One of the most popular questions we hear as pediatric therapists is “how long will treatment take for my child”? Parents like to be able to visualize a plan of action and know that there is an end in sight. Parents want to make sure that their child is not only keeping up with same-aged peers, but fitting in with their peers, and succeeding across environments: at home, at school, and within the community. As therapists, we completely understand this mindset and want to help parents to feel valued and heard. And we want to work as a team to create appropriate goals and treatment ideas to help each child reach their greatest potential by working as a team.
How Pediatric Therapy Sessions Work:
- Every child progresses differently, which is why each child has their own individualized set of goals and recommendations. Similarly, one strategy may work quickly for one child and not at all for another. Therefore, treatment strategies are unique to each child.
- Consistency and follow through at home is extremely important, as a child is typically only in the clinic for 1-2 hours per week. Whether it is 10 minutes or an hour, finding time to complete your child’s exercises each day makes a huge difference in their progress, skill sets, and success. For example: heavy work activities to help with self-regulation; theraputty to work on hand strength; practicing natural environment skills while at the playground; increasing turn-taking and initiation of conversation during mealtime.
- Typically, therapists work with a client for at least 6 months, at which point a re-evaluation can occur to assess progress made since the initial evaluation and revise the goals and plans for the future. Therefore, a date for course completion can not be determined at the initial evaluation. The therapist will continue to assess progress throughout the child’s therapy sessions, and together with the parents will decide on a course completion date when appropriate. Overall, course completion is very case specific.
- Treatment may be longer than anticipated to make sure that there is a smooth transition for the child, to make sure all goals have been met, to make sure the child will be successful moving forward (e.g. going into the next school year), and to make sure both the child and the family have the tools and resources to continue to make progress, rather than see regression.
- Teamwork is huge. By collaborating with other professionals (e.g. teacher, coach, other therapists), the child will have several advocates working together towards one purpose- his success. Similarly, when everyone works together to meet the child’s wants and needs, there will be greater consistency and, therefore, greater success.