Consistency is important in therapy to help your child maximize their results. They can’t only follow a certain routine or practice certain skills while with the therapist – these activities need to carry over to home and school as well. Getting the whole family involved not only supports progress, but can be fun for everyone.
Sometimes it can be difficult for siblings to understand why their brother or sister gets to go “play” and have one-on-one attention from a therapist and they don’t. Letting them be involved at home (or even during therapy sessions when possible) can make them feel more included. Plus, it can be helpful for your child to work with a sibling because they’re closer in age and spend a lot of time together anyway.
Siblings can be wonderful role models. Help your kids demonstrate the proper way to take turns, share, ask questions, follow directions, and resolve problems. Parents should also pay attention to their own actions, words, and behaviors to set a good example. Family modeling can help with social skills and provide reinforcement throughout the day and in a variety of settings.
Talk to your child’s therapist to find out what skills they’re currently working on and how you can support them at home. You can incorporate gross and fine motor skills as well as sensory activities into things such as:
- Arts and crafts projects
- Outdoor play
- Making dinner
- Cleaning up
- Playing dress up
Find activities that everyone can participate in or adapt what you’re doing so that everyone is included. Teaching siblings how to use assistive devices allows them to better support their brother or sister with special needs and help them to keep learning and practicing.
When you go on family outings, whether it’s to the park, a museum, a restaurant, or even the grocery store, consider the skills your child is working on and how to incorporate them. This may mean having them order their own meal, climb the steps to the slide by themselves (under your watchful eye), pick out five apples, or put on their own jacket. They may have to work together with a sibling to build a block tower, take turns pushing a button, or wait patiently for their turn.
There are many ways that families can create a fun, loving, and supportive environment that encourages their children to thrive and develop their independence. It may involve changing your perspective or how you do certain things, but you can help your child make the most of their therapies and overcome challenges. PediaPlex is a one-stop-shop for many therapies and services your child may benefit from, whether you’re looking for ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or other resources.
Could your child benefit from additional therapy services? Contact PediaPlex to see how we can help.