Are you a parent who has just signed their child up for their first occupational therapy visit with The Connections Therapy Center? First of all, welcome! We have lots of resources for parents of children with special needs and look forward to getting to know you and your child. Right now, you’re probably getting ready for your first session, and you may have a few questions. What do regular occupational therapy sessions mean for you and your child? Will you need to bring anything? Will your child enjoy occupational therapy? Here are a few things you should know about your first occupational therapy visit.
You’ll Spend a Lot of Time Answering Questions
During your first visit, we ask you a few questions so that we can get to know your child and their needs better. We’ll ask about your child’s likes, dislikes, challenges, fears, allergies, medications, developmental history, and any relevant experiences with past therapists. Getting to talk to you in person about these topics helps our occupational therapists to get a more nuanced and personal understanding of your child and their needs. Since occupational therapy is very play-based, it helps to know what your child’s favorite toys, colors, etc. are so that we can personalize their experience!
We’ll also ask you about the particular goals that you want your child to achieve. Since you are the one who sees how your child’s struggles affect their daily life, it is important to get feedback from you on the direction in which you would like the therapy to take.
Have Your Child Wear Comfortable Clothes for Playing
Did we mention that occupational therapy is play-based? This means that your child is going to have a lot of fun playing on all of the therapy equipment! This guided play requires a lot of movement, so it’s important that your child is wearing clothing that is comfortable for moving around in. Also, remember to bring socks! We ask that children take off their shoes to play with the equipment, so if your youngster is wearing sandals on the day of the appointment, be sure to bring a pair of socks with you!
Don’t Eat a Big Meal
There will be a lot of swinging, spinning, and crawling during your child’s first occupational therapy visit! To avoid an upset tummy, make sure that your child has a light snack rather than a full meal before your session.
Reschedule If Your Child Is Sick
If your child is sick, by all means, call us ahead of time to reschedule. We understand, kids get sick often. Try to give at least 24-hour notice if you can, and still call us to reschedule even if it’s last minute. While all of our equipment is cleaned regularly, it helps to protect children from catching a cold if other children wait to get better before coming in. Kids can’t help getting sick, but parents can definitely help prevent sickness from spreading by keeping their children at home until they feel better!
Take Notes and Ask Questions
Your first occupational therapy session (as well as future sessions) is going to include an avalanche of information from your therapist! Your therapist will have suggestions and activities that you can do at home, and being able to take notes will help you to remember everything. You can even take notes on your smartphone or tablet, using the camera to take pictures of toys at therapy sessions that you would like to look up later for your own home!
To make sure that you understand everything your therapist tells you, it’s a good idea to ask questions. And don’t be shy to ask your therapist why they are doing a certain exercise and how you can replicate it at home. Your therapist is your resource; when you ask questions and your therapist gives you feedback, you’re working as a team for your child’s benefit!
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.