As an occupational therapist, the clients that I work with are seen either once or twice a week, for 1/2 hour sessions. I’d like to think that the therapy sessions are important, but I know that without carryover and consistency, my clients will not make the gains that I am hoping for, and as quickly as I would like them to.
At a therapy center where I am employed, my clients are given home programs which are taught (in person) to the parent or individual who will follow through with the program. Specific exercises and/or sensory activities are taught to each client. Programs are meant to be performed consistently, usually 5 (or more) days a week and take about 20-30 minutes on average. We explain to parents that therapy twice a week is not enough to see significant results, and parents are usually consistent with the program, or they hire someone to come to their homes to carry out the exercises with their children. The programs are reevaluated and updated based on the client’s needs. I (and the parents) have seen nice progress using this approach. I know that this type of approach is difficult in many settings, but it isimportant to realize how crucial carry-over is.
At the special education/kindergarten where I work, we send home monthly therapy updates with suggested activities. We also try to recommend adaptations and activities for use on theclassroom when needed, and devise sensory diet activities for some of the students. Unfortunately, not all the parents and teachers are receptive or capable of following through with the suggestions. In addition, contact with the parent is not as consistent in the schools as the therapy center and it is often questionable as to if and how the parents are following through with the suggestions.
In general, the clients who are following through with the activities/exercises either at home or in the classroom show more progress than those who are not. Fellow therapists, parents and educators let’s all try to work together to devise and follow through with carryover programs, which ultimately provide our children/students/clients the best possible chances of achieving success!
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