Parents are usually anxious or apprehensive when meeting a therapist for the very first time. Questions regarding the illness, child’s prognosis or the procedures are probably the thoughts racing through your minds. Today, we have put together a few pointers to help ease your fears and to prepare you for an upcoming consult.
It would be nice, to see you both the parents accompanying the child, mainly for two reasons. One your partner may remember the things that you have missed while giving us the details. Secondly, two hands are better than one, to care for your child. Children may get irritable or restless when having to wait for long. If that happens, one of you can entertain the child while the other discusses with us.
As a rule, the duration of an assessment schedule varies from 45 minutes to an hour. But in reality, the duration depends solely on your child’s tolerance level. After a brief interview, the child is assessed to evaluate his strengths and weaknesses. If your child is uncooperative due to any reason like sleepiness, irritability etc, a second evaluation may be planned for. A second evaluation has the advantage that the child is already familiar with the organization and the therapist and may perform better.
Usually every therapist starts off by collecting information of both mother and child’s medical and family history. Therefore, it’s important that you remember all the details concerning any medical conditions, medication and the time frame during which your child attained different milestones. This information helps us to understand your child’s needs and pace of development, which in turn enables us to frame a tailor made intervention plan.
Often, parents leave a consult, with too many unanswered questions. For most therapists, parents form an integral part of their therapy planning process. Their needs, concerns and priorities form the vital structure around which the child’s therapy is mapped out. Therefore our first step before commencing therapy is to educate the parents regarding the condition, its prognosis and the therapy options. If you do have any concerns or points that you would like to discuss with your therapist, feel free to do so.
YOU are the expert as far as your child is concerned. You know their difficulties, you understand them better and you know what you want for your child. So, feel free to ask your questions and clarify your doubts. Your participation and involvement is of utmost importance in shaping your child’s treatment plan.
Sarah Mary Joseph
Sr. Occupational Therapist
Prayatna, Centre for Child Development, Cochin.