists as well.
Given the number of hours per day a child spends with family versus therapist, opportunities for practice are multiplied when parents encourage practice outside of therapy sessions. Extending therapy targets into the child’s home environment promotes learning.
The therapy process affects the entire family, not just the child attending therapy. Parents and other family members who are actively involved in the therapy process are more likely to be comfortable giving valuable feedback to the therapist. Such feedback can help the therapist determine the next steps in the continuing evolution of therapy goals. It may also help the therapist recognize what they do that works well for the child and their family and what they do that is not as effective. We lay the foundations in the clinic room and then regular practice and transfer of skills needs to happens in day to day ‘real’ life. Home practice is the key to success!
— Lize Roos