When I started my practice a year and a half ago, there was no doubt in my mind that I would offer home based therapy services. After practicing in traditional clinic settings for 16 years, I knew there was a better way to provide services.
Over the last 18 months, I have seen over and over again that children make faster gains when the therapy happens where the child spends their life. When I work with kids with feeding delays—their kitchen table is where the magic happens—not my therapy clinic. When a child is learning play skills, we do therapy at the park. I have seen firsthand the incredible benefits of doing therapy with children in their most natural environment.
A therapy clinic provides many unique opportunities as well. The sensory gym at Connect Pediatric Therapy is a place many children love to be. The ideal situation is for therapy to move between several different settings. This is the way life is lived-in many different environments. Therefore therapy context should be flexible to grow and change with the child and family’s needs.
What is home based therapy?
Simply put—home based therapy is when the therapist comes to your home to work with your child.
Can any child receive home based therapy?
YES! Traditionally people think of home health when they hear home based therapy. These things are very different. Home health is providing medical needs to those that cannot or should not leave their home. Home based therapy is available to ANY child, and MOST children can benefit.
What is a child’s most natural environment?
The most natural environment is the exact location an activity takes place. Getting dressed takes place in a child’s bedroom. Eating lunch happens at the table. Transitions happen in the living room or at the grocery store.
What are the benefits of home based therapy?
- “On the spot” problem solving
When a therapist can see how a child interacts with the family in their most natural setting, it allows for much greater insight into what it is like for the child in their everyday life. This helps the therapist, as well as the family, understand where and when conflicts can arise. This can be a great opportunity to help families get advice on what to do exactly in those moments to help alleviate the issue in a way where the advice can be applied then and there to help make the entire experience feel less foreign.
Therapists can be present at the exact time and place that struggles are happening. This allows for quick problem-solving in the moment. If a child is struggling to transition from playtime to mealtime, the therapist can help the parent while the actual transition takes place.
- Meeting goals faster
When therapists come to the child’s natural environment, parents are empowered to learn activities. They can continue the progress made during therapy sessions throughout their week, and ultimately the child meets goals faster.
- Families can stay home
Taking a child to a medical appointment affects the entire family. It often monopolizes the better part of a day. The child (and their siblings) have to be bundled up and transported. Siblings have to be entertained in either a waiting room or the car. Parents may have to take a half-day from work. If instead the child is seen at home or preschool, no one has to adjust their day. Instead, the therapist naturally fits into the routine of the day.
- Less anxiety
There is stress for both parents and children when going to a medical clinic. A child may become anxious having to be uprooted from whatever they were doing to get ready to go to an appointment and then meet an unfamiliar person in an unfamiliar environment. When a child is working with an in-home therapist instead, it takes away many of those anxiety-inducing factors. A child could be met at home (or at school if it is better) so that they are able to feel more at ease in a safe space, and they will be working with the same therapist throughout their care so that a rapport is built and they know they can trust their therapist.
- More opportunities for family participation
Traditional clinic settings usually involve a parent dropping off a child, then a hurried conversation at the end of a session where the therapist attempts to relay important information. When therapy takes place at home, parents and therapists can communicate throughout and have a team approach. Parents are the experts on their children. Having the therapist come to the child’s home also lets the family get advice on how to continue the work with their child between appointments in a way that works best for each individual family.
- More opportunities for learning activities
One of the other great opportunities that come with a therapist working with a child in a natural setting is the option for more fun and active learning activities. When not contained to the four walls of an office setting, it allows the therapist to be able to have activities and exercises that will be best for the individual child as opposed to a forced activity that they may not enjoy. This will not only make the sessions of in-home therapy for children more fun and exciting for the child but also lets the therapist tailor the session in a way that helps the child meet their particular goals in the most helpful way.
Providing therapy within a child’s natural environment has many powerful benefits. If you have a child in the Lincoln, NE area and would like more information about how Connect Pediatric Therapy can help your family, please visit connectpediatrictherapy.com or call 402-413-1356.