How is my child doing in therapy?

Written by Kate Grimes


When your child is following a therapy plan it’s important that you understand the goals being worked on.  Is your child attending Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) / Occupational Therapy (OT) or Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)? Depending on this: language goals/ fine motor goals/ gross motor goals/ speech goals / behaviour goals may be included in your child’s plan following an assessment. Are you clear about all the targets on your child’s plan? It’s important to clarify any questions you have with your therapist. How many goals are on your child’s therapy plan? Does your child’s therapist know what your priorities are? Have these priorities been included? How often will your child attend therapy? Is the therapy time scheduled at a time that suits their daily routine? For example scheduling a therapy session during your child’s regular nap time might not lead to the best results in their therapy session! Will the sessions take place in a therapy clinic/ in your home or at your child’s nursery/ school?

Observation and participation  

Observing how your is child working with their therapist can answer a lot of questions you have about your child’s plan! How does the therapist establish your child’s attention and motivation to take part in the session? How is the task set up for your child and in what order does the therapist follow through on each of the steps? Does the therapist give your child any help to support them following through on the task? How is your child reinforced for following through on a task e.g. are they given praise or a toy to play with? How many steps must your child follow through on before they are given a reward/ a break? Is it possible for you to do the activity with your child in front of their therapist so that you can get some feedback about (i) how the activity is going? (ii) any changes that may improve how your child responds to you?

Monitoring/ tracking progress

How is your therapist monitoring your child’s progress in sessions? Do they take outcome measures on the goals they are working on? Are you clear on how progress is measured? This may help you see whether your child has made improvements on a particular skill or whether some more practice is needed. How is your child’s progress communicated to you? Sometimes progress can be presented in a visual format (for example on a graph). This approach is often used as part of an ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) therapy programme. By looking at results on a graph it can be easier to see how your child is performing on a particular skill.

Homework 

Do you know what your child’s homework is? Are you clear on how to follow through on your child’s homework? Will you follow through on your child’s homework or will another person follow through e.g. another carer? If another person is responsible can that person attend your child’s therapy sessions and observe what’s happening? Do you need to prepare any materials yourself or get photocopies of any activities? The more often you can follow on therapy targets at home the easier it will be for your child to retain what they have been working on in the session.

Progress reviews

How often do you review your child’s progress with their therapist? Has your child’s therapy plan been written for a specified period of time? For example over a block of twelve sessions to correspond with a term at school? Perhaps you have set a couple of goals that you have agreed should be completed/ mastered after two or three weeks? Having a timeframe in place will help keep you focused on your child’s goals.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you! 

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