In our latest Facebook chat, we spoke to Doug Levine of Growing Places Therapy in Austin, TX. Doug has practiced therapy for 19 years and has provided services in the home setting, clinic settings, school districts, Early Childhood Intervention, and has worked closely with a variety of doctors.
Doug chatted with us about all things physical and occupational therapy. Here we’ve broken down the top 5 takeaways from our chat on Therapy and Your Child. You can see the chat in its entirety below, or view it on Facebook.
Top 5 Takeaways: Therapy and Your Child
1. You have options!
A referral for therapy services, whether physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy, is more of a suggestion. You are welcome to visit the provider your doctor has suggested, or find one on your own. If you know other parents who have taken advantage of therapy services, ask them what worked for them and how they came to that decision. At the end of the day, you as the parent have the power to make the choice that fits best for your child.
2. Interview potential providers
Doug says, “These are the people that will be working closely with you, with your child, possibly coming in to your home. You want to feel a connection with the provider. If not, move on. This is potentially a close and long-term relationship. It should feel like a team, not like you are being told what to do.”
3. Choose what’s best for you and your child
When it comes to different types of therapy (home vs. clinic or ECI), no one type is better than the other; it’s a matter of the best fit. Young preemies with compromised immune systems may want to avoid visiting a clinic setting and opt instead to be seen in a home environment.
4. Incorporate therapy into every day life
Incorporating therapy into your day-to-day life can have a big impact. Your therapist can show you how to take what your child is learning and apply it to your daily activities, from diaper changing and bottle feeding to holding your baby or playing on the floor. For older children, your therapist may recommend yoga moves or balance exercises that you can easily do together.
5. Communication is key
Like Doug mentioned in #2 above, parents will want to make sure there is a connection with the therapy provider. Communication is essential. Parents should ask questions and get involved in their child’s therapy. Doug says, “When I work with a family, I would rather have someone ask many, many questions to me than none at all. I want the parents/caregivers to understand what I’m doing and why.” Communication often helps parents get more involved, which improves the child’s therapy experience and progress.
Find the entire chat here: