Why are therapists family focused? Do we have to be involved? Are home programs that important?
Therapists talk about being “family centered” or “family focused” all the time. What does it mean? Why are therapists family focused?
And why do I as a parent, keep getting homework from my therapist? I thought going to therapy was enough? Aren’t they meant to do it all?
We know that children learn the best from their parents (and research tells us this!). That is because they love their parents and their parents love them (we call this secure attachment). When a child falls over, they want to run to their Mum or Dad to get reassurance about the world.
When accessing therapy, it is better for the therapist to teach the Mum or the Dad (or caregivers) how to do the intervention as the child learns faster and better from them (rather than the therapist).
This means that families get a better quality therapy and goal outcomes (because the little ones are learning faster and better off Mum and Dad) but also more value for money as they are able to take bits and pieces and add them into their daily life at home (which means therapy continues more than just in the session).
Sometimes parents can get caught up on having to do ‘everything’ when it comes to therapy home programs. While doing everything prescribed is awesome, even just focusing on one or two things will still be beneficial (as kids learn best of Mum and Dad). It is important that you don’t burn out, especially if you are seeing more than one professional, where you might be getting more than one program.
Home programs are basically the therapy homework that families get given to work on at home (because kids learn best off Mum and Dad).
If your therapist is giving you homework – ask what is the most important element is to work on and focus on that.
Just be involved in therapy! Ask questions and make sure you understand what they want you to work on for that week or coming months.
And of course loving and enjoying and playing with your child (whether they have additional needs or not) will improve their development!!
Who can help?
GPs, teachers, child care staff, other parents, OTs, Speechies, Psychologists, community nurses.
Love your child, play with them!