So, you have scheduled your child’s first occupational therapy appointment. Everything’s all set, but it is normal to feel a little nervous. You may wonder how therapy will work for your child, who may not understand why therapy is important. What should you bring? How long will it last? Will my child cooperate with the therapist? It is common for parents to have many questions at the beginning. So, it may be wise to prepare your child for their session beforehand. Here are some tips for introducing your child to occupational therapy.
Tell Your Child in Advance
Children thrive on routine and are more comfortable knowing what to expect during their day. It’s easier to get things done when they know what they will be doing. So, straying from the routine and going to therapy for the first time can feel overwhelming.
Tell your child about their appointment ahead to ease their mind. You can let them know what will happen during the session and how long they have to stay there. You can also inform them how therapy is helpful, so they understand it’s for their health. Doing so may help reduce their anxiety once they start their treatment.
Visit a Nearby Therapist
New locations and unfamiliar environments can be stressful for children with autism, especially if you have to drive long distances to get to therapy.. If you want your child to feel more comfortable about their therapy sessions, bringing them to a clinic that is close to home may be better. Also, going to a nearby clinic will allow you to make other plans after therapy. For example, you can encourage your child to finish their session by offering a reward like going to a park or treating them to ice cream. Rewarding them reinforces good behavior during therapy and makes it easier for you to incorporate this new activity into their routine.
Dress Your Child in Comfortable Clothes
Most occupational therapy rooms are indoor playgrounds. Depending on their therapy goals, your child might be running, jumping, and playing on slides, swings, and rock walls. If your child has sensory issues, you don’t want them to be upset or distracted by itchy or tight clothing, So it is best to dress them in comfortable clothes to allow them to enjoy playing while doing therapy.
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 (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.